A Food Guide for Pregnant Women
As your pregnancy progresses, you may have noticed that this blessed event affects just about every part of your body, literally, from your falling hair to your swollen feet!
While those things are expected, another thing may also happen as your hormones shift: you may develop cravings for foods that may not be the best choices.
Do not fret! This guide will help you make better food choices so that you and your baby stay healthy, during and after pregnancy.
Foods to avoid, if possible
While pregnant, your teeth may stain, because most tooth staining causes come from the changes in eating habits of pregnant women. You may also develop an aversion to foods, nausea, and full-on vomiting.
Keep in mind this advice to feel your best during this wonderful period of your life.
Raw foods of any kind
From raw meats to raw vegetables, any food that is not cooked thoroughly runs the risk of bacterial buildup.
Even after washing foods, bacteria will have its way unless the food is exposed to the right temperature that will kill bacteria. Therefore, consider shifting away from
- Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, mung bean or bean sprouts (cook thoroughly)
- Sushi and sashimi
- Cold Shrimp cocktails
- Unpasteurized eggs
- Raw cookie dough
- Canned hams and tin foods like tuna
- Medium-rare steaks
- Runny eggs
When it comes to meat, make sure there is no blood or “pink” visible. Salmonella and Listeria are only two of the different bacteria commonly associated with raw foods. Therefore, keep a food thermometer with you at all times to ensure that food is not under cooked and thus avoid foodborne illnesses.
Unpasteurized foods and processed meats
These two food categories are often placed together because they share one thing in common: Listerosis. The bacteria known as Listeria Monocytogenesis correlated to complex birth issues, from illness to miscarriage and stillbirth. You will find this advice in your average food guide for pregnant women because research definitely supports these findings.
Stave off the following:
- Cold ham spreads
- Processed ham, unless cooked
- Luncheon meats
- Cold Hot dogs
- Sausages, especially canned ones
- Cured hams like prosciutto, Calabrese, and sorpresattas
Keep in mind that you can eat all of these foods as long as you steam and thoroughly cook these foods will make a great difference. Do not eat anything “right out of the can” or cold from the refrigerators (a lot of people like cold hot dogs). Just steam, fry, bake but do not eat undercooked.
Also, be aware that those nice, gourmet cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Blue, Feta, and even the famous Mexican queso fresco, are unpasteurized. Try not to yield too much to your fancy appetites when it comes to cheese. Always choose pasteurized.
Due to the high mercury content in seafood, it is recommended that you control the portions of fish that you eat whether you are pregnant or not. The FDA has set a safe consumption suggestion that you can go and check out on their website.
They also specify which fish are best to consume. It is a general rule that the larger the fish the higher the amount of mercury. By “big” fish, it is meant types of fish such as swordfish, shark, and other exotic types. Still, around 12 ounces a week of farmed and wild fish are considered as a healthy portion.
Within the suggested limits, enjoy:
- Tuna (white tuna has more mercury than can light, so watch for that)
It is strongly suggested that you do not go for the canned fish options that have questionable shelf lives in the supermarket. Watch out for:
- Oysters in oil
- Canned anchovies
- Salmon mousse
- Any other fish that comes in cans
In these cases, it is not just the fish what is questionable, but also the canning process. Just as a general rule for all pregnancies, stay away from canned items, especially meats. Eat those in moderation and remember not to eat raw fish products.
In this food guide for pregnant women, we stand by one thing: all things in moderation, and always keep informed. As with all other products, just do your research.
You already know that caffeine, alcohol and over the counter medication are not good choices for consumption during pregnancy. Similarly, check labels, read ingredient content, and ensure that your keep it hygienic in the kitchen.
Small choices make a huge difference when it comes to health. Enjoy this chance to give your baby every chance to develop into the healthiest person he or she can be.