Eating your favorite hot Cheetos while being pregnant is generally safe; spicy food will not directly affect your growing baby. You might want to eat in moderation, though, unless you are not having morning sickness or heartburn, which is a common symptom while pregnant; otherwise, it should be fine.
A pregnant woman experiences food cravings because of hormones, a heightened sense of smell or taste, and nutritional deficiencies. Hence, craving a “weird” combination of food is completely normal while pregnant. You just need to be mindful of what you eat since you need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for you and your baby.
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Are spicy foods bad for you or your baby?
While no studies show any harmful effects of spicy food for your baby’s growth while they are still in your tummy, an excess amount of spicy food intake might cause some uncomfortable side effects to you, momma.
Hormones are the main reason why you crave so many unusual (or even normal) foods during pregnancy. Still, you have to remember that your body is in for many changes, so a healthy diet is strongly recommended at this stage.
How spicy food affects your pregancy
- Morning sickness – The food cravings during this stage of pregnancy are at their strongest, but this is also the stage where morning sickness might be at its peak. Eating spicy foods like hot Cheetos can trigger the release of stomach acid and make nausea and vomiting even worse than it already is.
- Heartburn – You can experience this both in the 1st and 3rd trimester, it is more intense during the latter because of the lower pressure on the esophageal sphincter, caused by the increasing pressure on the abdomen from the growing baby inside the uterus, which makes acid reflux more common during this time.
- Diarrhea – Capsaicin is an active component in chili that is responsible for the gastrointestinal side effects of spicy foods, it irritates the stomach and digestive system, causing diarrhea to any person, not just pregnant women. Consider eating spicy food in moderation especially if your body is not used to a high level of spicy food.
Healthy foods to eat during pregnancy
- Dairy foods – during your first visit to your OB-Gyne as a mom-to-be, you will be advised by your doctor to eat as healthy as possible because everything that you eat will be the nutritional source of your growing baby. Eating dairy foods like milk, cheese, yogurt which are good sources of calcium, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
- Legumes – are great plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium. Folate, which is the most essential B vitamin (B9) is very important for you and your baby, especially during the first trimester. You can get these from foods like peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts.
- Eggs – a large egg contains a good amount of calories, high-quality protein, fat, and multiple vitamins and minerals, all of which you’ll need during pregnancy for your baby’s brain development. It also helps to helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.
- Dark leafy greens – these are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. You can get it from kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and other dark leafy green vegetables.
- Lean meats – beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins which are essential for you and your growing baby during pregnancy.
- Berries – let us not forget our favorite healthy snacks which are good source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Berries have a relatively low glycemic index value, so they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar. Blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, and strawberries are just some of the few examples that you could eat.
- Whole grains – you could eat oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley instead of white bread, pasta, and white rice. These are filled with fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds. Fiber could be useful once constipation kicks in.
- Water – last but not least, keep yourself hydrated to keep the circulation in your body as smooth as possible. We all know the wonders and benefits of drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water to keep your body in a good condition.
Foods to avoid when pregnant
You can eat most foods in moderation except for raw foods, high mercury fish, over caffeine, unpasteurized milk or cheese, and alcohol.
Can spicy foods help with labor?
There are no scientific studies that prove this theory, but if you feel comfortable with eating spicy foods and want to give it a try at the ending of your 38 weeks gestation, it won’t hurt the baby.
You have to keep in mind that everything that goes into your body, not only food and drinks but also the products you put on your skin, will somehow affect your baby.
Always choose to be safe than sorry; moderation will also get you a long way in your pregnancy. Feel free to ask us questions and share your personal experiences in the comments below! Stay happy and healthy.