List of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Once the pregnancy is confirmed, Aloe vera should not be eaten in any form, and medicines containing Aloe vera should be discontinued. Foods that are difficult to digest should be omitted from the diet. Cheese, which is very popular and considered to be a rich source of calcium, is commonly recommended during pregnancy. It is, however, difficult to digest, and often does more harm than good Although cheese should be avoided as much as possible, a permissible alternative is fresh, soft cheese which has not been processed. It can be occasionally eaten in small quantities at lunchtime. Paneer (a type of cottage cheese), even though not as heavy as regular cheese, should not be eaten very often. Avoid noodles, biscuits, cake and other foods made from refined flour as much as possible. If present in the diet at all, varieties made from whole-wheat flour are better. Make sure that the products come from a reputable and hygienic source, and are of good quality. Chemicals used in icing and decoration, and in baking powder (used to make cake soft and spongy), could be harmful. Snacks such as bhelpuri, dahi purl, or pani purl, are made from refined flour, and contain large amounts of uncooked  salt (i.e. salt which is added after cooking). They have almost no nutritive value and should be a rare treat.
Soda and other carbonated drinks contain a lot of pressured gas. The gas in the drink weakens the digestive fire in the human body and also causes vata disturbance. These drinks can also cause your throat to become sore. Such beverages are best avoided, and may be replaced by sherbats made from freshly squeezed lime or kokam.
Fermented foods are heavy on the digestive system and can lead to an imbalance in pitta. Snacks such as idli, dosa and dhokla may be eaten in limited quantities, if home-made, but the batter they are made from should not be fermented for too long, or refrigerated and used repeatedly. Similarly, bakery products prepared with yeast, baking soda and baking powder, should be consumed only occasionally. Bread can be eaten once in a way if it is made from coarse wheat- flour, very fresh and toasted before consumption. Home-made butter and jams are preferable to their commercial counterparts.
There is an increasing use of various artificial colours in ready-made foods, to make them more attractive to the eye. This applies to cakes, tinned juices, soft drinks, as well as to some vegetable dishes served in restaurants. These added colours produce gases in the body and can cause a variety of problems to the digestive system. In addition, the artificial chemicals tend to accumulate in the body, and can have a negative effect on the kidneys, spleen, ovaries and liver. It goes without saying, that they can also have a negative effect on the development of the foetus. Foods with added food colouring should be rigorously avoided during pregnancy. Pregnant women are usually advised to include eggs in their diet. This is not in keeping with Ayurvedic guidelines. Eggs are difficult to digest and are not easily assimilated in the body. Moreover,they increase the accumulation of aam (material that the body can neither absorb nor throw out). If consumed during pregnancy, the baby may be born with allergies or skin rashes. It is recommended that eggs be strictly avoided.
In fact, it is best to stay away from all non- vegetarian food, including the lighter meats such as chicken and fish. Ayurved includes them in the list of foods to be avoided during pregnancy. The reasons being that not only are they tamasik in nature, but often cause disturbances in the digestive system. Pitta problems are common during pregnancy, and as the uterus increases in size, the resulting pressure placed on the intestines slows down the digestive process. In these circumstances, it is difficult to digest any food that increases pitta and hence, such food is best avoided.
There is a common misunderstanding that eggs and non-vegetarian foods are necessary to meet increased protein requirements during pregnancy. However, a vegetarian diet can cater to all of the body’s nutritional needs, especially proteins, in an easily digestible form and in adequate quantities.
Ayurved cautions that there should be no extremes when planning the diet for the expectant mother. It is important that all of the six tastes, namely sweet, sour, spicy, salty, bitter and astringent, be included in meals in balanced proportions. According to Acharya Charak, the excess of any of these can lead to the following side-effects in the child.

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