Pregnant women are literally “eating for two,” and research shows that their diets impact the food preferences of their unborn children.
A study conducted on rats found a positive correlation between a pregnant female’s junk food consumption, and a preference for junk food in her juvenile and adult offspring. The researchers concluded that, “maternal junk food consumption during pregnancy and lactation has functional consequences on the reward pathway of the offspring immediately postweaning,” meaning that because these offspring were exposed to junk food via the placenta or breast milk, they needed to eat more junk food to attain the same level of pleasure as adults. A similar experiment, using humans this time, concluded that when pregnant women drank carrot juice, the “prenatal exposure” led to infants enjoying the flavor of carrots during weaning.
But a woman’s diet affects more than her baby’s taste buds; it can also dramatically impact her newborn’s health. The consumption of certain foods can increase the likeliness of premature delivery, miscarriage, or birth defects. Early in their pregnancy, women need to be especially vigilant when evaluating what to eat and drink. A well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and lots of water is safest. Here are some thing you should definitely avoid, or (in some cases) approach with the utmost caution. Some are obvious, but others might surprise you.
Don’t eat or drink these eight things if you’re pregnant.