Spicy Food During Pregnancy: And 4 Foods to Completely Avoid


Spicy foods during pregnancy are a big no-no. Right? Not technically. Some women do fine with spicy foods, and the good news is that these foods can be eaten safely. The food will not cause your baby any harm, so they’re safe to eat.

But that doesn’t mean that mom’s changing body will be able to tolerate spicy foods.

What to Know About Spicy Foods During Pregnancy

Woman's red lips and chili
Source: https://sites.psu.edu

Spicy foods can be tasty. When you first get pregnant, your hormone levels will go nuts, and you may find the smell of spicy food very alluring. And don’t get me wrong, some women will chow down on ice cream and pickles as well – yuck. The foods you eat do have consequences for you.

When eating spicy foods, you don’t need to worry about harming your baby. But what you should be worried about is the side effects of eating this food.

1. Spicy Food May Make You Sick

Morning sickness is never fun, and spicy food can make morning sickness even worse. If you’ve been eating more Mexican and Thai food than you have ever in the past and your morning sickness has gotten worse, it’s time to sit down and consider stopping your spicy food binge.

If you’re able to cut out these spicy delights, it should take a matter of days before your morning sickness subsides.

2. Heartburn and Indigestion

Woman suffering heartburn
Source: http://zantacadvice.co.uk/

Women that are pregnant have a much higher risk of heartburn. And when you’re eating for two, you’ll be shocked at how some foods make you feel – good and bad. If you’re the type of person that doesn’t do good with spicy food anyway, it should go without saying that heartburn and indigestion will get much worse if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy results in your hormone levels skyrocketing.

Hormones regulate everything in your body, including your digestive tract. The muscles in your digestive tract will often relax because of the hormones skyrocketing. While the muscle relaxation may sound like a good thing, it isn’t. The relaxed digestive tract allows stomach acids to creep back into the esophagus.

Indigestion will be caused by the stomach acid, leading to discomfort.

If you’ve been enjoying spicy food well through your first and second trimester, be prepared for the third trimester. Your baby is starting to grow to a pretty big size, and this baby will push on your organs and stomach naturally. This extra pushing will cause the acid in your stomach to push back up into the esophagus, and will make indigestion even worse.

[Read more about Indigestion]

4 Foods to Actually Avoid When Pregnant

So, now you know that eating spicy food during pregnancy isn’t going to cause you any serious issues. Which foods you should avoid then? And please note that most professionals do recommend avoiding spicy food because heartburn and indigestion are rather uncomfortable.

With that said, the following five foods should not be eaten:

1. Deli Meat

Deli meats on table
Source: http://americanpregnancy.org/

Deli meat – especially roast beef – should be avoided. It may be tempting to order an Italian sub, but experts recommend putting away all deli meat while pregnant. It’s common knowledge that deli meat is prone to listeria, a bacteria found within dirt and water.

This is the most common form of sickness for women that are pregnant. Listeria can cross the placenta and cause harm to your unborn child. A fatal infection or blood poisoning can cause death to your child.

2. Most Fish

Fish contains mercury, and too much mercury is not good for humans in general. The amount of mercury found in fish will vary from one fish to the next, but one thing is for sure: mercury can cause developmental damage of the fetus as well as brain damage.

Fish that should be avoided, include:

  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Shellfish
  • Mackerel

All fish should be cooked – no sushi. Foods that are undercooked can lead to food poisoning.

3. Soft Cheese

Soft cheese on table
Source: http://www.newkidscenter.com/

Soft cheeses are another food that can contain listeria. Brie, Roquefort and gorgonzola have a higher risk of containing listeria. Raw or unpasteurized milk can also contain listeria, so avoid eating these foods at all costs no matter how good they may taste.

4. Caffeine

The caffeine that runs the world – you know, the delicious coffee that you drink – should be avoided while pregnant. Even soda or caffeinated teas should be avoided. Studies have shown that consuming 200 milligrams or more per day of coffee increases the chances of a woman miscarrying by two-fold.

Caffeine can further aggravate heartburn and cause insomnia, which is not welcome for any pregnant woman.

Keep in mind that spicy foods would normally be on this list. While the risks are much lower with spicy foods, it doesn’t mean that the indigestion or heartburn is welcome – it’s not. If you’re finding that a certain food is causing you discomfort while pregnant, give it up or discuss the issue with your medical professional to get a professional opinion on the issue.

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