Pregnancy Diet: 15 Foods You Need to Avoid During Pregnancy


To nurture your unborn child and yourself during pregnancy, eating a healthy pregnancy diet is crucial. It could be necessary to give up some of your favorite dishes.

In addition to foods that increase your risk of infection, such as raw or undercooked meat or fish, you should also minimize your intake of processed foods and caffeine during pregnancy.

Note each of these 15 foods (and drinks) to limit or stay away from when pregnant.

Fish with high mercury levels

Mercury is a very hazardous element that can be found in contaminated waterways. Higher dosages may have an impact on your kidneys, immunological system, and brain system. Even in smaller doses, it can have negative effects on children’s development and lead to major developmental difficulties.

Avoiding large marine fish when pregnant or nursing is advised since they can collect high levels of mercury.

Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna (particularly bigeye tuna), marlin, Gulf of Mexico tilefish, and marlin in your pregnancy diet.

Uncooked eggs

Salmonella bacteria can be present in raw eggs. A salmonella infection can cause fever, vomiting, nausea, cramping in the stomach, and diarrhea. Additionally, it can result in uterine cramping, which could induce a stillbirth or premature birth.

The majority of commercial foods that use raw eggs are safe to eat since they are manufactured with pasteurized eggs. But to be sure, always check the label.

Always make sure you use pasteurized eggs or cook them completely. This can be added to your pregnancy diet plan.

Deli and processed meat

During manufacturing or storage, other bacteria can also contaminate hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, and deli meat. Because they are not cooked, cured meats could contain bacteria or parasites.

Furthermore, processed meats may be heavy in harmful fats and sodium. Steer clear of deli meats and make sure any processed meats you cook—like sausages—are thoroughly cooked.

Raw or undercooked meat

Consuming raw or undercooked meat might also raise your chance of contracting parasitic or bacterial infections, such as E. Coli and Toxoplasma. Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli bacteria may pose a risk to your child’s health and safety as well as your own. While some germs may remain within the muscle fibers, the majority of bacteria are found on the surface of entire chunks of flesh.

When not fully cooked, certain complete pieces of meat, such as tenderloins, sirloins, or ribeye from cattle, lamb, and veal, may be safe to eat. This is only applicable, though, if the meat is whole or uncut and fully cooked outside. It is advised to stay away from undercooked meat when pregnant.

It is never safe to consume cut meat that is undercooked or uncooked, including beef patties, burgers, minced meat, pig, and chicken.

Raw or undercooked fish

Salmonella, Vibrio, norovirus, and listeria are just a few of the bacteria and parasites that can be found in raw fish, especially shellfish. When raw fish is handled, stored, and processed—including dried or smoked—it might get contaminated.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, some of these illnesses can cause dehydration and weakness in the parents and some can even travel through the placenta to the kid. They may raise the chance of stillbirth, pregnancy loss, premature delivery, and other grave health issues.

Soft cheeses

Listeria is a type of bacteria found in some soft cheeses that can lead to serious illness and even miscarriage. Queso fresco, queso blanco, blando, panela, and ranchero are a few examples.

Eat soft cheeses that bear the pasteurization indication.

Dairy products without pasteurization

Some unpasteurized dairy products, such as raw milk, may contain dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. as well as Campylobacter. These microorganisms can lead to a variety of illnesses known as food poisoning. Any of these infections could pose a serious risk to the unborn child’s life.

The bacteria may develop naturally or as a result of contamination during the storage or collection process. Any dangerous germs can be eliminated through pasteurization without lowering the nutritious content of the goods. Avoid becoming sick by eating only pasteurized dairy products.

Unwashed produce and fruits

Fruits and vegetables that haven’t been cleaned or peeled may have germs and parasites like Toxoplasma and E. Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli. These may be derived from handling or the soil. Any stage of the process—production, harvesting, processing, storage, transit, or retail—can experience contamination.

A parasite called toxoplasma can survive on plant-based diets. Although the parasite seldom causes symptoms, it can pass the placenta and result in eyesight loss and learning disabilities in later life. Severe brain or eye impairment can sometimes be evident from birth.

Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables in clean water, peel them, or boil them before consuming to reduce the chance of illness.

Uncooked sprouts

Alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts are among the often used raw sprouts in salads. But the damp atmosphere that the seeds require to begin sprouting is perfect for Salmonella growth, and it is nearly impossible to remove. Because of this, it is advisable to stay away from raw sprouts completely, however, cooked sprouts are safe to eat.

Flesh from organ meat

A variety of vital elements, including iron, copper, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12, are found in organ meats and are beneficial to both you and your unborn child.

On the other hand, taking excessive amounts of preformed vitamin A in your pregnancy diet, particularly during the first trimester, might result in birth defects and miscarriage.

It is preferable to consume only a few ounces of meat per week, such as liver or kidney, even though this is largely linked to vitamin A supplements.

Processed foods

Foods that have undergone extensive processing usually have low nutritional value and high calorie, sugar, and added fat content, which can lead to weight gain. You must consume enough protein, folate, choline, and iron when you are pregnant. Additionally, gaining too much weight increases the risk of childhood obesity and delivery problems, even though some weight growth is important.

Continue eating meals and snacks that are high in protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and carbohydrates high in fiber, such as those found in whole grains, beans, and starchy vegetables. Discover some fresh approaches to including vegetables in your meals without compromising flavor.


Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate. Excessive caffeine use has been associated in studies with low birth weight, stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and a host of developmental problems.

Coffee enters the body rapidly and is readily absorbed via the placenta. Caffeine can accumulate in high amounts because newborns and their placentas lack the primary enzyme needed to digest the stimulant. It is advised to keep caffeine consumption during pregnancy to fewer than 200 mg per day.


Alcohol consumption during pregnancy raises the chance of stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, and pregnancy loss. The heart and brain are only two of the many areas of development that FAS can impact.

It’s advisable to abstain from alcohol completely in your pregnancy diet because there is no known safe amount to consume.

Smoothies and fruit juices

Fruit juices can be helpful if you choose pasteurized ones without any added sugar while you’re pregnant.

Raw juices, such as those squeezed at market stalls, could be contaminated with bacteria. If you’re in a restaurant, make sure to inquire about the ingredients beforehand as smoothies could also contain unpasteurized juice.

Tainted water for drinking

To prevent dehydration during pregnancy, it’s imperative to consume a lot of water. While the majority of tap water in the US is safe to drink, certain pollutants in dirty or contaminated water can be harmful to both you and your unborn child. The Environmental Protection Agency does not test water from private wells, thus this could harm you if you use it. If you are worried about the quality of your water, get in touch with your local environmental agency or health authority.

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