When you realize that you are pregnant your life definitely changes. Apart from wondering how your life with a new family member will be, you start considering what you can do to protect your unborn and how to stay away from anything that could harm the baby.
Much of what you eat, drink or inhale passes through your body to your baby, so the best you can do is to avoid harmful substances and potentially hazardous foods.
Keep a balanced diet
Some steps are obvious – like that giving up drinking alcohol and cigarettes is crucial because they could impair your baby’s development. Another important thing if you want your baby to be well is to eat healthy food. It does not mean, however, that you should go on a special diet. It is enough to ensure a balanced diet, which you can achieve by limiting your intake of saturated fats and sugars as well as salt, and eat more protein for growth, and carbohydrates for energy.
Fats are high in calories so you should eat them in moderation, but remember that your organism needs some amounts of them. Saturated fats, like animal fat, cheese, cream and butter, are high in cholesterol so you should cut down on them and replace them with fats such as sunflower, olive and safflower oils which are more beneficial for your heart. Avoiding sweet snacks is also a good idea as they are high in empty calories and may make you gain too much weight.
Avoid foods that may cause infections
There are some rare infections that can be transmitted through certain types of food. It’s good to know what not to eat to reduce the likelihood of contracting them. Such risky foods are:
(1) Pates and unpasteurized dairy products, especially soft cheeses such as camembert, brie and blue-veined cheeses – they can contain listeria bacteria, leading to listeriosis, which can cause miscarriage or stillbirth;
(2) Liver or liver pates – although they are good source of iron, they also contain high levels of vitamin A, the excess of which may result in birth defects. In addition to that, they can also cause listeriosis. Nowadays pregnant women are advised to avoid these products specially in the first trimester, when the baby’s major organs are developing;
(3) Cook-chill pre-prepared meals, especially chicken and seafood – might also lead to listeriosis;
(4) Undercooked meats, especially pork, and also raw fish (sushi) – eating them can lead to contracting toxoplasmosis, which can cause serious development defects in a unborn baby;
(5) Unpasteurized goat’s milk – can also cause toxoplasmosis;
(6) Unwashed fruits and vegetables, and raw sprouts of any kind — including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean – they can contain various harmful bacteria. Remember also to cut away any damaged portions.
(7) Raw and partially cooked eggs and paultry – they can cause salmonella, which wouldn’t hurt your baby directly, but its symptoms, like high temperature, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration can result in miscarriage or premature labour.
Some foods can affect your baby’s health more that you might realize. It’s vital to know what they are and therefore create a safe environment for your baby from the moment of conception.