Knowing what foods to avoid when pregnant is a crucial step when taking care of pregnancy as it will decide the overall health of your unborn baby and also prevent any pregnancy complications before and during birth. One way of doing this is by taking a well-balanced diet to provide proper nutrition for you and the fetus. During pregnancy, most women will find they crave certain types of foods and at the same time, detest some foods that they once loved.
Therefore, deciding which foods to eat during pregnancy may be tricky. This is a common occurrence during pregnancy and may be caused by a number of things, including hormones, a heightened sense of smell and taste, and nutritional deficiencies.
Craving for some types of foods mostly occurs during the first three months and peaks at six months. However, it can occur at any time of the pregnancy and you have to be careful what you eat otherwise the life of your precious unborn child may be put at risk because what you eat affects the child in some way.
It is important to know the foods that are considered healthy and unhealthy during this condition, especially the spiciest foods. Below are 8 foods to avoid when pregnant as they may turn out to be dangerous to you and the unborn child.
Eating fully ripe papaya is generally considered safe and beneficial during pregnancy since the food contains folic acids, vitamins A, B, C, potassium, and beta-carotene; all of which have high antioxidants content that prevents ulcers, skin problems, improve immunity, and also protects against various infections. What makes the food dangerous during pregnancy is that it has been known to be harmful when eaten unripe or partially ripe. When unripe, Papaya contains a milky liquid called latex that can stimulate prostaglandin and oxytocin, hormones that can lead to uterine contractions and premature labor. Unripe papayas are a potent emmenagogue and will stimulate and increase menstrual flow, causing a miscarriage. It should, therefore, be avoided during the early stages of pregnancy when the placenta is being formed.
Other reasons why unripe papayas are foods to avoid when pregnant:
Papayas can be detrimental to fetal survival and development since they can hamper implantation, increase the risk of pregnancy loss post-implantation, and cause potential harm to the embryo, making it one of the foods to avoid when pregnant. It is also a proteolytic enzyme used for cell dissociation. It can, therefore, retard cell growth and interfere with the development of the tissue in the fetus. Pregnant women should be careful when eating the fruit because it can also:
- Cause internal hemorrhage and edema in the placenta which may cause pregnancy and delivery-related complications.
- Increase excess bowel movement due to its fiber richness which, in turn, can create pressure in and around the uterus leading to a miscarriage.
- Cause kidney stones and raise intra-abdominal pressure due to vitamin C if taken in excess.
- Affect blood sugar levels and, therefore, is not good for women with a history of gestational diabetes.
Considering the negative effects, Papaya is among the fruits to avoid when pregnant, even its juice, as it is dangerous to fetal development.
2. Sesame seeds to avoid when pregnant
Sesame seeds are rich in iron, calcium, fiber, oxalic acid, amino acid, proteins, magnesium, potassium, vitamins B, C, and E, and antioxidants, all of which are essential nutrients to both you and the baby.
Eating Sesame seeds has potential benefits, however, it may respond differently from person to person and you should stop their intake when you manifest Sesame seeds’ side effects in pregnancy such as nausea or upset stomach; as it may dangerously affect your unborn baby. Sesame seeds during pregnancy should also be taken in small quantities to avoid overdoing your saturated fat and healthy fat intake for the day.
3. Eggplant/brinjal are among the foods to avoid when pregnant
This is called the king of vegetables since it has dietary fibers and is also low in calories. There is a mixed opinion when answering the question can brinjal be eaten during pregnancy? The food may be taken in moderate quantities since it contains fiber, folate, vitamin K, thiamin, pyridoxine, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium which are very beneficial to the fetus.
The folate is important for the development of the brain and cognitive abilities of the unborn baby. It can, therefore, reduce the occurrence of brain defects and also assists in the
Why is Brinjal also among the foods to avoid when pregnant?
Brinjal is also among the foods to avoid when pregnant because it has been known to trigger menses when consumed daily over a period of time. It contains phytohormones that have menstrual-stimulating properties that may induce labor when taken in excess. It is also believed that where the eggplant is cultivated, the soil may contain toxoplasmosis which could be passed to the baby through the pregnant woman, increasing the risk of premature delivery.
Allergic reactions may also occur in the mother when taken in excess. This includes itching on the lips, legs, and arms, diarrhea, hives, abdominal pain, and cough. The other reason why it can be dangerous during pregnancy, Brinjal may cause digestive issues and allergies when eaten raw or uncooked.
By weighing the benefits and the risks of the food, you can take eggplant in moderate quantities keeping in mind that it can also be dangerous to your baby.
4. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are also called saunf and are a type of seed that belongs to the parsley family. They are popularly used in as mouth refreshments by most people including pregnant women. According to some research done, Fennel seed might harm your unborn baby, while at the same time; it can provide relief from bloating problems which is very common during pregnancy. In other words, the seed has both good and bad effects and has to be taken in moderation.
Harmful effects of the seeds may occur when you take it in excess making it another pregnancy food to avoid. Fennel seeds contain traces of phytoestrogens (making them a natural emmenagogue) which function as the female estrogen and are common in stimulating uterine contractions.
