Fast food is unhealthy for everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or genetics and lifestyle among other factors. Fast food causes weight gain, high blood sugar and subsequently diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and hormonal imbalance. Fast food affects everything from your natural metabolic rate to your heart rate. It affects sleep and mood. Fast food can cause unnecessary spike in certain components in our system, be it sodium or artificial preservatives. Consuming fast food regularly can lead to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, physiological conditions and even cancer. Some fast foods affect the central nervous system, the reproductive system and the integumentary system. It is safe to say that you must avoid fast food, pregnant or not.
There is sufficient scientific evidence establishing the correlation between fast food and infertility, especially among women. It is quite likely that you would struggle to conceive if you are on a regular and generous diet of fast foods. If you get pregnant, despite being a regular consumer of fast food, you will be knowingly or unknowingly affecting the health of your unborn child. Pregnant women have to endure certain cravings. Some women want to gorge on fried pickles while some would love a serving of ice cream at night. The hormonal changes, mood swings and various other biochemical and physical changes in the body compel women to reach out for comfort foods. Many women grab a pack of potato chips whenever they feel a little uncomfortable for whatsoever reason during pregnancy. Most fast foods you consume during pregnancy will directly or indirectly hurt your baby. Hence, you should think twice before giving in to your indulgences.
- Eating fast food during pregnancy will lead to the newborn developing a preference for foods rich in fat. This fat is not the monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. The preference is also not for unsaturated fat. Babies will want saturated fats and trans fats, the latter being the worst kind there is. There are some studies establishing the connection between the diet of a pregnant woman and the brain circuitry of a newborn. Fetuses when exposed to fat rich diets are likely to develop an affinity for the same. They may be groomed in a manner to avoid fast food as many mothers are conscious of what they feed their infants and toddlers. Despite such grooming or stringent diet, the kids will grow up with a penchant for fast food. This is akin to hard-wiring a system to respond to a particular stimulus in a certain way.
- Eating fast food during pregnancy will make the newborn vulnerable to various kinds of allergies. It is well known that fast food has little to no essential nutrient. There is no contribution to general health. Fast food actually weakens the natural immunity of a person. Since adults have a certain degree of immunity by the time they start bingeing on fast food, they may still manage to thwart off certain allergies. Newborns would be naturally allergic to many things if their mothers were into fast food during pregnancy. The newborns may not show many signs of being allergic in their infancy or through their toddling days. They will be at risk of serious allergies by the age seven through nine and thereafter.
- Fast food is bad for the heart. If an adult with a fully grown and optimally functioning heart can become vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases due to regular consumption of fast food, then you can imagine the impact such items would have on the tiny and yet to be fully formed heart of a baby. A fetus is more vulnerable to its immediate surroundings and is completely dependent on the health of the pregnant woman to extract every resource it needs. Fast food will leave its unpleasant traces in the blood and these would inevitably end up affecting the fetus. The only question is to what extent. Pregnant women consuming fast food regularly will have kids vulnerable to heart disease among others. Some genetic abnormalities have also been linked to fast food consumption among pregnant women. Kids would also be more vulnerable to diabetes, right at the time of birth.
There is only so much pregnant women can endure during the trimesters. Cravings are unavoidable. What one can do is manage those cravings and reach out for some healthy foods. The simple mantra should be to avoid processed foods. Shun sugar, white flour, additives and preservatives, any product that contains trans fat and chemically processed or artificially manufactured ingredients. Since it is really hard to always cook some homemade meals, one must have a handy list of healthy snacks. You can always go for kale chips instead of nachos and potato chips. You may also go for beet chips or dried seaweeds. You can replace cakes and candies with fruits. Eat apples and bananas. You may go for a bit of dark chocolate too. You can pair fruits with some almond butter. Ice cream must make way for yogurt.
There are ways to deal with cravings and not fall into the vicious trap of fast food. Once you develop a penchant for fast food, it can be really tough to let go and especially when you are pregnant. Not all women have the same willpower during the trimesters and very few would have their loved ones around all the time to have some fun and recreation during one of the loveliest phases of their lives.