Pregnancy most often than not requires a complete lifestyle change, and it includes changing the kind of food or drink one consumes. Several studies have weighed in on what food is safe for pregnant women that sometimes it's hard to keep track. Remember when in doubt, ask your doctor. Here, we give you the latest and the lowdown six of the most controversial foods for an expecting mom.
1 Oily food You can eat oily food but in small amounts. Too much bad fats in a preggo's diet can increase your risk for heartburn and can lead to gestational diabetes. A high-fat and high-sugar diet can weaken the baby's immune system, too. That said, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are beneficial to pregnant women. Salmon, catfish, and shrimp, are also a good source of good fats. Avoid fish high in mercury such as fresh tuna (go for canned light tune instead), swordfish, shark, and mackerel.
2 Canned food According to OB-gyne Dr. Aurora Lopez-Valdez, canned food is high in preservatives, sodium, and sugar, so they must be completely avoided. “As much as possible, go for natural and fresh food choices if you have access to it,” she advises. If you have no other option, make sure you cook canned food thoroughly. Be also aware that canned foods expose pregnant women to the chemical BPA, and can increase the risk for miscarriage and put the baby at risk for obesity.
3 Raw food Raw foods is generally unsafe for pregnant women due to risks of contamination. However, in Japan, where sushi is a staple food, pregnant women eat raw fish daily. How can they do that? Their fish is fresh. If you are unsure about the quality and freshness of the fish, then better not eat them unless it is cooked thoroughly. Accodring to the American Pregnancy Association, preggos should stay away from raw meats, eggs or shellfish (but they are good to eat after cooking). Unpasteurized dairy is also a no-no.
4 Foods rich in caffeine The main reason to avoid coffee, tea, or soda while pregnant is the caffeine, which can lead to water and nutrient loss. Doctors have said that it's okay to drink one to two cups maximum of coffee daily. But try to avoid caffeine intake in the first trimester to reduce the chances of miscarriage. Switch to decaf or tea with a 300ml-limit per day. Stay away from herbal tea supplements since it is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Natural herbal teas are you next best option, but still check the label for ingredients. Check here to know which kinds of tea are safe for preggos.
On the other hand, soda not only has caffeine but also sugar, so best to just avoid it. Same goes with energy drinks, which has caffeine and sugar. Drinking an energy drink may result to dizziness or leave you more exhausted than ever.
5 Artificial sweetened drinks You might think you are consuming less sugar if you go for diet drinks and low-calorie sweeteners--think again. According to a new study published in the JAMA Pediatrics, pregnant women who drink artificially sweetened drinks every day are more likely to give birth to heavier babies who are then more likely to become overweight children. If you want your sugar cravings satisfied, go for those that contain natural sugar. Remember, it's okay to indulge once in a while, but always in moderation.
6 Wine/alcohol The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend fully abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy--yes, including that occasional glass of wine. The baby can develop fetal alcohol syndrome which can lead to physical defects (from decreased muscle tone and poor coordination to low birth weight) and cognitive developmental delays (cognitive, speech, movement, and social skills). Just say no; it's not worth the risk.