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7 Popular Indian Foods You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

7 Popular Indian Foods You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

Now that you are expecting, you are probably focused on consuming nutritious foods to help you feel your best and support the growth and development of your baby. But determining what not to eat during pregnancy is equally important as it helps safeguard your and your little one’s health.

While your munchkin can benefit from all the wholesome foods that you are consuming, they can also be affected by certain illness-causing bacteria, lurking in common foods that you would otherwise eat without a worry. So, it’s wise to err on the side of caution and avoid menu items that can cause complications during pregnancy and affect your baby’s health. To make things easier, we have compiled a list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, and also a list of food items that you can safely incorporate into your pregnancy diet.

7 Foods To Strictly Avoid During Pregnancy

7 Foods To Strictly Avoid During Pregnancy
Certain foods, such as eggplants are considered unsafe to consume during pregnancy as they cause early uterine contractions / Image credit: Pexels

Your body has a hard time fighting off germs due to low immunity during pregnancy. That’s why it’s wise to keep certain food items off the limits during this time. Don’t worry, you can go right back to enjoying them once your munchkin is born. 


Eggplant (brinjal) is one of the most common and affordable vegetables that enjoys great popularity across the globe. It is loaded with nutrients and vitamins and is also used in making many Indian delicacies. However, the consumption of eggplant is considered unsafe during pregnancy. This is because eggplant is rich in phytohormones that have menstruation-inducing properties and its consumption can increase the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy.

However, eggplants may also cause stomach problems in pregnant women, such as acidity, gas, and bloating, and hence, you must avoid consuming them during this time. 

Raw Papaya

Raw papaya tops the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. This is because raw papaya contains a high concentration of latex ( a milky liquid) that is known to stimulate contractions and can cause abortion. However, consuming raw papaya can hinder the production of progesterone hormone, which is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. 

In some cases, pregnant women may also experience haemorrhagic placentas and hence should avoid consuming raw papayas to safeguard the baby’s health.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds
Excess consumption of sesame seeds might create complications during pregnancy / Image credit: Pexels

Sesame seeds can stimulate your uterine muscles, causing contractions, and ultimately the eviction of a fertilised ovum. That’s why you should especially avoid consuming sesame seeds during your first trimester. Instead of sesame seeds, you can incorporate nuts like walnuts, pistachios, groundnuts, almonds, and raisins.

Fenugreek And Fennel Seeds

In many Indian homes, fenugreek seeds or methi dana are used to make sweets like laddoo. Also, fennel seeds (saunf) are taken after meals to improve digestion. However, both these ingredients may cause early uterine contractions and complications during pregnancy. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the consumption of these spices when you are pregnant.

Raw Sprouts

Raw sprouts, such as mung bean, clover, alfalfa, and snow pea should be avoided as well. They are highly prone to bacteria like listeria and salmonella, which can adversely affect the health of the mum and baby. Instead of consuming them raw, make sure to cook them at a high temperature, and eat them while they are steaming hot.

Fish Containing High Levels Of Mercury

Fish such as tilefish, mackerel, and sharks contain high levels of mercury and should be shunned from your pregnancy diet. Consuming high-mercury foods during pregnancy can cause brain damage and developmental delays in your baby. Instead of these, you can consume cod, salmon, and catfish, as they have low levels of mercury and contain essential nutrients like omega-3 and DHA, which are foundational to your baby’s healthy growth.

Ajinomoto (Monosodium Glutamate)

Although it is not an Indian spice, Ajinomoto is still widely used in many Chinese dishes in India. In fact, Ajinomoto is considered the secret to delicious Chinese food. However, this spice contains high levels of sodium and can adversely impact the brain development of your baby. So, even if you enjoy Chinese cuisine, you will have to steer clear of this spice for nine months. Also, make sure to cook your food at home rather than ordering from a restaurant to avoid risking your health.

List Of Healthy Foods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet

List Of Healthy Foods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
Foods such as bananas and oatmeal are packed with essential nutrients that are crucial to support your pregnancy / Image credit: Freepik

Knowing the best foods to eat during pregnancy can help you maintain a balanced diet and also keep your little one safe. Make sure to get a detailed list of healthy foods that you can include in your diet from your healthcare provider. Some of the common food items that your doctor may suggest to add to your meals include:

  • Bananas: They are rich in potassium and offer a quick dose of energy to keep fatigue at bay and relieve muscle cramps. They are also easy on your stomach, which means you can have them when you are feeling nauseous or bloated. 
  • Oatmeal: It contains high amounts of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and can keep you full for long hours. Oatmeal is also considered a good source of energy and helps reduce your cholesterol levels.
  • Whole Grains: They are packed with fibre, vitamins, and plant compounds, and help you meet your daily calorie needs. Popular instances of these foods include whole-grain bread, pasta, brown rice, and wheat crackers.
  • Leafy Vegetables: Leafy veggies contain essential nutrients that help ensure a healthy pregnancy. They are also rich in antioxidants and can aid in digestion and support your immune system. Examples of leafy veggies include kale and spinach.
  • Dried Fruits: They are high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and supply glucose and calories to your body. Also, dried fruits are also a good substitute for junk snacks and can help maintain your body weight.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: This nutritional powerhouse contains magnesium, copper, and zinc, and can help promote your muscle health. It also boosts your protein and iron intake per day.

What you eat during pregnancy forms the sole source of nutrition for you and your baby. That’s why understanding the foods to avoid during pregnancy can ensure your baby’s optimal development and growth, and also enhance your overall health. Make sure to consume fully-cooked meals and avoid the food items that we’ve mentioned to avoid any complications.

Also read:

Foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy: Here’s a detailed list of foods and beverages that you should avoid during pregnancy. 

Featured image: Freepik.com

Third-trimester pregnancy diet: Check out this list of food items that you should definitely include in your third-trimester pregnancy diet for good health. 

Feature image: Alia Bhatt/ Instagram

23 Nov 2022

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