The reasons why Fennel seeds are among the foods to avoid when pregnant:
- It may cause a miscarriage may occur.
- It may cause you to lose excessive amounts of blood during delivery since they affect the ability of your blood to coagulate, thereby slowing the clotting process.
- It may make your skin dry (rather than glowing) and extremely sensitive.
You should, therefore, take just limited quantities (for instance one or two teaspoons) so as to be on the safe side while on pregnancy and when delivering. It is also a safe practice to consult the doctor prior to eating them to get the right amounts to take; since foods react in different ways in different persons. Fennel seeds are mostly recommended to women post-delivery as they stimulate the production of milk and cleanse the uterus.
5. Pineapples are fruits to avoid when pregnant
Although pineapples contain bromelain enzyme, responsible for miscarriages when present in your body in large quantities, it has health benefits for both you and the baby when taken in limited quantities. When taken in excess, Pineapples can cause the following during pregnancy:
- It contains bromelain which can cause diarrhea, which can be harmful to the baby.
- It has high-calorie content and should not be taken by overweight women.
- Women with gestational diabetes should refrain from taking fruit since it contains a lot of sugar.
- It has bromelain, which, when accumulated in the body, may lead to miscarriage or premature labor. This can also cause uterine contractions, rashes, and vomiting during the early stages of pregnancy.
- It contains acids that can cause heartburn.
Therefore, considering all the reasons why it can be dangerous, you should strictly avoid eating pineapples in your first three months of pregnancy and after the trimester period, limit your weekly intake to seven or eight cups. The other option is to eat canned pineapples as bromelain is extracted from the fruit during the process. When the delivery date draws nigh, you may continue to eat the fruit in small quantities so as to benefit from its rich nutrients.
6. Fish and seafood are foods to avoid when pregnant
Most fish and seafood are safe to eat during pregnancy when cooked properly. They contain high-quality proteins and other essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, and therefore, are important health benefits for you and the baby, and you should include them in your diets if possible. However, some type of fish contains more mercury than others and could possibly pose a danger during pregnancy when not taken in limited amounts.
Most of these fish and sea foods are those bred in rivers and lakes contaminated with industrial waste products. To be on the safe side, one should avoid the following kinds of seafood with the highest mercury content:
- Bigeye or tuna
- King mackerel
- Orange rough, and
Since pregnant women have a weakened immune system, they should avoid raw fish that is not handled properly, as it may contain bacteria and parasites. Likewise, Prawns should be avoided when raw or cooked and then chilled. However, prawns during the first trimester can be taken in small quantities.
The seafood highly recommended include; lobster, oyster, anchovy, Atlantic mackerel, black sea bass, canned white tuna, catfish, clam, cod, crab, crawfish, flounder, haddock, hake, herring, whitefish, whiting, tilapia, trout, squid, salmon, Pacific chub mackerel, sardine, shrimp, and Pollock.
Other recommended seafood; albacore tuna, carp, grouper, halibut, Mahi Mahi, yellowfin tuna, monkfish, sablefish, snapper, Chilean sea bass, and striped bass.
Grapes are extremely healthy when taken in regulated and limited quantities as they can help to improve your lifestyle and the health of the baby. Grapes have nutritional values of calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber, fructose, pectin, cobalt, and resveratrol. They are also rich in natural acids like folic, citric, malic, and tartaric. The vitamins available in Grapes are vitamin K, E, and most of the vitamin B group.
Although Grapes have a lot of important nutrients for both the mother and her baby, they can be dangerous to your health and the baby’s and should be stopped when:
- You are allergic to them.
- They make you diarrhea due to their thick skins, mostly when your digestive system is weak.
- You get heartburn, headache, nausea, and vomiting due to consuming large quantities of the acidic raw and sour grapes.
- You have gestational diabetes.
- You have obesity
- You have ulcers.
- You have high blood sugar
Grapes also contain large amounts of resveratrol, a toxic compound that may be dangerous to pregnant women whose hormones are imbalanced. The compound is mostly found in grapes with dark skin, such as black and red ones. You should, therefore, eat small quantities of grapes, especially dry grapes and the ones with dark skins.
8. Fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek is a herb mostly found in Asia and the Mediterranean region. People eat the seeds for their health benefits such as treating digestive and respiratory issues, strengthening the digestive system, treating menstrual problems, and also to induce labor. The seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory properties and they offer essential minerals and vitamins that are required during pregnancy when taken in limited amounts.
The reason why the food is also among the 8 foods to avoid when pregnant is that taking the Fenugreek seeds during pregnancy may cause the following conditions:
- They can induce contractions and should be avoided before the 37th week to avoid premature labor.
- They can cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, and nausea.
- It can cause allergic reactions.
- It can lead to birth defects in the baby.
You should, therefore, take the Fenugreek seeds in smaller amounts and after the 37th week to avoid the dangerous effects.
Finally, despite taking the above foods in limited quantities, you should be on the lookout for any discomfort reactions and notify a doctor immediately.