Women’s Health: What to Limit During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most transformative phases in a woman’s life, and a man’s too. It is both the start and fulfillment of parenthood as new life grows and is protected in a mother’s womb. For struggling couples, it can be likened into a miracle—a gift heavenly given after waiting for so long a time.

Truly, conceiving a child is life-changing. But this period can also be the most delicate, especially for those who endure concerns with their reproductive system, or those who have been unfortunately stricken with a genetically transmitted disease. For mothers with no health issues, pregnancy remains a sensitive process. And while the baby grows until the time comes for childbirth, having a healthy lifestyle is crucial.

Anything you take inside may do something good or harm to the baby’s health. Even the earliest days or weeks of a baby’s development can greatly affect his/her health or physical appearance when he or she comes out from a mother’s womb. So be cautious.

There is no better time to see an OB/GYN than as soon as you can, so you’ll know the best way to take care of the life that’s growing inside you. They can give you the prenatal food supplements from top brands like Thorne Research, MegaFood or Garden of Like.

Of course, your doctor can’t tell you everything. So get some advice from your parents and friends or do careful readings from reliable sources in print or via the Web. To get you started, here is a handy list of foods to limit during pregnancy.

Food with Too Much Vitamin A

Sounds confusing, right? Who wouldn’t want their babies to get the most vitamins and minerals? But just like anything else, too much of something is bad. The same goes for Vitamin A. Yes, it is a vital nutrient in fetal development, especially for visual health and immune function. It prevents children from being born blind.

But too much of Vitamin A is risky and can lead to birth defects. Just ensure you monitor your supplements and diet to avoid taking too much. Food that contains high levels of Vitamin A, higher than the recommended intake, include beef liver, haggis, liver pate, and calves liver.

Fish with High Mercury Content

When pregnant, you can eat most fish but there are certain types you should limit. Seafood like shark, swordfish, marlin and even tuna should be restricted to 1-2 servings a month. These fish contain high mercury levels that can be toxic. It may seem to be harmless for most people but not to a developing baby. High mercury can affect a fetus’ nervous system.

Raw or Undercooked Food

Many famous dishes are served raw or undercooked, like the world-beloved sushi. But then again, pregnancy isn’t just a usual period when you can eat any kind of food. One of the limits when eating is raw or undercooked food. Shellfish like mussels and clams may contain viruses and bacteria that may lead to food poisoning and certain infections.

Undercooked meat, on the other hand, may be infected with parasites or bacteria that can cause salmonella, toxoplasmosis, and e.coli. Possible threats to your child include blindness, neurological illnesses or worse. Eggs also pose certain risks. If eaten raw or partially cooked, eggs can give cause diarrhea and vomiting from salmonella poisoning. To be safe, cook your food thoroughly.

Cups of Caffeine

Goods with caffeine such as coffee and soda can be hard to resist, especially if it’s part of your daily meal. Although studies do not definitely link caffeine with any health issues, certain studies show that caffeine may cause low birth weight and restrict your baby’s development. As a precaution, drink only in moderation which is around 200mg per day.

Dairy Produce

Caution should also be observed when drinking milk or using cheese. Milk that is ultra-heat treated or pasteurized is safe but raw ones should be boiled first. Certain soft cheeses such as brie, Gorgonzola or camembert should be taken off the grocery list. Both unpasteurized milk and certain cheeses may have listeria and cause listeriosis.

Your health reflects your baby’s health. It’s not about you alone anymore. This time around, it’s about you and the life inside you. Keep a balanced diet during your pregnancy, consult your doctor for professional advice and take everything in moderation.