15 Foods and Drinks to Avoid During Pregnancy

15 Foods and Drinks to Avoid During Pregnancy

While you’re pregnant, it’s crucial to watch what you eat for both your health and the health of the baby in your womb. This blog we will look at the foods you need to limit or avoid and why. We’ll also be discussing good nutritious choices that are not only tasty but also good for you. To make it easier for you to grasp, our medical advisors will present simple and direct guidance. Incorporating minor dietary changes can significantly improve your health. In the end, our goal is to make your 9 month journey easy by providing your body with all the nutrition and minerals it needs. So that you and your baby can flourish.    

Table of content

1.0 Food items to strictly avoid during pregnancy
2.0 Food items pregnant women should eat during pregnancy
3.0 Below are a few common reasons for Miscarriages in India

Food items to strictly avoid during pregnancy

  1. Undercooked or raw sprouts: Sprouts can harbour pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli, which can cause severe gastrointestinal infections like salmonellosis and haemorrhagic colitis. These infections can lead to complications like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and uterine contractions, increasing the risk of preterm labour or miscarriage. 
  2. Unpasteurized juices: unpasteurized juice – contains harmful bacteria which in turn can make you feel totally awful particularly if you are pregnant. These bacteria can give rise to more serious diseases such as food poisoning and kidney failure, which can be a danger for you and your baby. Only juice from a pasteurized juice is safe for these purposes. 
  3. Raw or undercooked eggs: Never eat eggs raw, as they may have salmonella – a harmful bacteria. This commonly results in food poisoning expressing the symptoms of an acute illness like fever, stomach ache, diarrhoea and vomiting. One of the major risks is that it may lead to severe dehydration and high body temperatures. This can potentially cause development of congenital diseases especially neural tube defects in the infant. 
  4. Unwashed produce: Be wary of fruits and vegetables that may have been infected by harmful bacteria and parasites. These can lead to diseases such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis which are dangerous to pregnancy. These illnesses may range from the mild case in the baby to complete spontaneous death. As a result, mother may suffer from both stillbirth and miscarriage. 
  5. Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk: These cheeses may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogenic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, a severe infection characterized by septicaemia, meningitis, and chorioamnionitis. Listeriosis during pregnancy can lead to spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and neonatal infections. 
  6. Raw or undercooked soy products: Undercooked soy products may harbour spore-forming bacteria like Bacillus cereus, which can produce enterotoxins causing severe emetic (vomiting) or diarrheal syndromes, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances during pregnancy. 
  7. Excessive amounts of vitamin A: Consuming excessive preformed vitamin A (retinoids) during pregnancy can lead to teratogenic effects, causing congenital malformations like craniofacial anomalies, central nervous system defects, and cardiovascular abnormalities in the developing foetus. 
  8. Uncooked or undercooked lentils and beans: Raw or undercooked legumes may contain anti-nutritional factors like lectins and phytates, which can interfere with nutrient absorption, potentially leading to maternal and foetal malnutrition. They may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort and increased risk of preterm labour. 
  9. Excessive consumption of peanuts and peanut butter: Overconsumption of peanuts during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of peanut allergy in the offspring, as peanut proteins can cross the placental barrier and sensitize the foetal immune system, leading to the development of IgE-mediated allergic reactions. 
  10. Pineapple: Pineapple contains bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme that can potentially stimulate uterine contractions and increase the risk of preterm labour or miscarriage by altering the cervical mucus and disrupting the collagen structure of the foetal membranes. 
  11. Excessive consumption of caffeine: High caffeine intake (>200-300 mg/day) during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, foetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery. Caffeine readily crosses the placenta and can potentially alter foetal heart rate, breathing, and sleep patterns. 
  12. Herbal supplements and teas: Many herbal products contain biologically active compounds like phytoestrogens, alkaloids, and stimulants, which can potentially have teratogenic effects on the developing foetus. Their safety and pharmacokinetics during pregnancy are not well-established. 
  13. Artificial sweeteners: While most artificial sweeteners are considered safe in moderation during pregnancy, some studies have raised concerns about potential adverse effects on foetal development. For example, saccharin has been associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery, and aspartame has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and metabolic disorders in offspring. 
  14. Excessive consumption of liquorice: Liquorice contains glycyrrhizin, a compound that can potentially cause hypokalaemia (low potassium levels) and increase the risk of preterm birth by altering the placental function and hormonal balance. It may also lead to foetal growth restriction and developmental delays. 
  15. Unwashed produce: Contaminated fruits and vegetables may harbour enteric pathogens like Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause serious infections like haemorrhagic colitis, listeriosis, and toxoplasmosis. These infections can cross the placental barrier and lead to congenital abnormalities, stillbirth, or miscarriage. 

