Eating Junk Food during Pregnancy – Is It Safe for You & Baby?

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Junk Food During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a delicate time when you have to be extra careful about what you eat. What you eat is what your baby (and you) become, and where junk foods are concerned, they are a strict no-no.

Junk foods are highly unsafe for babies. Here’s what you need to know about eating junk food during pregnancy.

Harmful Effects of Eating Fast/Junk Food While Pregnant 

There are several harmful effects of eating fast food or junk food while pregnant. Not only are junk foods processed but they are also highly concentrated sources of salt, sugar, and processed fats.

Here are 10 harmful effects of eating fast/junk food while being pregnant:

1. Lack of Nutrition

Sugars, salts, fats, and everything bad – this is junk foods summarised in a nutshell. Your baby needs a healthy dose of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and healthy fats for his/her proper growth and development. If you consume junk food, you and your baby will not receive these important nutrients. Organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, and even the bones get affected in the process!

2. Obesity

Junk food leads to obesity when overindulged in. Obesity leads to preeclampsia, preterm labour, miscarriage, high birth weight, and birth defects.

3. Unhealthy Dietary Preferences

Junk foods don’t wipe their slate clean once you’re done eating them. Even after you’ve consumed them, slowly and subtly, they alter your unborn baby’s eating preferences from the inside. You’ll notice your baby craving unhealthy and processed foods after being born, and this leads to health implications down the line.

4. Allergies and Asthma

As per reports, children of parents who ate junk foods during pregnancy had an increased risk of allergies and asthma.

5. Alters Brain Chemistry

Parents who eat junk foods during pregnancy alter their kids’ brain chemistries and program them to be addicted to unhealthy food sources. Children will no longer experience “the-feel-good” hormones through eating healthy food and thus be in bad physical/mental shape.

6. Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Junk food goes hand-in-hand with heart disease. If you continue to advocate the habit of junk food, your kids will experience these risks early on in their lives and so will you.

7. Junk Food Addiction

When you eat too much junk food, your reward system goes out of whack in the brain, leaving you desensitized to healthier alternatives.

Junk Food Addiction

8. Genetic Abnormalities

According to a study conducted on pregnant rats, consuming junk foods lead to a dysfunctional peripheral insulin functioning in the body along with mitochondrial abnormalities in female children.

9. Digestive Problems

Junk foods cause bloating, indigestion and gas, and interfere with your regular cycles of healthy bowel movements. Since they don’t have essential fibre content, your digestive health takes a plummet.

10. High Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Junk foods lead to an increased risk of gestational diabetes since they are high in sugar and calorific content. Gestational diabetes can create serious problems during pregnancy and delivery. Your baby may be born with excess birth weight or be at risk of preterm birth.

woman with gestational diabetes

Junk Food In Pregnancy: How Much Is Too Much?

So, should you avoid junk food in pregnancy altogether? Whether it is okay to eat junk food while pregnant or not depends on your portions. Although an occasional slice of pizza or a mini burger doesn’t hurt, mothers must take care of portions whenever they eat junk food.

Tips To Stop Junk Food Cravings

Are you craving junk food in early pregnancy and want tips to eliminate cravings? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:

  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are healthy snacking alternatives. You also get your dose of essential vitamins and protein from these sources. It is recommended to look for healthy substitutes for pregnancy food cravings, such as flavoured yoghurt instead of ice-cream.

pregnant woman eating  yoghurt

  • Cook at home. This will save up on grocery bills plus save your health as well! It’s good for your kids too since you’ll be setting model examples. Make baked foods over fried substances for optimal nutrition and well-being.
  • Distract yourself from cravings by going for a walk or doing something else whenever cravings strike. In time, cravings slowly dissipate, and you’ll be getting off the vicious junk food addiction cycle.

pregnant woman avoiding burger

  • Plan your daily meals for the week. By knowing what you’ll be eating later on, you’ll be eliminating thoughts and cravings plus be healthy!
  • Eat small meals spread throughout the day. This will eliminate hunger, regulate metabolism, and reduce unhealthy food cravings.
  • Relax a little. Take up yoga or meditation and learn to live mindfully. High-stress levels lead to junk food cravings, and by eliminating stress from your life, you win your upcoming battles.

Take extra care when eating out and eat healthy whenever possible. Exercise a little, eat frequently but healthily, and, when you stick to consistency, you’ll watch those cravings disappear. Happy motherhood!

Also Read: Healthy Snacks for Pregnant Women