Foods To Avoid When Pregnant: Complete Guide

Foods To Avoid When Pregnant: Complete Guide
Last Updated: 05 March 2020

Pregnancy is an exciting and joyful period of a woman’s life. You are looking forward to the arrival of a child, planning, and shopping for things, and redecorating the room. But being pregnant also means that you are going to significant physical and emotional changes. It is easy to notice some of them like larger belly, weight gain and some others. However, people usually don’t see plenty of other symptoms of pregnancy, like morning sickness or body aches, etc. Because of these new things that you are experiencing, there are many dos and don’ts when you are pregnant. An important thing you have to pay attention to mainly is the pregnancy diet. The happening changes can lead to some severe food poisoning if you aren’t careful about the things you eat. Wondering how? Well, in those nine months, you are sharing your immune system with the baby, and that’s why it cannot protect you the same as it usually does. If you are not aware of what you can’t eat while pregnant, you may contract a bacteria or virus that can lead to potentially severe health issues, even premature delivery, also if you have an otherwise healthy pregnancy.

Sometimes it can be frustrating to always think about foods to avoid when pregnant, mainly because you have other things on your mind. We went through the same, so we understand how you feel. That’s why we created this list of foods to avoid in pregnancy. We hope that you will enjoy it and that it will help you create an ideal pregnancy meal plan.

Besides a proper pregnancy diet, if you want to make sure to keep a healthy pregnancy, it is also necessary to have a pregnancy workout plan.

Fish during Pregnancy

We totally understand that pregnancy nutrition can be confusing, and even more so when it comes to fish because there are so many conflicting theories. On the one hand, fish is good for the heart; on another, some types are full of mercury. It is packed with DHA Omega 3, which is excellent for baby’s development, but at the same time, it can be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). So what should you do?

fish during pregnancy

The truth is that the right amount of adequate types of fish is not only healthy but recommended for both you and the baby.

Raw and Undercooked Fish

This is definitely on the list of what pregnant women should not eat. Fresh fish and particularly shellfish like oysters, mussels, and other aquatic invertebrates. They can cause infections such as listeria pregnancy, which is quite common in pregnant women. Listeriosis is caused by a bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes that lives in contaminated waters. Mothers may not show any signs of infection, but they can pass the bacteria to the baby through the placenta. This can cause stillbirth, premature delivery, or other health issues. Therefore raw and shellfish shouldn’t be part of women’s nutrition during pregnancy.

Sushi While Pregnant

It is perfectly safe to eat sushi that uses cooked fish. You can also eat vegetarian sushi. If you know the restaurant where you are planning to eat, and the fish has been previously frozen, then it is also safe to eat raw fish sushi. Unfrozen fish can contain parasitic worms called anisakis that can make you ill.

Smoked Fish

Smoked fish is among pregnancy foods to avoid if it is kept in the fridge like smoked salmon, trout, mackerel, whitefish, and others that are kept this way because they can be contaminated with listeria. The only safe way is to eat it as an ingredient in a cooked dish.

Also, smoked fish like shark, white tuna, king mackerel, swordfish contain high levels of mercury that are poisonous and can damage the baby’s nervous system.

Shrimp While Pregnant

Shrimp are relatively safe to eat during pregnancy as they don’t contain a dangerous amount of mercury, so they aren’t among foods not to eat while pregnant. However, you shouldn’t overeat. Also, if you are buying them at a farmer’s market or fish shop, make sure that you know where the products are coming from and that the place is clean. Same counts for restaurants. Additionally, like with other seafood, don’t eat them raw.

Fish that Contain Mercury

As we already mentioned, mercury is highly poisonous and can damage a baby’s central nervous system. Therefore, all foods, fish likewise, are considered as foods to avoid when pregnant. It can also be harmful to your immune system, nervous system, and kidneys. Large sea fish, like a shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna, are often contaminated with high levels of mercury.

Milk and Cheese during Pregnancy

Dairy products like milk and cheese are generally suitable for health since they are sources of protein and minerals such as calcium. When you are pregnant, it is perfectly safe and recommended that you eat hard cheeses, for example, cheddar, but some fall under the category of foods not to eat while pregnant.

Milk and Cheese during pregnancy

Blue Cheese

You will have to give up on gorgonzola, Roquefort, and cheeses that have blue mold. It’s a pity because they are real diamonds among cheeses, but since they are unpasteurized, there is a high risk that they are contaminated with listeria.

Unpasteurized Cheese

Pasteurization is a process of treating foods with a mild temperature to kill the germs. It is commonly done while making cheese. However, there are some delicious cheeses like blue cheese made with raw milk instead of pasteurized. Camembert, chevre, and brie are other known unpasteurized cheeses, and as such, it is not recommended that you eat them if you are pregnant unless they are cooked.