Food items pregnant women should eat during pregnancy

While it is essential to avoid certain food items during pregnancy, it is equally important to consume food items that are good for pregnant women. Here are some food items that are beneficial during pregnancy: 

  1. Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli): Leafy greens are rich in folate, a B vitamin crucial for preventing neural tube defects in the developing foetus. They also provide iron, calcium, and other essential nutrients vital for the baby’s growth and the mother’s well-being. 

  2. Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel): Fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, which are essential for the baby’s brain and eye development. They also provide high-quality protein and other nutrients like vitamin D, important for bone health. 

  3. Eggs: Eggs are a complete protein source and provide choline, a nutrient vital for the baby’s brain development and prevention of neural tube defects. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, iron, and folate. 

  4. Whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice): Whole grains are rich in fibre, which can help prevent constipation, a common issue during pregnancy. They also provide complex carbohydrates for energy, as well as B vitamins, iron, and other nutrients crucial for the baby’s growth and development. 

  5. Legumes (lentils, beans, peas): Legumes are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fibre, folate, iron, and other essential nutrients. They can help meet the increased protein and nutrient demands during pregnancy while promoting healthy weight gain and preventing constipation. 

Below are a few common reasons for Miscarriages in India 

Miscarriage is a common problem in India, and here are some common reasons for miscarriage in India: 

  1. Chromosomal abnormalities: Chromosomal abnormalities, such as trisomies (e.g., Down syndrome) or monosomies, are one of the leading causes of miscarriage. These abnormalities can result from errors in chromosomal segregation during meiosis or mitosis, leading to an imbalance in the number of chromosomes in the embryo or foetus, which is often incompatible with life.


  2. Uterine anomalies: Structural abnormalities of the uterus, such as septate uterus, bicornuate uterus, or uterine fibroids, can increase the risk of miscarriage. These anomalies can affect the implantation of the embryo, disrupt the blood supply to the placenta, or cause physical constraints that impede foetal growth and development.


  3. Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS): APS is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies, which can interfere with the normal implantation and placental development. This condition increases the risk of recurrent miscarriages, particularly in the second and third trimesters.


  4. Maternal age: Advanced maternal age, typically defined as 35 years or older, is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. As a woman ages, the quality and quantity of her ovarian reserve decline, leading to a higher incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo or foetus.


  5. Endocrine disorders: Hormonal imbalances, such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or luteal phase defects, can contribute to miscarriage by disrupting the hormonal environment necessary for successful implantation and foetal development. 
  6. Infections: Certain bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), toxoplasmosis, rubella, and listeriosis, can cross the placental barrier and cause foetal harm or miscarriage. 
  7. Maternal chronic conditions: Chronic medical conditions like uncontrolled hypertension, autoimmune disorders (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus), and thrombophilia (inherited or acquired blood clotting disorders) can increase the risk of miscarriage by affecting placental function and foetal development. 
  8. Lifestyle factors: Factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, recreational drug use, and exposure to certain environmental toxins or radiation can increase the risk of miscarriage by affecting embryonic or foetal development.


  9. Placental abnormalities: Abnormalities in placental development or function, such as placental abruption, placenta previa, or placental insufficiency, can compromise the nutrient and oxygen supply to the foetus, leading to miscarriage.


  10. Immunological factors: In some cases, the maternal immune system may recognize the foetus as a foreign body and mount an immune response against it, leading to rejection and miscarriage. This can occur in cases of immune system dysregulation or certain genetic incompatibilities between the mother and the foetus. 

Pregnancy is a very sensitive stage in a woman’s life, and it is crucial to own a healthy diet, so that it can be both the mother and the baby’s health. It is worth mentioning that consuming specific foodstuffs which are associated with miscarriage and ingesting food items that are good for pregnant women is important. Finally, it must be noted that a health lifestyle as well as the avoidance of the risk factors that cause miscarriage is equally important. Pregnant women need to adhere to these rules so that they give a solid impulse to a healthy pregnancy that can lead to a healthy baby.  

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This information is useful to you whether this is your first time in pregnancy or that you are a veteran mom. You can choose to make better decisions that will benefit both you and your child. But, always keep in mind, that with pregnancy nutrition, it does not have to be complicated or stressful at all. 

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