Can You Eat Chinese Food While Pregnant? Identify Myths And Reality!

As soon as you get to know that you are now pregnant, a never-ending list of questions starts popping up in your brain. Thoughts like can you eat outside? What foods to avoid during pregnancy? Can you eat extra calories? Can you eat Chinese food while pregnant?

People all around the world hold Chinese as one of the most liked staple cuisines and almost everyone loves it. Thanks to the amazing umami flavor and visual appeal of Chinese food because of colorful vegetable combinations.

The relationship between Chinese food and pregnancy is already tainted with a lot of myths going on the internet. But this doesn’t exonerate Chinese food from all charges either. Here we will look into the common myths against Chinese food and real problems associated with eating Chinese food during pregnancy.

So, can you eat Chinese food while pregnant? Let’s see!

Myths associated with Chinese food and pregnancy:

The Internet is a funny place especially when it comes to spreading myths. Here are some of the common myths that taint the reputation of Chinese food during pregnancy.

Chinese food can make your child Autistic

Autism is still one of the most dreaded conditions that parents are scared of even before their child is born. Although the causes of autism are mostly genetic and rest are unknown, there are thousands of myths surrounding the diseases including the one making Chinese food during pregnancy a cause of autism.

This claim is made without any strong proof by associating MGM or monosodium glutamate with autism. If you are asking can you eat Chinese food while pregnant just because you are scared that your child might be suffering from autism, then you do not have to worry at all!

Chinese Food can make your child naughty

Any logical person would ask one thing after hearing this myth, why would eating Chinese food during pregnancy make your child naughty? But this is the thing here, logical people rarely believe in myths.

Chinese food is spicy, and people have been spreading a lot of myths against spices for a long time. This might be the originating story of having naughty kids if you eat Chinese food while you are pregnant.

Eating Chinese food can complicate pregnancy

There are so many things that people would say about Chinese food and pregnancy but the most unbelievable one is that Chinese food can complicate pregnancy. Food does have an effect on pregnant mothers but considering one type of food as more harmful seems a little racist to begin with.

Chinese food has thousands of different variations and a blanket prohibition seems unfair. Even if you are eating Chinese food, pregnancy can still remain very healthy. There are certain ingredients that you should avoid but we have explained it all in the next section. For now, we are only busting the myth that eating Chinese food while pregnant is not entirely a bad idea if you are a little careful.

Also read: Should You Eat Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?

Why can Chinese food be bad during pregnancy?

Now is the time we tell you the bad news. Chinese food is might cause certain health problems, which makes it a less healthy option for a pregnant woman. Here are all the reasons why eating Chinese food during pregnancy can affect you in a bad way. However, in the end, there is a solution for you too! So let’s get started.

Street Chinese Food is unhygienic

There is something special about the food we eat from street stalls. Although it makes us sick many times, still nothing is better than spicy Chinese food from the street-side stall. However, pregnant women should be careful about hygiene issues.

Streetside Chinese food during pregnancy can make you sick. Food poisoning is a very common condition and it gets very hard for a pregnant woman to endure food poisoning.  So, no matter how much you crave Chinese food, pregnancy is not the right time to eat from unhygienic stalls.

A lot of sodium

Chinese food is super tasty but this taste comes at a cost. There is a lot of sodium in Chinese food which makes it a bad diet not just for pregnant women but for everyone else too.  So, if you are eating Chinese food during pregnancy, make sure that you are not eating a lot of it.

Sodium can blot your body, making it difficult for you to function properly, increase your blood pressure which is one of the major issues of many pregnant women. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure during pregnancy is very important and Chinese food can disturb this goal.

Sweet sauces are not your friend

Many pregnant women develop a temporary diabetic state during pregnancy. For some, this can last even after the pregnancy is over. Eating a lot of sugars can trigger the problem. This is why we advise you to not eat a lot of Chinese food when you are pregnant.

The MGM controversy

Monosodium glutamate (MGM) is extensively used in Chinese food around the world. Chinese food has a specific umami flavor that makes it so famous. They add MGM to enhance the umami flavor. However, this compound is very notorious and there are many health risks related to it especially for pregnant women.

According to some studies, MGM can impair brain growth of the fetus and develop certain lifelong conditions in the unborn child. That is why avoiding Chinese food that has unknown ingredients is very important especially during pregnancy.

Raw meat is a big NO

Many Chinese dishes use raw meat or fish. These meats can have harmful bacteria and mercury present in them. Any such Chinese food should be totally avoided during pregnancy no matter how much you are craving it.

How to satisfy your Chinese food cravings during pregnancy?

Now, to answer the question “Can you eat Chinese food while pregnant?” The best way to satisfy your cravings is to cook the food at home. In this way, you can be sure that everything you are adding in the food is hygienic and properly cooked. Also, you can alter the recipes and avoid harmful ingredients altogether. This might be a little time consuming but at the same time, it is very important for you and for your baby!

