Research reveals that most women fall pregnant during the festive season and January

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

The festive festive season does not only leave dents in women's wallets, but also bumps in their tummies.

A study conducted in the Netherlands in 2005 revealed that, throughout the world, most babies are born between September and October, meaning they were conceived around the December holidays and early January.

Though January is too early to detect the existence of an embryo, or a decision to keep it or not, it is wise to take care of the unborn because you might change your mind. If you choose to give up the child for adoption it would be only humane to give up a healthy child.

So whether the suspicion raises the hair at the bacl of your neck or leaves you disarmed with secret excitement, you can meet mother nature halfway by avoiding foods that may be harmful to your unborn child.

And the compliment will be a glow in your complexion and restored energy that had been running on reserve, thanks to that bundle.

Gynaecologists and paediatricians agree that much distress can be avoided during pregnancy and after childbirth.

"Women have to think of their pregnancy as the cultivating period," says Dr Chris Moloisi a general practitioner.

"No successful farmer treats the harvest, they make sure all their harvest needs are met before they even sow the seeds.

"A wise mother needs to learn from the farmer and invest in the cultivating process and save themselves the post-natal headache that very often stems from misinformed pregnancy tales and advice."

Moloisi suggests that parents need to look at the pregnancy as a farming process, and wise farmers come armed to cultivate even the most exotic plants in their fields.

"Although we differ in opinion, most of my colleagues agree that cholic is rife in children whose parents fight during pregnancy. What we all agree on is that informed mothers give birth to healthier babies," says Dr Wilhelmina de Jager, a paediatrician.

Because there is a pregnancy Bible during pregnancy, it is often the don'ts that are not known to many.

Don't eat:

Raw meat such as sushi, seafood, rare or uncooked beef, or poultry because of the risk of contamination with coli forming bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.

Raw eggs, or foods containing raw egg such as Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, home-made ice cream or custard, unpasteurised eggnog, or Hollandaise sauce because raw eggs may be contaminated with salmonella.

Fish containing accumulated levels of mercury in their fatty tissues such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish.

Unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses, and especially imported soft cheeses, may contain bacteria called listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby, leading to life-threatening infection or blood poisoning.

Avoid soft cheeses, unless they are made from pasteurised milk. Local soft cheeses made with pasteurised milk are safe.

Caffeine studies show that moderation in its intake is okay in pregnant women. But, then there are some that show that caffeine intake may be related to miscarriages.

So avoid caffeine during the first trimester to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. As a general rule, caffeine should be limited to fewer than 300mg per day during pregnancy. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it helps eliminate fluids from the body.

But, this can result in water and calcium loss. It is important that you drink plenty of water, juice, and milk rather than caffeinated beverages.

Research shows that large amounts of caffeine are associated with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in infants.

The safest thing is not to consume caffeine.

There is NO amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy, and therefore alcohol should be avoided.

Prenatal exposure to alcohol can interfere with the healthy development of the baby depending on the amount, timing, and pattern of use.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome or other developmental disorders. If you consumed alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, stop drinking now. Alcohol should be avoided during breast feeding.

Exposure to alcohol as an infant poses harmful risks, and alcohol does reach the baby during breast feeding.

Unwashed vegetables: Vegetables are safe to eat.

However, it is essential to make sure they are washed to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis may contaminate the soil where the vegetables were grown.

While vitamin A is good for you, women who consume too much may risk a higher incidence of birth defects in their babies. Since you are probably already taking prenatal vitamins and eating other vitamin A-containing foods, it's better to be safe and not consume liver (it's high on Vitamin A) on a regular basis.