5 Healthy Activities + Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
Is kombucha safe during pregnancy? What about cold-pressed juice? Hot yoga? Today we’re talking about typically healthy activities and foods that are not healthy during pregnancy.
The list of things pregnant women are advised to avoid is lengthy.
Depending on who you ask, everyone has a different set of foods, products, and activities that they say can harm a pregnant woman or her developing baby.
Some are accurate, some are actually fine. As we learned recently, sushi is one of those things that is a definite no-no.
Unfortunately, there are many more trendy foods and activities beloved by the health and wellness community that you should also avoid. These are things that would normally be considered healthy but have potentially detrimental effects on pregnant women and their babies.
5 Activities + Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
I know, I know — everybody loves the booch! And it’s supposedly beneficial for gut health. So it’s gotta be good for baby too, right?
Kombucha is unpasteurized. Pasteurization is a process using heat to kill off harmful bacteria. Beverages like milk and juice must be pasteurized to be safe for pregnant women and children to drink.
Since this bubbly beverage is served raw to preserve live friendly bacteria, there is also a risk of exposure to unfriendly pathogenic bacteria as well.
2. Hot Yoga
Any activities that raise your core body temperature, a condition known as hyperthermia, are advised against during pregnancy. This includes saunas, hot tubs, and extreme exercise. Fevers above 102 degrees F also cause hyperthermia.
Studies show that women who experience hyperthermia from any cause during the first trimester of their pregnancy have double the risk of neural tube defects.
Another study showed that pregnant women who used a hot tub for any length of time more than once during their first trimester had a 50% increased risk of birth defects.
The temperature in a hot yoga class usually ranges from 95-104 degrees, which is comparable to the heat in a Jacuzzi or sauna and is definitely capable of producing hyperthermia.
Hot yoga is a major no-no for mommies to be — although I’m not sure why pregnant women would want to do hot yoga anyway. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases and your metabolic rate speeds up two factors that increase your ease of overheating.
Not to mention that heat contributes feelings of nausea. I’ve had enough of that as it is already!
Adaptogens are substances and herbs that purportedly increase resistance to stress and promote homeostasis in the body.
They’re uber popular right now and can be found in juices, potions, powders, and elixirs sold all over Los Angeles.
Some popular adaptogens include ashwagandha, astralagus root, maca, rhodiola, and various types of mushrooms like reishi and cordyceps.
We barely have enough research to know the effects of these substances in healthy adults, but their effects on pregnant women and developing babies – are completely unknown.
There have been no studies done on these substances in pregnant humans to determine if they are safe or harmful.
Therefore, to err on the side of caution, pregnant women are advised to avoid adaptogens.
4. Raw Sprouts
Sprouts are an incredibly nutrient dense food.
Studies have shown that the immature sprouts from vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower may contain from 10-100 times the amount of cancer-fighting phytochemicals as the mature plant.
However, sprouts are a prime source of bacterial contamination stemming from contaminated seeds.
They are grown in warm, humid conditions – ideal for bacterial growth and consumed raw, which prevents the bacteria from being killed off.
The good news here is that if you really want to consume sprouts, you can still eat them… as long as they’ve been thoroughly cooked.
Although warm, mushy sprouts aren’t exactly appetizing in my opinion.
5. Cold-Pressed Juice
Greens juices have become so popular here in LA that you’re hard-pressed to find a health food store that doesn’t cold-press their own produce.
The problem here is the same as that for kombucha: cold-pressed juice is unpasteurized.
They’re also usually stored for 24 hours to three days during which time potential pathogens in the juice have time to multiply.
The levels of bacteria found in these juices are usually too low to produce harm in healthy adults, but for pregnant women and babies with reduced immunity, they’re a bad idea.
You risk serious harm to the baby and even death.
If you’re set on slurping down raw greens though, you can always press your own juice at home. Just make sure to thoroughly clean your machine, wash and scrub your produce, and drink your hip, healthy beverage immediately after making it.
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And if you missed my video about Sushi During Pregnancy, be sure to check that out!
And for a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to have a happy, healthy plant-based pregnancy, be sure to check out Plant-Based Juniors’ Predominantly Plant-Based Pregnancy Guide!
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Weigh in: Do you have questions about other activities and foods to avoid during pregnancy? What’s the worst pregnancy advice you’ve been given?