Sign Up


Sign In

Expecting Mothers Article

Foods and drugs during pregnancy

By Aponjon Content team

Eating healthy is very important in pregnancy, because whatever you’re eating, your baby is getting a part of it too. It is also important that you don’t eat anything that will make you sick at this time.

Is it safe to eat outside food?

Whatever you eat, try to prepare them by yourself at home. Avoid food prepared or cooked outside (in restaurants, fast food shops, or street side vendors). Do not eat chaatnis, achaars or jhalmuri etc. sold on the streets.

Absolutely avoid any food or drinks sold on the streets as sometimes these may be contaminated by bacteria or other harmful germs. Other contaminants may include food additives like preservatives & artificial coloring, flavoring and sweetening agents. All these can make you sick with diseases like gastroenteritis, typhoid and dysentery.

Bacteria can reach food if it is:

1. Not Cleaned appropriately

2. Handled with unclean hands or utensils, or served on utensils not cleaned with purified water.

3. Not kept covered and the food is exposed to dust or flies.

4. Stale or refrigerated and has not been reheated to steaming hot temperature.

What is safe to drink?

If you have to drink, drink water that is purified at home or juices that you have prepared yourself.

If you have to drink bottled water, buy bottles of renowned brands. Check the date of expiry and make

sure that the seal is not broken before you drink. It would be wise to avoid commercial soft drinks and juices altogether.

Bacteria grow very rapidly in water during hot summer days. That’s why contaminated water is very dangerous. And the street vendors that sell sugarcane juice or lemonades almost always use contaminated water.

If you must drink coffee or tea, you shouldn’t drink more than a cup per day.

How can I stay away from pathogens?

If you follow a few simple rules of cleanliness, you can most surely stay away from pathogens in most cases.

Use safe water for preparing and serving food. Water from arsenic free tube-well or water purified by boiling can be considered safe. If you use filters for water purification, use the ones by renowned brands.

Use safe water for –  

  • drinking,
  • washing hands & utensils,
  • washing food that will not be cooked (or at least part of it will be consumed without cooking e.g. lemon juice, green chili, onion etc.).

Preserve collected safe water in sealed containers for not a very long time for drinking and cooking (preferably no longer than 24 hours).

Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating uncooked. And don’t forget to clean the knife with pure water before peeling and cutting. Clean coriander leaves (dhonya pata) and lettuce thoroughly.

Is it safe to eat preserved food?

It is best to eat freshly prepared food and not preserved ones. Do not eat stale food as those may have already been contaminated.

If you refrigerate, do not eat after 2 days. Reheat the refrigerated food up to steaming hot temperature every time before eating.

Foods that are unsafe

Some food are particularly unsafe to eat during pregnancy. Here are some common food items that should be avoided in pregnancy –

1. Undercooked meat like grilled chicken, kebabs or burger patties.

2. Handmade mayonnaise: Mayonnaise made at home or in fast food shops contains raw eggs

which can contain germs of typhoid.

3. Salads prepared in restaurants.

4. Cheese sold open in market as they are not always made of pasteurized milk. However, cheese

of renowned brands that come in sealed bottles may be considered safe.

Medicines: safe or not

Many of us have a tendency for taking medicine for ailment without a prescription from a registered doctor. Sometimes we even think that a particular medicine is right for me because it worked for somebody else. But this should never be done.

Having the same symptoms as the other person does not necessarily mean that you have the same disease. Besides, your additional physical conditions may not be the same as the other person – making the medicine useless or even harmful for you, even if it worked for the other person. For this reason,

you should never take medicine without your doctor’s prescription.

Moreover, some medicines are not safe in pregnancy. Some of them may cause your baby to be born

with malformations or birth defects. That’s why they are absolutely contraindicated (forbidden) in the first trimester. Based on the safety level, drugs or medicines are classified in a number of categories –

Pregnancy category

Description Example
A Safe Milk of magnesia
B No risk. But Consult doctor before taking Paracetamol, Amoxicilin, Cefotaxime

May be risky. Doctor will only prescribe if benefit is more than risk

Loperamide (Imotil), Ibuprofen, Ciprofloxacin


Harmful. Don’t take without doctor's strict supervision. Doctor will only advice in life- threatening conditions

Aspirin, Diclofenac, Tetracycline

Highly risky. Absolutely avoid under all circumstances during pregnancy

Thalidomide, Methotrexate, Warfarin

So if you go to the doctor for reasons other than antenatal checkup (ANC checkup), make sure you let him/her know that you’re pregnant. The doctor will weigh the risks and benefits to determine what medicine is safe for you and will prescribe accordingly.