Pregnant !!! Feeling Happy .. Elated… Feeling on top of the moon… But once the euphoria settles lots of doubts and questions surface up. First thing that comes to mind is What Should I eat and what should I avoid during pregnancy.. Every person you will meet will give a list of items not to consume during pregnancy. But then you will be doubtful because some suggestion don’t make sense at all. This writeup aims to provide exhaustive information about Indian foods to avoid during pregnancy.
So here is the list of 15 Indian foods that you should avoid during pregnancy to avoid miscarriage or any other kind of medical emergency. There are lots of food items that are integral part of our Indian diet. So read along to find out what all things your should watch out and avoid at all cost.
1. Raw Papaya:
One must completely avoid raw and unripe papaya as it has a substance called Latex which can start uterine contractions. It can cause miscarriage in early pregnancy. It also contains papain and pepsin which can cause fetal developmental issues. So it is advised by doctors to completely avoid raw and unripe papaya throughout the pregnancy.
Avoid Green Papaya Salad (Som Tom), Raw Papaya Cutlets and Kebabs, Sweet and Sour Raw Papaya Pickle and Curry.
Note: However you can take small quantities of fully ripe papaya if you wish to eat papaya.
2. Fenugreek Seeds / Methi Dana
During pregnancy high doses of methi dana or fenugreek seeds should be avoided as it has heat tendency as it may induce contractions. Methi Dana contains phytoestrogens which is used to start menstruation and treat hormonal disorders. It is given after delivery to aid in milk production for breast feeding.
If you have gestational diabetes then avoid consuming methi dana water every day. This can have detrimental affect on the fetus or the unborn baby. Also if consumed in excess it can abnormal contractions and early labor.
3. Tulsi Leaves:
In India Tulsi has a lot of religious relevance. It has many medicinal properties. But Tulsi leaves should be avoided during pregnancy as it has high levels of mercury and it is believed to cause uterine contractions. Also Tulsi has blood thining properties and if eaten by a person who has blood clotting issue and cause excessive bleeding. That is why many doctors advice pregnant ladies to completely avoid tulsi during 9 months to avoid any mid term complications.
4. Aloe Vera :
One must avoid consuming aloe vera or its juice during pregnancy. Taking aloe vera juice may cause uterine contractions and can also drop the sugar levels in blood. Sometimes it may cause vomiting and diarrhea which would lead to loss of electrolytes and vital minerals from the body. So avoid aloe vera in any form – be it juice, sabji or curry.
5. Hing (Asafoetida) :
Hing or Asafoetida is a root herb which is used quite frequently in Indian cooking. It is used in Tadkas and Baghar’s in Indian food. Besides adding a special aroma to the food, it is known to resolve many stomach related issues like gas and indigestion. It is used by women in India to treat menstrual issues like delayed start or lack of periods.
Since it induces menstrual cycle it is best to avoid or limit its use while you are pregnant especially during the first trimester.
6. Pineapple :
It is advisable to avoid pineapple during pregnancy especially during the early stages as pineapple contains enzymes which may cause uterine contractions. Pineapple contains Bromelain which can soften the cervix and can start labor. So strictly avoid pineapple during first trimester.
Generally the problem occurs when consumed in very large quantities like in pineapple juice or in pineapple salad. Generally consuming pineapple in small quantities is considered safe.
7. Raw or Uncooked Eggs
During pregnancy it is advised not to eat raw or uncooked eggs and even food items that may contain uncooked egg. Raw eggs may contain Salmonella virus. This virus can pass down from the mother to the unborn baby and the baby Babies born with Salmonella infection can develop blood infection or develop meningitis on birth.
Pregnant ladies must avoid Sunny Side Eggs, Soft Boiled Eggs, Poached Eggs.
Food items that may contain uncooked eggs include – Mayonnaise, Soups like Egg Drop Soups, Mousse, Homemade Desserts, Homemade Sauces, Raw Cookie Dough.
8. High Salt Items
During pregnancy ladies crave for high salt items. But one must avoid food items like Samosas, Pakoras, Biscuits, Wafers, French Fries, Pizza, Chips and Processed Cheese. All these food items are loaded with high salt which can cause water retention and lot of puffiness.
