Most of us living in Thailand have some interests or concerns over health and fitness issues, so Inspire will each week share some of the most relevant articles for you
Pregnancy is one of the most vital and sensitive periods in a woman’s life.
Therefore, it’s very important for pregnant women to eat a healthy diet.
Expecting mothers have to pay close attention to what they eat and make sure to avoid harmful foods and beverages.
Certain foods should only be consumed rarely, while others should be avoided completely.
Here are 11 foods and beverages to avoid or minimize during pregnancy.
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 (1).
In higher amounts, it can be toxic to your nervous system, immune system and kidneys. It may also cause serious developmental problems in children (2).
Since it’s found in polluted seas, large marine fish 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 (3, 4).
High-mercury fish include:
Tuna (especially albacore tuna)
However, it’s 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 your baby.
2. Undercooked or Raw Fish
Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial or parasitic, such as norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella and Listeria (5, 6, 7).
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 (5, 6).
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 (8).
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 (9).
Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish. This includes many sushi dishes.
3. Undercooked, Raw and Processed Meat
Eating undercooked or raw meat increases your risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella (10, 11, 12, 13).
Bacteria may threaten the health of your unborn baby, possibly leading to stillbirth or severe neurological illnesses, including mental retardation, blindness and epilepsy (14).
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 only applies when 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.