During pregnancy, there may be risks related to food. To ensure that the child’s growth goes as smoothly as possible, it is wise to avoid certain products and to follow some simple advice. Well-adjusted nourishment is principally significant during pregnancy. Healthy food not only provides the body with sufficient vitamins and minerals, but the baby is also snacking. Contrary to the myth of “eating for two,” the expectant mother has an average calorie requirement of only 250 calories more per day. However, while the need for foods containing folic acid or iron increases in particular, we have to be careful of the foods to avoid during pregnancy for the sake of the baby. During pregnancy, it is not so much the quantity of food that should change as much as the quality. The average 250 kcal increase in calorie requirements is equivalent to just one cheese sandwich and one serving of salad. A total of 5 meals spread throughout the day are recommended. If you want to know exactly what should be on the expectant mothers agenda, we would like to give you some tips regarding activities and foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Which Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?
The foods to avoid during pregnancy are the foods and drinks that should only be consumed with caution. Stay especially hydrated during pregnancy: A pregnant woman should drink at least 2 liters of fluid a day, primarily in the form of water, still mineral water, unsweetened fruit teas or highly diluted fruit juices. Coffee is allowed, but the consumption should not exceed 2 cups a day. Instead, up to 4 cups of green or black tea can be preferred. Caution: Alcohol during pregnancy is a taboo. The same applies to energy drinks, due to their increased caffeine content, and to drinks containing quinine such as tonic water. The following foods are considered as foods to avoid during early pregnancy and should be consumed with caution, and a pregnant woman should therefore rather avoid them. Let’s look at the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy:
- No alcohol
- No more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of black or green tea
- No drinks with high caffeine content such as energy drinks
- No drinks including quinine
- Meat and fish should not be consumed raw
- No raw sausage products like salami
- No raw seafood such as sushi
- No fish with possible heavy metal contamination such as tuna, halibut, pike or swordfish
- Eggs should only be eaten well cooked, no dishes with raw eggs such as tiramisu or mayonnaise and no half cooked eggs as in the case of breakfast ice cream
- No raw milk products
- No soft cheese
What Food Is Good or Bad for Pregnancy?
The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy might sound overwhelming, but these following products are a rich array of foods that are good at dealing with your cravings. Moreover, they are extremely beneficial for both you and your baby. Food pyramid for pregnant women shows which foods are best and which foods are to be avoided during pregnancy. As you check them below, you may also want to consider hiring a pregnancy doula that can help you through the last stages of your pregnancy, including the nutrition.
- Vegetables, Legumes, and Fruits.
Alongside vegetables, legumes and fruits also may be consumed in pregnancy. It would even be good to have 6 portions a day, because they contain many vitamins and minerals in addition to some subordinate herbal ingredients. The 6 portions should ideally be divided into 4 portions of vegetables and legumes and only 2 portions of fruit. After all, the latter also contains fructose and we must be careful with fructose.
Predatory fishes such as tuna or halibut are considered as the seafood to avoid during pregnancy and they should be avoided due to their high load of heavy metals.
When it comes to meat, it is better to choose lean sources and eat filet instead of sausages. However, the consumption should not be more than 3 portions per week. Otherwise excessive meat products may be considered harmful. For fish and meat, one portion may be measured as inside the palm of a hand.
In addition, 3 eggs per week may be on the menu. Caution: As it’s mentioned in the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, never eat raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella infection, but always fry or boil them.
- Oils and Fats
2 tablespoons of vegetable oils such as flax, canola, olive, soy, walnut or grapeseed oil are recommended per day. Optionally, nuts or seeds also meet the fatty acid requirements. Saturated fats in butter, margarine or in whipped cream should account for an additional maximum of 1 to 2 tablespoons for pregnant women; snacks containing excessive amounts of these fats, may be included in foods to avoid during pregnancy.
- Sweets and Snacks
Even though cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods are often very intense, too much of them are unhealthy. And these are foods not allowed in pregnancy. Then, what junk food to avoid during pregnancy? On the one hand, these foods do not contain any nutrients that the body urgently needs; on the other hand, excessive consumption is bound to make you overweight. Their maximum daily amount should fit in your hand.
