A lot of food eaten in our daily lives can, unfortunately, come with unforeseen side effects. While we should all be vigilant, you have to be especially careful when consuming certain foods and drinks while pregnant as some can be potentially harmful to you or your unborn child. We know that fighting food cravings can be tough but if you crave any of the following, you’re best off lying down until the feeling passes away.
Before we get started, if you have come to this article because you have eaten or drank something and are feeling anxious or worried, we strongly recommend you seek professional medical advice from your midwife or GP. You should not panic as there is probably nothing to be concerned about, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the safety of you and your child.
The big one! Most people already know to avoid alcohol when pregnant but this is one point you simply cannot reinforce enough. Alcohol can be detrimental to an unborn child’s growth and brain development, and may also cause birth defects. An honourable mention should also go to smoking, as it falls under the same category as alcohol as being amongst the worst things to consume when pregnant.
Raw Fish, is not safe to eat whilst pregnant. Period. Even if it has been frozen, raw fish may still cause harm as while freezing can potentially destroy bacteria it does not kill pathogens. If you’re sushi cravings become too overwhelming, the best thing you can do is choose sushi made with vegetables or cooked fish. After all, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Fish With High Mercury Levels
Fish like tuna, mackerel, marlin, and swordfish that are rich in mercury should be avoided at all costs. While it is undeniable that these fish do contain essential nutrients and vitamins that would be beneficial to the development of a child, low mercury seafood like shrimp and salmon can provide similar benefits without the added risk. As a precaution, always read the label and be careful of cross-contamination.
Whilst eggs are good for you, raw eggs can carry harmful bacteria that can lead to salmonella and other infections. You may not think you come into contact with raw eggs often but it is an ingredient in many salad dressings, not to mention desserts, such as mousse, meringue, tiramisu, and some ice cream
Pepperoni, salami and other processed meats commonly associated with Deli food may be delicious, but can also contain Listeria. Listeria is a type of bacteria and once it has gained a foothold in the body, it can cause an infection called Listeriosis that can result in an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and uterine infection.
Caffeine/ Energy Drinks
Though caffeine is naturally occurring in many instances, the amount that goes into many of our drinks is not and can be unsafe. A high amount of caffeine has been shown to increase the chances of babies being born with a low birth weight, and has also been linked to an increased risk of miscarrying.
In short, a cup of tea is fine but energy drinks that have been designed to take the effects of caffeine and amplify them are certainly inadvisable.
Many of the foods listed above are relatively well know, but one potentially harmful food that often goes unnoticed is soft cheese. Like processed deli meat, soft cheese can also contain listeria and have potentially dire consequences. Cheeses to avoid include camembert, Roquefort, brie, feta, and generally any cheese that contains goats milk.
At first glance, it may seem like pregnancy takes all the fun out of eating but you quickly realise this isn’t the case when you look at all the delicious and healthy foods that you can have. The Unity Beauty Essentials Pregnancy Collection, for instance, contains ingredients from various natural pregnancy superfoods – such as avocados, mangos, coconuts, and Indian Gooseberries – all of which can be enjoyed alone or as part of something else (be it a meal or a luxury skincare product).