Motherhood is the most special feeling in a woman’s life. Motherhood starts with pregnancy when a unique and exceptional love and care bond develops between a child and mother. During pregnancy, a mother must ensure her diet is clean and full of nutrients for good fetal development; mothers should also ensure that they are healthy to deal with bodily changes during pregnancy.
There is always a doubt about what to eat, how much to eat and what not to eat? A balanced diet is a must, but there are certain foods that you must avoid during pregnancy. When consumed during pregnancy, various foods can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which may cause growth problems and brain damage in your child.
What Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is a fetus’s disorder during pregnancy. This defect causes growth problems and irreversible brain damage in the child. If you consume alcohol during pregnancy, there are high chances for your child to develop FAS since there is no prescribed safe limit of alcohol during pregnancy. FASD are medical conditions that occur in an alcoholic mother and the child, leading to behavioral problems and learning abilities.
A study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control showed drinking alcohol during pregnancy causes three significant abnormalities:
- The child’s slow development before and after birth involves reduced height, underweight, and reduced head circumference.
- FAS causes lower intelligence levels and irregular muscle coordination in children.
- FAS causes inconsistent growth of limbs and vital organs, such as the liver, heart, and brain.
Can We Cure FAS?
FAS / FASD does not have a cure, but you can improve the child’s development by treatment. Early treatment from birth up to four years can help the child learn basic skills like walking, talking, and interacting with others. The only cure is to avoid the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.
Ten Foods That You Must Avoid During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women crave various foods; these cravings can cause a desire to eat lemon tart, spicy food, or even a glass of good vintage wine. You must be very careful while selecting your plate; your plate must contain nutritious food essential for your child’s growth. There are a variety of foods that may cause FAS, and you must avoid it during pregnancy.
A developing baby’s liver cannot break down alcohol and can damage the liver. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy causes miscarriage, brain disorder, and less growth in babies. Even a tiny level of intake can be harmful to the baby. FAS is most common in mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy.
Caffeine is another substance pregnant women should avoid. Even if you are a coffee woman, keep your limits to less than 200 mg per day. Caffeine passes quickly to your child through the placenta. Developing babies inside a womb does not have enzymes that can digest caffeine which may cause type 2 diabetes and deformed growth.
Certain fishes have a high quantity of mercury in them, which is harmful to children’s development. Mercury is commonly found in marine life which contains chemical wastes. Consuming seawater fishes should be avoided during pregnancy. If you are consuming fishes, choose freshwater fish, and never eat raw shellfish; raw fish may cause a severe bacterial or viral infection. Raw fish may also lead to jaundice or stomach infections like typhoid, which can be fatal for the baby.
Raw, uncooked, and processed meat of pork, beef, lamb, and poultry can be harmful to pregnant women. Raw meat carries a host of parasites and infection-causing germs that can be either fatal or bad for the baby’s growth. Mothers should avoid processed meat such as hot dogs, patties, burgers during pregnancy; it can cause epilepsy, blindness, and disability in the child.
Unpasteurized Milk And Milk Products
Unpasteurized milk products and cheese contain many bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and others. These bacteria cause growth deficiencies and organ deformities. If you are consuming dairy products, choose pasteurized products, this is an effective way to make your dairy products bacteria-free.
Raw sprouts contain salmonella, a form of bacteria that causes food poisoning. Raw sprouts give these bacteria ideal humid conditions to grow; they remain on the sprout’s surface even after washing. It is always better to cook these sprouts before consuming them.
Unwashed Raw Fruits And Vegetables
Unwashed raw fruits and vegetables have a host of parasites and bacteria which can make you ill. It is essential to wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly during pregnancy and peel them before consuming them.
Fruits like pineapple, dates, and papaya contain compounds that can cause the premature birth of babies. Certain fruits like bananas, watermelon, and grapes have high sugar content, leading to gestational diabetes. Even Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables can hinder the growth of certain hormones essential in developing a fetus.
Raw eggs can cause salmonella infection, which results in diarrhea, high fever, and stomach cramps; the disease can also affect the baby in the womb causing stillbirth or premature birth. Pregnant women should also avoid foods containing raw eggs like poached eggs, slightly scrambled eggs, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and homemade ice cream. It is advisable to consume cooked eggs or those pasteurized.
Mothers should avoid energy drinks during pregnancy since it contains high levels of caffeine. Apart from caffeine, they also have high levels of sugar and preservatives. Consumption of energy drinks during pregnancy can cause ill health effects on the baby.
Processed Junk Food
Processed junk food is low in nutrients and high in sugar, calories, and preservatives. Women should eat a diet full of nutrients essential for baby growth; they should strictly avoid junk food. Select your meal rich in proteins, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Pregnancy is a crucial period for the baby’s growth and development, and you must take extra care of your diet. Children with FAS / FASD can have a hearing impairment, social interaction problem, limited learning skills, poor growth, and reduced head growth. It is imperative that pregnant women not drink alcohol and avoid foods containing caffeine, uncooked meat, mercury, high sugar, or preservatives. Simple precautions will not only keep you healthy but will give you a healthy baby.