If you are what you eat, then what you eat can definitely affect a growing fetus. Eating well before you conceive is important for keeping your body healthy and strong. Including a variety of whole foods including plenty of vegetables and fruits is one of the best ways to prepare your body. In addition, there are some foods that can cause harm to a growing fetus, so avoid these foods while you are trying to conceive.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Most women are aware of the dangerous side effects of tobacco products and alcohol on a developing fetus, but it bears repeating. Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks while TTC—now is a great time to discover delicious and creative non-alcoholic drinks and smoothies. Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products such as chew or snuff.
A 2008 study from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research confirms that high daily doses of caffeine increase the risk of miscarriage. Avoid coffee, tea, colas, soft drinks with caffeine, and energy drinks while TTC. Decaf coffee and sodas are okay (although it’s a good idea to limit soda consumption for the first several months of pregnancy, or throughout the entire pregnancy if you are at a high risk of miscarriage). Try substituting herbal teas, naturally flavored water, green tea, or fruit juices for your morning cup of joe or pick-me-up afternoon soda.
Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, feta, goat cheese, and blue cheeses are not aged. While it’s not likely, there is still the possibility that a soft cheese, which is sometimes made with unpasteurized milk, could be contaminated with a bacteria such as listeria. Listeria poisoning—food poisoning—is nothing to mess around with.
Fish with Mercury
Not all fish has high levels of mercury, so don’t think you need to swear off of fish altogether. Avoid shark, tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish, and albacore tuna while TTC. Never eat sushi or other raw fish. Canned light tuna is okay to eat once or twice a week, as it has very low levels of mercury. But do indulge in wild salmon, which doesn’t contain mercury and is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fatty acid that TTC and pregnant women usually need more of.
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