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Five Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Woman’s life has many delicate times, but her pregnancy is the most delicate and vital of them all. Healthy food and drinks intake is important. Paying attention what food a pregnant woman eats is important, for there are many harmful foods and beverages.

  1. High-Mercury Fish

Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe level of exposure, and is most commonly found in polluted water. In higher amounts, it can be toxic to the nervous system, immune system and kidneys. Since it is found in polluted seas, large fish that live in these oceans can accumulate high amounts of mercury. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of high-mercury fish to no more than 1-2 servings per month.

High-mercury fish include:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tuna (especially albacore tuna)

However, it is important to note that not all fish are high in mercury — just certain types. Consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to 2 times per week. Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the baby.

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  1. Undercooked or Raw Fish

Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These include norovirus, VibrioSalmonellaListeria and parasites. Some of these infections only affect the mother, leaving her dehydrated and weak. Other infections may be passed on to the unborn baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infections. In fact, pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population. This bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying. Listeria can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta, even if the mother is not showing any signs of illness. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth and other serious health problems. Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish. This includes many sushi dishes.

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  1. Undercooked, Raw and Processed Meat

Eating undercooked or raw meat increases the risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites. These include ToxoplasmaE. coliListeria and Salmonella. Bacteria may threaten the health of the unborn baby, possibly leading to stillbirth or severe neurological illnesses, including mental retardation, blindness and epilepsy. While most bacteria are found on the surface of whole pieces of meat, other bacteria may linger inside the muscle fibers. Some whole cuts of meat — such as tenderloins, sirloins or ribeye from beef, lamb and veal — may be safe to consume when not cooked all the way through. However, this is only as long as the piece of meat is whole or uncut, and completely cooked on the outside. Cut meat, including meat patties, burgers, minced meat, pork and poultry, should never be consumed raw or undercooked. Hot dogs, lunch meat and deli meat are also of concern. These types of meat may become infected with various bacteria during processing or storage. Pregnant women should not consume processed meat products unless they’ve been reheated  until steaming hot.

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  1. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella infections are usually experienced only by the mother. They include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. However, in rare cases, the infection may cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth. Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:

  • Lightly scrambled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Cake icings

Most commercial products that contain raw eggs are made with pasteurized eggs, and are safe to consume. However, you should always read the label to make sure. Pregnant women should always cook eggs thoroughly, or used pasteurized eggs.

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  1. Organ Meat

Organ meat is a great source of several nutrients. These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper, all of which are good for an expectant mother and her child. However, eating too much animal-based vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) is not recommended during pregnancy. It may cause vitamin A toxicity, as well as abnormally high copper levels, which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity. Therefore, pregnant women should not eat organ meat more often than once a week.

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Original article : https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-foods-to-avoid-during-pregnancy