Eating the right food in the right quantity and time is the key to a healthy pregnancy. Due to hormonal fluctuations, food cravings during pregnancy are more. Indeed, most moms crave junk food during pregnancy. Due to the convenience of its availability at all times, most pregnant women find it easy to consume junk food anytime — be it day or late at night.
Though pregnancy cravings can be blamed upon hormones, eating oily and fried food regularly during pregnancy isn’t recommended. If you are a person who loves to eat junk food, even before you were conceived, pregnancy is the time for you to change your food preferences. Also, in case you aren’t a food junkie, don’t be surprised if you grab a pack of chips during pregnancy. You can blame it all on hormones.
Learn what happens if you only eat junk food during pregnancy and why healthy food options are a must while you are pregnant.
Is It Safe To Eat Junk Food During Pregnancy?
It is not safe to eat junk food during pregnancy — in case it is a major part of your diet. However, an occasional treat is accepted. Many women crave their favorite street food during pregnancy. You and your baby need proper nutrition which is absolutely nil in junk foods. Though it could be tempting to eat junk food during pregnancy, experts and doctors do not recommend it as junk food could lead to negative effects such as indigestion, weight gain, and abnormalities in the child.
Eating habits of the mother during pregnancy will also have an impact on the growing fetus. That is why it is recommended to eat healthy during pregnancy so that the child develops a similar taste pattern. Also, it is believed that the dietary choices of pregnant women have an impact on the fetus’s brain.
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
Junk and fast foods have high calories without any nutritional value. If you can’t stop eating junk food during pregnancy, just think of the fact that they do nothing beneficial for the growth of the fetus. Instead, they complicate your pregnancy and lead to excessive weight gain and water retention.
9 Reasons To Avoid Junk Food During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is important to choose healthy foods that give you and the fetus the required vitamins and minerals for a successful pregnancy. In case you crave unhealthy options such as junk food during pregnancy, try not to overindulge in it. Since you are eating for two (in the sense the baby is deriving nutrition from what you are eating), what not to eat becomes more significant.
It is always safe to be on the side of caution when you are pregnant, especially on what you eat. The best is to skip any menu items that could potentially cause a threat or affect your little one’s growth and development. Though people realize junk food isn’t a good option, that doesn’t stop them from consuming it.
The foundation for healthy eating in a child begins during pregnancy. To support this, here are reasons why you need to avoid junk food during pregnancy.
1. Unhealthy and unwanted weight gain
One of the most obvious side effects of eating junk food is gaining unwanted weight. Junk food during pregnancy could add those extra pounds effortlessly and can make you prone to unwanted complications during pregnancy because of being overweight. Issues such as hypertension, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and birth defects could be caused due to obesity.
It is also advised by doctors to stay fit during the pregnancy phase as it becomes difficult to carry those extra pounds during the last phase of pregnancy — in case the woman is obese.
2. Hindrance in fetal development
Nutrition is important during pregnancy for the mother and the fetus. Lack of proper nutrition could lead to many birth defects. The nutritional value of junk food during pregnancy (or anytime) is empty which could affect the growth of the baby.
When the baby doesn’t get the required number of vitamins and proteins, chances that the baby could develop complications such as underdeveloped kidney, renal problems are high1.
3. Doesn’t meet the nutritional requirement
Good nutrition is vital during pregnancy. As junk food during pregnancy doesn’t contain fresh fruit and vegetables, it could be difficult for pregnant women and fetuses to meet their recommended daily nutritional value. Saturated fat, sugar, and salt content are high in junk food which is of no help during pregnancy.
According to a source, junk food contains various substances which aren’t healthy. Though not all fast food is unhealthy, people can make this food an occasional choice by going through their nutritional value content.
Related Reading: 10 Most Important Nutrients For Children
4. Junk food can cause allergy
Food allergies are common and there could be many reasons due to which there is an increase in allergy. According to a source, junk food consumption has a link with an increase in allergies such as asthma, eczema, hay fever, and rhino conjunctivitis.
Junk food contains the presence of advanced glycation end products which can trigger the glycation process that could lead to several issues. There is always an after effect after consuming junk food during pregnancy whose severity varies based on the person’s immunity and metabolism.
5. Increased fetal weight
According to a source, the chance of increased fetal weight at birth is high in cases where pregnant women consumed more junk food during pregnancy. High fetal weight could lead to many complications such as slow labor, increasing the chances of cesarean and instrumental deliveries. There are natural healthy foods that are recommended to increase the fetal weight during pregnancy, if required.
6. Causes mental health problems
Before you reach out for that bag of chips to meet your cravings, you must know that processed junk food during pregnancy can have a great impact on your baby later in life. Consuming unhealthy foods such as junk food during pregnancy increases the chance of mental disorders in the child.
Behavioral disorders such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, and ADHD were also noted amongst the kids. Also, signs of increased aggression were seen later in life. So, think twice before choosing which one to pick.
7. May cause junk food addiction in the baby
According to one of the studies conducted with rats, intake of maternal diet had a great influence on the baby’s consumption of food after their birth. It was found that mothers who consumed foods rich in salt, sugar, and junk had already paved the same way and a taste preference for their child’s taste buds.
It was also found that babies born to a mother who mostly ate junk food during pregnancy, wanted to eat more fat and sugar-rich foods to feel content. The research indicated that the consumption of junk food during pregnancy had long-term consequences on the child’s eating habits which eventually had negative effects on their health.
Related Reading: Eating Chocolates During Pregnancy – Does It Increase Happiness
8. Chances of genetic abnormalities may increase
According to research conducted on rats, consumption of high fat and sugar-rich foods by the mom during pregnancy leads to distorted peripheral insulin. The consequences of this were mitochondrial dysfunction in the female generation which was passed to the next three generations.
9. Increased intake of acrylamide
When junk foods such as French fries, potato chips, and other fried foods are fried at a high temperature, it leads to the formation of a chemical called acrylamide. According to a study, a high level of acrylamide leads to the formation of smaller head circumference and also causes low birth weight in the fetus.
Even before you get those positive pregnancy lines, you will find your appetite changes drastically. Craving junk food during pregnancy is a common experience. Though indulging in it once in a while is not bad, always remember that a balanced and healthy food option is what everyone recommends.
While a healthy and balanced diet is what you need to focus on during pregnancy, listed below are a few tips for managing unhealthy food cravings:
-Food cravings happen when there is a sudden desire to eat a particular type of food. In that case, make sure you’re -eating regularly with healthy meals options
-Keep a stock of healthy alternatives to eat when you find the urge to eat
-Go for food options such as unsweetened rolled oats (porridge), whole grain bread, baked beans, and fresh fruit that will help to keep you full for longer
-Get a lot of sleep. It is believed that sleep-deprived people often crave junk food during pregnancy
-Prefer homemade food. It saves your money too! Also, go for foods that are baked instead of choosing fried options
-Try to distract food cravings by going for a walk or indulging in something you like
Though an occasional treat of junk food during pregnancy doesn’t hurt, always be mindful of how many portions you consume.
It is believed that what you eat during pregnancy is what your baby will prefer. Hence, if you think, eating oily food during pregnancy is not going to affect you or the fetus — you are wrong.
Junk food should be avoided in pregnancy as it is not good for the growing fetus. Though pregnancy cravings might urge you to grab a pack of chips during pregnancy, it might not be safe.