6 Health Foods that are contraindicated in pregnancy

Azra FaizanDiet & Nutrition, Pregnancy Diet

Eat healthy when you are pregnant. Take care that you are getting all nutrients and vitamins for the proper development of the fetus. Take utmost care, especially in the first trimester.

This being said, sometimes going overboard on the health quotient can also be dangerous. In today’s age of super foods, I would like to put some light on a few health foods which are not recommended during pregnancy for their abortifacient properties, especially in the first trimester.

1. Sesame seeds – considered a gem by dieticians. Just sprinkle a few sesame seeds on anything to make it healthier is usually my Moto. And why not? Being high in calcium and good fats. Not to mention the yummy nutty flavour.

But sesame seeds are is categorized as one among Miscarriage Causing Foods. This is dangerous especially when sesame seeds mixed with honey. This leads the pregnant women to the spontaneous abortion. Moderation is key a few sprinkle here and there, is ok. But I would suggest staying away from til chikkis, laddus, halwa, tahini sauce, or munching on roasted sesame seeds as such if you are into that.

Again, this is mainly a precaution to be taken in the first and second trimesters.sesame is recommended, especially those black sesame in the last weeks of pregnancy for an easier and less painful childbirth.

2. Garden cress seeds – considered an excellent source of iron. If you are anemic, it’s the best food to have to improve your hemoglobin levels, in combination with vitamin C. It is also considered a great food to have in the winters, to give your immune system a boost. These seeds are also rich in phytochemicals that are similar to estrogen, therefore, consuming them helps in creating the hormonal environment to start your menses so it helps to regularize your periods.

But, again in case of pregnancy, Garden cress is abortifacient in nature thus capable of inducing abortion in early pregnant women if taken in excess. Pregnant women should refrain from eating garden cress as it has the tendency to induce uterine contractions and abortion. Garden cress seeds can increase uterine contraction, thus certain people use it to induce labor in late stages of pregnancy. It is also recommended postpartum, as it is good for lactation and highly nutritious.

3. Aloe Vera – gaining popularity in recent times. Aloe vera is said to be the “panacea” for the beauty of women. This natural material is best to take care of your skin, hair, digestion, metabolism and what not.
It’s because aloe vera contains a wealth of nutrients, like vitamins A, C, E, and B12, as well as minerals like potassium, zinc, and magnesium. It also provides powerful antioxidants, helps to balance metabolism, promotes oral health boosts the immune system, and even supports normal circulation and blood pressure. It’s been reported to promote heart health. In another study, aloe encouraged normal blood sugar.

It is not something you would naturally think to avoid during pregnancy. However, Aloe Vera juice is highly dangerous to pregnant women as it contributes to uterine contractions which can result in early pregnancy loss. Consumption of Aloe Vera juice during pregnancy lowers blood glucose levels which can be potentially dangerous to Mum and baby.

Remember, that it is the ingesting of Aloe Vera that poses a risk in pregnancy. Applying Aloe Vera externally to the skin, in moderation, is not believed to pose any risk.

4. Raw papaya – Although not very commonly consumed in India, Some cultures used green papaya in raw as well as cooked form. Raw papaya is a powerful fruit full of vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients. Raw green papaya contains essential nutrients and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C, B and E. Green papayas are rich in enzymes; papain and chymopapain which are very good for the stomach. Green papaya benefits the health in many ways. For example, green papayas aid digestion converts proteins into essential amino acids, cleanses the colon, fights nausea and constipation to name a few. Moreover, green papayas are also good for women as it protects the urinary tract from infections. Here are some of the health benefits of the unripe green papayas.
Papaya is a known abortifacient (a substance that causes abortion). But only in the Raw form. the unripe/semi-ripe green papaya contains high concentrations of latex which mimics the action of labour-inducing hormones like oxytocin and prostaglandins.

But as the papaya ripens the latex content decreases and it becomes safe for consumption. So a pregnant mother can very well include ripe papaya in her diet, without causing any perils to the fetus. It might, in fact, mitigate heart burns or constipation which are common during pregnancy. It’s just raw papaya that you should avoid.

5. Licorice – also known as yashtimadhu or mulethi in Hindi is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavour can be extracted. Licorice is also used to flavor candies or sweeteners, particularly in some European and Middle Eastern countries. Licorice extracts have a number of medical uses, and they are also used in herbal medications., its Good for eye and eyesight, Provides good strength and immunity, helps relieve sinusitis, Excellent remedy for throat disorders, good for improving voice, Heals ulcers, wounds, and swelling, Relieves tiredness and much more.

Again caution should be taken when you are pregnant, research shows, Eating large amounts of licorice, during pregnancy may adversely affect the development of your child’s brain,

Glycyrrhizin intensifies the effects of stress hormone cortisol by inhibiting the enzyme that inactivates cortisol. While cortisol is essential to the development of a fetus, it is detrimental in large amounts.
It has also long been known that glycyrrhizin causes higher blood pressure and shorter pregnancies

6. Drumstick leaves – Also known as moringa leaves in India, Moringa is one of the most powerful health-enhancing plants. While many things found in Nature can have one or two health benefits, Moringa has many, Moringa leaf is best known as an excellent source of nutrition and natural energy booster. This energy boost is not based on sugar, and so it is sustained. Moringa is also soothing. It helps lower blood pressure and is a sleep aid. Its detoxifying effect may come from Moringa’s ability to purify water. Moringa acts as a coagulant attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria. It is believed that this process is taking place in the body as well.

It is considered dangerous, as it can cause miscarriage in early pregnancy. Even though drumstick leaves contain excessive amounts of vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, iron, potassium etc. making them extremely nutritious food, they are bad for women who are pregnant because Drumstick tree also contains alpha-sitosterol, with estrogen-like structure, which causes pregnancy prevention. The contents of the drumstick leaves cause uterine muscle smooth and leading to miscarriage.

These are a few extremely healthy foods that I came across, that are contraindicated during pregnancy. Again, these foods are harmful, only when had in excessive amounts. So, there is no need to panic if we have had it once or twice, but we should take care to practice moderation.

If you know of any more of such foods, do share your views…

6 Health Foods that are contraindicated in pregnancy was last modified: May 29th, 2017 by Azra Faizan