Also read: Healthy Snacks During Pregnancy

When And Why Do You Need Antenatal Checkups?

Congratulations! You are going to be a mommy. Seeing the urine strip say positive can be a euphoric experience for many. But once the initial surprise or shock or ecstasy is over, pregnancies can be overwhelming. Especially, if it is your first pregnancy, there is some preparation that you need to do. This informed planning is also necessary if you are deciding to start a family. You must be aware of what you are getting yourself into, to ensure a stable physical and mental health. Let’s now talk about antenatal checkups.

Antenatal checkups are crucial for adequate well-being of your baby and you. It is very important to have a doctor who is familiar with your history, keeps a track of your pregnancy and will be available in case of emergency. And this kind of doctor-patient relationship is only built if you are also compliant with your appointments.

First antenatal checkup

The first antenatal checkup must be as soon as you miss your period. Your home pregnancy tests may not be accurate. So, you must visit your doctor. The doctor will take some blood tests to get an idea of your baseline health. He or she will also perform an abdominal ultrasound to ensure the healthy implantation of an embryo (a teeny tiny version of your baby)

In this visit, you must discuss with your doctor the medications you take and the supplements you might require.

Second antenatal checkup

The second antenatal checkup must be between 7-10 weeks. This checkup is important because, after 7 weeks of your pregnancy, the fetus develops a beating heart. This activity confirms the vitality of pregnancy. If the scan at this stage does not show fetal heart activity, give your little one a week’s time. Some babies develop a beating heart a little later.

Schedule of antenatal checkups

After the confirmation that you have an alive fetus in your womb, the ideal schedule for an antenatal checkup is as follows:

  • 1 visit per month till 7th month (28 weeks)
  • 1 visit after every two weeks till the beginning of 9th month (36 weeks)
  • 1 visit every week till the end of pregnancy (36-40 weeks)

These scheduled antenatal checkups are meant to keep a record of your health and your baby’s progress. Any abnormal change or finding can be easily caught on time if you are visiting your OB/GYN regularly. This will result in a healthy, uncomplicated delivery and will also give your baby a better shot at life.

Week 20 antenatal checkup

It is a must to schedule an antenatal checkup in or immediately after your week 20 of pregnancy. The reason being that in this week, major organs of your baby start to form or have developed by now. An ultrasound can pick any congenital abnormalities or syndrome easily.

If an ultrasound is not enough, blood testing at this stage can also help a great deal. Your doctor might need to poke a needle inside your tummy to get your baby’s blood and your baby sac fluid as well to ensure that the mother and the baby are doing fine. This test is known as amniocentesis.

Week 30 antenatal checkup

Week 30 antenatal checkup also holds a special significance. After the 30th week of your pregnancy, the baby’s head is supposed to be facing downwards towards your vagina. The position of the baby’s head can be assessed at this stage by an ultrasound or a per-vaginal examination.

If the baby fails to turn his head down, your doctor will decide how to proceed next. Some doctors prefer to wait a little while to give the baby more time. Some perform a maneuver called ‘External Cephalic Rotation’. In this maneuver, the doctor tries to turn the head down by putting circular pressure on your tummy. If the baby still prefers to stay upright (because of some physical obstruction, which too can be seen on a sonogram!) your doctor then needs to plan an elective cesarean delivery.

Conditions requiring more than recommended antenatal checkups

Your doctor might advise you to visit him or her more often than the schedule we mentioned earlier. This does not mean that he or she is less competent or that he or she is trying to mooch off money out of you. Some health conditions do require an extra number of antenatal visits.

Having a baby after 30

Medical science suggests having a baby before 30 years as it is a healthier option. If you are having a baby after 30, especially near or after your 40s, you need to be extra vigilant. You have increased chances of developing high blood pressures, high blood sugar levels, and early labor.

Your baby is also at a higher risk of developing congenital birth defects. You need more antenatal checkups to catch and manage these problems before they can cause life-long, irreversible damage.

Health conditions that develop during pregnancy or are pre-existing

Some of you will already be suffering from health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressures. Some will develop these conditions during pregnancy. If you are already suffering from such vices, or have a family history or other risk factors, it is a must to have your antenatal checkups more often and more vigilantly. This will help in managing the complications of these diseases.

Rupture of membranes/abnormal bleeding/risk of pre-term labor

If you feel a gush of fluid being discharged from your vagina or there is abnormal bleeding, this might mean your baby is on the way to the world a little earlier. If any of such signs occur, or if you have a previous history or family history of pre-term labor, you need an antenatal checkup to asses the condition of the baby.

Based on this checkup, your doctor will decide if your pregnancy should continue or if you need to terminate it or get an operation to deliver the baby.

In conclusion, at least 10-12 antenatal checkups are necessary to track your baby’s health, not to forget yours as well! You should keep a record of all such visits and they should be available with you. Your doctor can tweak your visits tailored to your specific needs.