Unpasteurized Milk

Unpasteurized milk is absolutely amongst foods to avoid when pregnant for all the same reasons as cheese. Raw milk can cause foodborne diseases. Listeriosis is the most common, but there are many others as well.

Meat during Pregnancy

Meats are among iron-rich foods for pregnancy, but again you need to be careful because some meats can harbor toxoplasma, salmonella, and of course, also listeria that can all cause food poisoning and harm you and the baby.

Meat during pregnancy

Deli Meat While Pregnant

It may surprise you, but it is better if cured and smoked meats aren’t included in pregnant woman diets unless they are cooked. Even if you keep them in the fridge, the bacteria can still survive unless the temperature is 40 °F or 4 °C or colder. Cooking, however, does kill the germs making deli meats perfectly safe to eat.

Undercooked Meat

Maybe you like your steak medium or even bloody, but it is necessary to understand that raw and undercooked meats are definitely among what can’t pregnant women eat. If you are eating it, you risk getting infected with toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and coliform bacteria, which can severely harm you and the baby. Nevertheless, it is useful to know that these infections are quite rare.

Smoked Meat

Smoked meats usually contain high amounts of fat and salt and thus are unhealthy options during pregnancy. It contains carcinogens because of smoke. Also, the high levels of sodium can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to life-threatening conditions like preeclampsia and eclampsia. Therefore smoked meat is among foods


Any kind of pate is regarded as one of the foods to avoid when pregnant, no matter what the ingredients are. This means that you shouldn’t eat vegetable pate either as it can also be contaminated with listeria. Another reason for avoiding pate is that it is made of the liver, which contains retinol. This is a type of vitamin A, which is quite useful. However, if you take too much of it while pregnant, you can experience health issues, and it can harm the baby.

Vegetables and Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy

Fruit is healthy source of various vitamins and minerals. Therefore we can’t say there are any particular fruits to avoid during pregnancy except maybe unripe papaya. It contains a type of latex that can cause the uterus to contract, which can lead to premature labor.Other than that, some fruits have higher levels of sugar, so you have been careful regarding how much you eat.

Vegetables and fruits to avoid during pregnancy

Additionally, dried fruits and fruit juices have more sugar and calories than fresh, which doesn’t mean you need to avoid them entirely. Still, it is recommended to limit the intake. Also, you should drink only pasteurized or boiled juice. Before eating fruit, make sure to wash it thoroughly to remove the pesticides. Also, don’t keep it near uncooked meat.

Thinking about sweet foods, we remembered that a lot of our readers asked can pregnant women eat honey. The confusion probably comes from the fact that babies can’t because honey can contain bacteria that causes botulism and is hypoallergenic. However, healthy women are at risk of botulism even when they are pregnant, so it is perfectly safe to eat honey.

When it comes to vegetables, it is best to avoid raw sprouts. They need humidity to start sprouting, but this kind of environment is ideal for the growth and development of all sorts of bacteria. It is practically impossible to wash these bacteria, of which the most known is Salmonella. Therefore it is better to eat cooked sprouts.

Regardless of how much fruit and vegetables you eat during the day when you are pregnant, you always need more, so you can also take some of the best prenatal vitamins.

Raw Eggs

Eating raw eggs is one of the things you can’t do while pregnant because they can be contaminated with Salmonella. The symptoms of infection often target the mother only and are unpleasant more than anything else as they include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps. However, it some cases, they can cause uterine cramps, which can lead to premature birth or even stillbirth.

Coffee and Tea

As much as we understand that these are among the most popular hot beverages globally, it is advised that you limit the intake. Both coffee and tea contain caffeine, and studies have shown that high doses inhibit child growth and can contribute to lower birth weight. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is proven that babies who weightless at birth have a higher risk of chronic illnesses and even sudden infant death syndrome.

Why Should Pregnant Women Avoid Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol can cause serious harm to the baby and thus is on the list of foods to avoid when pregnant. Even the smallest doses can impact brain development. Additionally, it can cause heart defects, mental disability, and many other problems, so you shouldn’t consume it at all.

Junk Food

Junk food is delicious but has no nutritional value whatsoever. On the other hand, it is high in calories, which means that when you are eating it, you are just taking empty, useless calories. People are saying that when you are pregnant, you are eating for two. This is true, but it doesn’t mean that you need to double the calories but rather the nutrients. That said, we can conclude that junk food is entirely useless when you are pregnant. Moreover, it contains high levels of trans fats, salts, and sugar, and it can cause much more harm than any good.


The bottom line is that healthy nutrition and planned meals are essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Of course, it is often easier said than done, but to make sure you are eating well, you can always come back to this list of foods to avoid during pregnancy and get reminded. If you liked this text, we recommend you to join us again because always has plenty of fantastic surprises such as a text on what you can do if you are feeling cold during pregnancy.

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