Hey there! I’ve posted a follow up to this post – make sure to check it out!
Eating well is important for your health and your family. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and high quality meats should always grace your menu. It’s a sure-fire way to keep you and your whole family running at 100% capacity more often than not.
It’s even more important when you find yourself knocked up. Growing fetuses (feti?) require good nutrition to grow healthy and strong in your womb.
Certain foods, however, can be dangerous to your growing baby for various reasons, and should be avoided. The usual suspects, such as raw meat, alcohol, and caffeine are well-known and easy to find out more about.
The unusual suspects? Well, that is what I’m here for!
Foods you didn’t know you should avoid when you are pregnant and why
Alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, zesty sprouts, and every other type of sprouts you can think of are off limits. Sprouts are prone to carrying the listeria bacteria, which can be harmful to you and baby. I’ve found this means no sprouts on my pitas, in my sandwiches, or in my pho.
2. Predatory fish
Larger, predatory fish that eat lots of other fishies are off the menu, too. This include shark, swordfish, tuna steaks, walleye, pike, and the list goes on. These fish are more likely to accumulate more mercury throughout their lifetimes, which is harmful to humans.
3. Freshly caught fish
Tell dad and grandpa that they can eat the day’s catch themselves. Freshly caught fish can contain toxins that are floating about in the local ponds and streams, which make it straight to your baby when you consume them.
4. Cookie dough
Cookie dough is delicious and easily one of my more prominent cravings (pregnant or not, to be perfectly honest). Unfortunately, cookie dough is made with raw eggs, which can carry salmonella. So avoid the dough, and eat the fully baked cookies instead!
5. Herbal teas
Yes, I know, herbal teas do not contain caffeine. It is unknown, however, how herbals teas can affect pregnant women and their babies. It’s believed that they are probably safe, but to err on the side of caution, they recommend pregnant women avoid large quantities herbal teas. Herbs that contain stimulants, such as guarana, kola nut, and others, should definitely be avoided.
6. Soft-serve ice cream
Listeria rears its ugly head again! Soft-serve ice cream is known to possibly carry listeria, so it’s best to stick to by-the-scoop homemade ice cream from your favorite local joint.
7. Sesame seeds
There is no agreed-upon reason, in the United States, to avoid sesame seeds during pregnancy, but they have been linked to miscarriage in other countries around the world. On the other hand, sesame seeds are nutrient-rich and offer a lot of health benefits, so it’s up to you to decide if you want to eat them.
8. Black licorice
Eating black licorice in the first place seems questionable to me, but the husbeast likes it, so some of y’all might, too. Large quantities of black licorice should be avoided by most people, but especially pregnant women. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, swelling, lethargy and congestive heart failure. Want more? Licorice also causes a drop in potassium levels, and can mimic estrogen. In really high quantities, it can cause paralysis, brain damage, and erectile dysfunction. I should probably keep it away from husband, eh?
9. Freshly squeezed juice
There’s something positively magical about fresh-squeezed orange juice on a Sunday morning. Turn it down if you’re pregnant, though, as unpasteurized juices can contain E. coli and salmonella. Bummer.
10. Papaya and pineapples
Eat all the ripe papaya you want. It can even help control that lovely pregnancy-induced constipation we all know so well. Unripe papaya, however, contains a latex substance that can cause uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage. Pineapples also carry a substance that can cause uterine contractions, and as per an old wives tale, it could encourage labor later on in pregnancy, but may be tied to miscarriage early on in pregnancy. Bromelian in pineapples may also soften the cervix and cause early labor.
There you have it, 10 foods you didn’t know you should avoid during pregnancy. As with everything, science changes and not everyone experiences bad side effects associated with different foods, so make up your mind based on your instincts and your own research.
And if you’ve already eaten a bucket of pineapple or all of the sprouts in the grocery store, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about – just be more careful in the future and take your newfound knowledge into account moving forward.
May you have a healthy, safe, and delicious pregnancy!