Toxins in seafood, including mercury—which may be especially high in canned tuna—can present risks during pregnancy, including shorter cerebellums and lower IQ in babies. Many of these pollutants accumulate in the body for years, some taking decades to exit the body. It may be advisable to get tested for mercury before getting pregnant.
Exposure during pregnancy to parasites in lamb meat or phthalates in chicken may lead to future problems for baby boys and girls. One study found an association between the development of childhood allergies and higher maternal intake of meat during pregnancy.
Eating meat before pregnancy can increase risk for diabetes during pregnancy. Exposure to fumes from grilling meat may adversely affect fetus development. The levels of pesticides on GMO soy is a concern. So far, no human harm has been shown to come from genetically modified Bt corn. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Other risks during pregnancy may be introduced by the consumption of aspartame, spirulina, iodine, domoic acid in tuna, alcohol, licorice, and even avocados, chamomile tea, and flax seeds. Health food store workers may not always recommend pregnancy-safe nutrients. Iron supplements should perhaps only be taken only in the context of iron deficiency anemia. Folic acid and turmeric supplements should not be taken during pregnancy in most cases (although pregnant women should make sure to eat plenty of folate-rich foods). Items that are considered safe to consume during pregnancy include peanuts, cranberry juice, and moderate amounts of caffeine.
Image Credit: AND-ONE / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.
Topic summary contributed by Johanna
Popular Videos for Pregnancy
All Videos for Pregnancy
Yellow Bell Peppers for Male Infertility and Lead Poisoning?
Daily supplementation with 1000mg of vitamin C was put to the test to see if it could improve male fertility and lower lead levels.
Treating Bacterial Vaginosis with Vaginal Vitamin C
Vitamin C pitted head-to-head against antibiotics for bacterial vaginal infections.
Are the BPA-Free Alternatives Safe?
Do BPA-free plastics, such as Tritan, have human hormone-disrupting effects? And what about BPS and BPF?
How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed
Eating seaweed salad may boost the efficacy of vaccinations and help treat cold sores, herpes, Epstein-Barr virus, and shingles.
The Effect of Animal Protein on Stress Hormones, Testosterone, and Pregnancy
What happened to women who were randomized to eat more meat and dairy during pregnancy, and what effect does animal protein consumption have on cortisol and testosterone levels in men?
Morning Sickness May Protect Mother & Child
Why do those eating plant-based diets appear to suffer less from morning sickness?
Animal Protein, Pregnancy, & Childhood Obesity
What pregnant women eat may even affect the health of their grandchildren.
Iodine Supplements Before, During, & After Pregnancy
What is the evidence that all pregnant women should follow the American Thyroid Association’s recommendation to take a daily iodine supplement?
Maternal Diet May Affect Stress Responses in Children
Single meals can affect testosterone and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Some foods eaten regularly during pregnancy may even reprogram children’s responses to stress later in life.
Zeranol Use in Meat & Breast Cancer
Anabolic growth-promoting drugs in meat production are by far the most potent hormones found in the food supply.
Natural Treatments for Morning Sickness
Can cannabis and ginger be considered safe and effective treatments for hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness during pregnancy)?
Should Vegan Women Supplement with DHA during Pregnancy?
I recommend all pregnant and breastfeeding women follow the consensus guidelines to get about 200mg of preformed DHA from a pollutant-free source.