Nepal in Globe. Source: wikipedia
Nepal in Globe
Source: wikipedia

Our desire to be parent gets answered the moment we get to know that we are pregnant and a new thrill enters our life. A life is within me- this feeling is the sweetest and most satisfying feeling that an expectant mom has. Our baby inside us becomes the prime concern.

Even though father is an equal parent, mother is blessed to have that intimate experience and bond with the child right from the conception. We mentally get prepared to have a small brand new human who will change our lives forever. However, along with this mental acceptance, comes physical changes in us, which is quite minimal for some but quite hard for others.

The position of the baby and the hormonal changes in the body are the key contributors to the discomfort associated with the pregnancy. Also, there are certain foods which escalate the distress like heartburn and gas, and some foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly.

Well balanced diet has the key role in a healthy pregnancy. However, there are certain foods that needs to be avoided and some foods should be eaten only sparingly. Modern science and our rich Nepali tradition also guides our food choices during pregnancy. Here is the list of food that is not considered to be good during pregnancy.

  • Papaya (Mewa) - Unripe Papaya has high concentrations of Latex which contains substances like papain and chymopapain which are known to increase uterine contractions, which in turn might lead to early delivery. Hence, it is recommended that unripe papaya be avoided throughout the pregnancy, especially in the first few months. However, ripe papaya is perfectly fine to consume.
  • Pineapple (Bhuinkatar/anaras) - Pineapple has bromelain which is known to soften cervix. So this fruit is best eaten during the 9th month of pregnancy when the due date is almost near. We should avoid eating pineapple too much during the first few months of pregnancy.
  • Bamboo Shoots (Baansko Tusa/Tama) - In some chinese cultures, decoction made of Bamboo shoots and palm jaggery is used to induce labor. Keeping this in mind, bamboo shoots should not be over consumed during the first trimester.
  • Bitter Gourd (Karela) - Bitter Gourd has monorcharins as active ingredients which stimulates uterus and may cause preterm labor if taken in high amounts. This practice of using high doses of Karela juice for abortion is common in certain Terai regions of Nepal.
  • Caffeine - Beverages like coffee or coke which contain caffeine should not be taken in large amounts during pregnancy. Caffeine stimulates us and increases our heart rate, and it also crosses placenta. Thus Caffeine that we consume passes to our babies inside our womb too. Also, it is known to increase heartburn in mother. Hence it is best to avoid caffeine or limit it to less than 200 mg per day.
  • Junk and fatty foods - Prepackaged frozen meals and junk food should be avoided as much as possible as they do not contribute towards healthy balanced diet that is absolutely needed for the growing baby. Such foods are also very high in calories and may cause heartburn to the mother.
  • Sugary drinks - Sugary drinks like coke, fanta, pepsi, and other flavoured drinks should be avoided as they contain empty calories which provide no real nutrition to the mother and baby.
  • Foods with high mercury content - Mercury content is high in seafood. Fish like Shark and shellfish should be avoided.
  • Unpasteurized milk - Unpasteurized milk should not be taken due to risk of foodborne illness. Cheese like blue cheese, Feta and Brie should not be taken as most of them are made out of unpasteurized milk.
  • Unwashed vegetables and fruits - We should properly wash all the vegetables and fruits before eating to avoid getting germs into our body.
  • Alcohol and cigarette - Alcohol and cigarette should be avoided at all costs as they may lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and other developmental disorders in the baby.
  • Any kind of raw meat - All raw meat should be avoided as they may contain various kinds of bacteria, virus and parasite.

A balanced diet comprising of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and enough water is a key to ensure good health of the mother and the growing baby. Keep well and all the best!

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