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7 Foods That Can Cause Birth Defects

Being pregnant gives a free pass to eat just about anything. In fact, it’s one of the many things women look forward to during their pregnancy. Before you go and grab a packet of chips, a cup of coffee or anything else that you might crave for, take a minute to think of the bun in your oven and how it’ll affect them. The foods mentioned below, for example, are best avoided at all costs to make sure you and your little one are safe.

1. Raw batter

Raw cookie or cake batter contains raw eggs that can induce salmonella if consumed. Because of a weakened immune system during pregnancy, you are at a higher risk of salmonella. This infection doesn’t directly affect your child but symptoms that accompany it like vomiting, nausea, high temperature and abdominal pain pose a serious threat to the baby in the womb. Dehydration due to vomiting and high temperature, in particular, can result in developmental delays, preterm birth and low birth weight.

2. Unwashed veggies

There’s a reason you wash your veggies before cooking them. They contain microscopic parasites that can result in toxoplasmosis. 10% of the infected babies have serious symptoms like jaundice, pneumonia, enlarged liver and spleen. In severe cases, the baby might even die because of mental impairments, hearing/vision disabilities. Cat litter is also a major carrier of this disease, so if you have a cat at home, let someone else clean up after it.

3. Coffee

You might’ve already seen coffee/Caffeine listed multiple times under ‘Things to avoid during pregnancy’ and there’s a good reason for it. Your baby’s little body can’t process caffeine as quickly and effectively as adults can which results in the caffeine staying in his bloodstream for long periods of time. This might even cause a decrease in the blood flow to the uterus. Malformations are very common among babies whose moms were addicted to caffeine during pregnancy. If you’re someone who can’t function without coffee, try and limit your intake to less than 200mg per day.

4. Raw sprouts

Raw sprouts contain a lot of bacteria, pathogens and parasites that don’t do much harm in general. Pregnancy is a different case though. Because your immune system is not as strong as it used to be, this ‘healthy’ food can cause a bacterial infection like E.coli. This could cause dehydration, diarrhoea, fever and meningitis for the baby after its birth. Just rinsing these sprouts won’t get rid of the harmful bacteria completely, you need to cook them thoroughly before eating them.

5. Organ meat

A lot of people are fond of eating liver meat and it actually can be a part of your pregnancy diet because it is high in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and B12. Consuming organ meat in excess, though, can lead to birth defects and liver toxicity in the fetus because of high copper levels.

6. Packaged chips

Junk food is the arch nemesis of anyone who wants to stay fit and healthy. When you’re craving for a bag of potato chips or a big, fat, juicy burger, keep in mind that these can affect your unborn baby. Pregnant women who consumed large amounts of junk food during pregnancy have higher chances of giving birth to children that develop depression, anxiety and even birth defects. So, try to avoid these foods (if not completely, at least as much as possible) during pregnancy.

7. Unpasteurized milk

In general, packaged milk and other dairy products are pasteurized to get rid of E.coli, listeria, and salmonella. However, it’s things like dressings, dips and spreads that may contain products that are unpasteurized. These can cause several different infections that do nothing but harm to you and your little one. 

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