So remember not to sprinkle extra salt on the salads and raitas. It is best to eat normal salt. Avoid pickles too as they use high level of salt for preservation.
9. Strictly Avoid Street Food
Pregnancy is the time one craves for spicy, tangy food preparations like Gol Gappe, Dahi Bhalle, Chowmein, Kathi Rolls, Aloo Tikki, Samosas – the list goes on. No matter how tempting you may find them it is best to strictly say NO. First as Hygiene is the biggest concern. You cannot afford to have diarrhea or stomach infection during this condition. Second, these spicy foods can give you ingestion and heart burn. You may find it difficult to handle it. If you really want to relish these chaat items it is best to prepare these food at home.
10. Avoid Indo-Chinese Food :
Chinese food contains MSG – Mono Sodium Gulamate. Monosodium glutamate is a food and flavoring additive used in many cuisines and many packaged foods. Small quantities of MSG is fine but regular consumption of food items containing MSG can be harmful for the fetus development and can cause birth defects.
Also the Soya Sauce used in Indo Chinese food is very high in salt and may cause high blood pressure related issues..
Some of the other frequently ordered Indo Chinese food items are – Manchow Soup, Manchurian Balls, Chopsuey, Hot n Sour Soup, Chinese Fried Rice and Chicken Lollipops. Avoid them during pregnancy because of MSG and high salt both.
15. Herbal Teas & Kadhas
In Indian homes there is a culture of drinking herbal teas and kadhas (concoctions) for quick relief. Though under normal circumstances one can try these teas but one must avoid these concoctions during pregnancy. Like some herbal teas like green tea may reduce the folate absorption or can cause severe acidity. In case you really need your daily cup of tea then keep it under 1 cup. In general peppermint and ginger tea are considered safe and can help reduce morning sickness symptoms. Check with your doctor before consuming any kind of tea or concoction.
11. Food Made of Maida :
During pregnancy avoid processed foods like Refined Flours (Maida) based products like Bread, Namkeen, Mathri, Biscuits, Pizza, Pasta, Cookies, Pasta. Also avoid readymade or packaged food items like various Pickles, Chutneys, Podi Masala, readymade Pasta Sauces, Ketchups, Pickles as they have preservatives and chemicals to increase their shelf life.
12. Raw uncooked meat and chicken :
If you prefer to eat non-vegetarian food during pregnancy than make sure to eat all meats like lamb, goat, beef and chicken cooked at 73 degrees Celsius. Under cooked or uncooked meat can cause Toxoplasmosis which can in turn affect the fetus. SO if your meat/ chicken is raw or is pink and bloody in the middle avoid eating it. Uncooked non-veg food affects nervous system development and eye development of the baby.
13. Restaurant Food :
During pregnancy one craves for restaurant food. Also during pregnancy sometimes you may find it difficult to cook for yourself and the family. You may opt for restaurant food. But it is best to avoid restaurant food. In general it is advisable to eat home cooked simple food as they are prepared hygienically. Restaurant foods have rich gravies made from cream, butter and vegetable oils and high salt. They are high on spices too which can cause acidity and heart burn and gas. The hygiene of the restaurant is also questionable. Any food poisoning can cause unnecessary health issue for the mother as well as the baby.
14. Unpasteurized milk and its product :
Milk is very important during pregnancy but never use unpasteurized milk and its product as they may carry disease-causing microbes which can harm the fetus development. Pasteuization means that the milk has not undergone a process which kills germs and bacterias.
Unpasteurized milk can increase risk of Toxoplasmosis or Listeria , 5 times in pregnant ladies and result in stillbirths, preterm delivery, blood infection and meningitis in the newborns.
List of food items to Completely avoid during pregnancy:
- Raw papaya
- Tulsi Leaves
- Raw / Uncooked eggs
- Raw meats & poultry
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Unpasteurized milk
- Excess coffee and tea
- Chinese Food
- Seafood and certain fish
- Canned / Readymade / Frozen Food
- Herbal Teas and Kadhas
- Soft Cheese like feta cheese
- High Salt