Foods to avoid during Pregnancy
Pregnant woman should eat a well-balanced diet to promote normal growth and development of the unborn baby. Nutrition of pregnant women is effected by food fads, taboos, customs, cultural and religious beliefs. It is also affected by the food habits of family members. There also are the concepts of “hot foods,” “cold foods” and “sour foods” that are to be kept away from, which include jaggery, fenugreek , saffron, mango, fish, egg, groundnut, gram, millet, brinjal, ladyfinger, sesame seeds, flax seeds, banana, pineapple and papaya. Here is a list of some foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Women are prohibited to eat papaya during pregnancy for fear of losing the baby. As stated in the “Handbook of Fruits and Fruit Processing”, normal use of ripe papaya at the time pregnancy might not pose any significant risk, but unripe or semi-ripe papaya might be risky in pregnancy. Green papaya contains high concentrations of latex, milky liquid that produces marked uterine shrinkage. This latex is not found in fully ripened papaya. According to “Novel Compounds from Natural Products in the New Millennium,” intra vaginal implementation of crude papaya latex is reported to actuate labor and abortion. Oral disclosure to high levels of unripe papaya fruits also might lead to adverse effects in pregnancy.
Dry Fruits and Seeds
Sesame seeds was traditionally used as a medicine for causing abortion, grounded seeds mixed with jaggery twice a day. Sesame seeds excite the uterine muscles, causing shrinkage and eventually expulsion of the fertilized ovum. The effects are primarily visible in starting stages of pregnancy. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid sesame seeds, especially in the first three months. Other nuts and dry fruits such as dates, raisins, almonds soaked in water, groundnuts, walnuts and pistachios are all safe to have in a amount of five to 10 pieces daily.
Spices and Herbs
Fennel and fenugreek seeds are both contraindicated in high doses during pregnancy. These seeds contain phytoestrogens that act like female hormone estrogen and actuate uterine contractions. In traditional medicine, fennel and fenugreek seeds are given after delivery to restore menstruation, cleanse the uterus, treat hormonal disorders and aid in milk production. Small amounts of these seeds utilized for food preparation or as a spice, in quantities of 1 to 2 tsp., are considered secure but medicinal doses should be kept away during pregnancy.
Recent studies indicate that large doses of these foods have to be used to cause any uterine contractions. Still, given the possible complications, it is safer to avoid such foods during the first three to four months of pregnancy.