Nutritional Requirements During Pregnancy
Throughout pregnancy, the necessity of some vitamins and minerals grows by leaps and bounds. After learning the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, it is time to learn what to include in your diet. Here’s how you can meet your specific nutritional requirements:
- Folic acid
Women who aim for pregnancy usually start taking folic acid at least a month prior, following the advice of a doctor. Studies show that this reduces the risk of spina bifida, a type of neural tube defect. The need for folic acid increases up to 550 micrograms per day during pregnancy. It is also best to take 400 micrograms in the form of supplements by the end of the first trimester.
Foods which are rich in folic acid:
- Green vegetables
- Orange juice
- Fortified breakfast cereals (e.g. cornflakes)
- Legumes such as lentils, peas or beans
- Whole grain products (rice, pasta, cereals)
- Milk and dairy products
During the course of pregnancy, iron requirements increase twofold, in extreme cases even up to sixfold. A blood test will show if the pregnant woman is deficient and if it is necessary to take iron tablets. The recommended amount is 30 milligrams a day. If this is not counteracted, the risk of child growth disorders or premature birth and miscarriage increases.
Tip: Iron is absorbed particularly well with foods that are rich in vitamin C.
Foods which are rich in in iron:
- Meat and fish
- Whole grains
- Green vegetables
Iodine requirements increase up to 230 micrograms during pregnancy. Iodine is significant for the infant’s mental and physical development. In the past, iodine deficiency was frequently responsible for severe developmental disorders in children. In Austria, iodine is added to salt, so deficiency is rare.
Foods which are rich in in iodine:
- Sea fish, algae and shellfish
Both the mother and the baby need calcium to build up their bones. The requirement during pregnancy is about 1,000 milligrams, the same as adult women. If the mother consumes too little calcium, her bones and teeth will be deprived of it. Hence the old saying: “Every child costs a tooth.”
Foods which are rich in calcium:
- Milk and dairy products
- Special mineral water
- Vegetables such as broccoli, kale and fennel
The zinc requirement increases to 10 milligrams per day. Zinc is important because it is essential for cell division.
Foods which are rich in zinc:
- Poultry, beef, pork, lamb.
- Milk products
- Whole grain products
- Wheat germ
- Legumes like lentils
- Poppy seeds
- Dried fruits
Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Sports That Are Too Intense
It is not completely true that playing sports during pregnancy can cause harm to the mother and the child. On the contrary, it is usually healthy. However, especially for some sports, we need to make a warning here if you are considering pregnancy. In particular, skiing or horseback riding are seen as sports that carry high risks of injury and can be considered as activities that should be avoided during pregnancy. Sports that involve a lot of jumping or that may involve excessive bumping such as basketball, volleyball and rugby should also be avoided. Abdominal exercises may not be very good during pregnancy and are among the activities that we should avoid. On the other hand, sports such as cycling, yoga and running or walking and swimming are not considered as intense, you can do them with a peace of mind.
Although there are different opinions about flying; in fact, there is not much harm in flying until the 7th month of pregnancy, that is, until the 36th week. However, flying is an activity that should be avoided especially after the 36th week. It can be very risky after this date. Some of the difficulties may occur such as hypertension, premature contractions, etc. Many airlines are reluctant to allow women who are more than 7 months pregnant to fly.
- Exposure to the Sun
The sun and especially being under the influence of sunlight on a regular basis can sometimes not be very beneficial for our skin, especially if we are pregnant, as our skin will be even more sensitive. Therefore, the negative effect of the sun is one of the situations that we should avoid when it comes to the activities during pregnancy. Moreover, a pregnant woman can hardly stand the heat of the sun. To avoid causing any discomfort the mother might experience, resting in the shade is the more recommended activity during pregnancy. Still, you may also check pregnancy exercises that lead to a healthy labor and practice them little by little until you meet your beloved one.