One of the first things people learn when they’re pregnant is what they can’t eat. It can be a real bummer if you’re a big sushi, coffee, or rare steak fan.
Thankfully, there’s more you can eat than what you can’t. You just have to learn how to navigate the waters (the low mercury waters, that is). You’ll want to pay close attention to what you eat and drink to stay healthy .
Certain foods should only be consumed rarely, while others should be avoided completely. Here are 11 foods and beverages to avoid or minimize while pregnant.
Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe level of exposure and is most commonly found in polluted water.
In higher amounts, it can be toxic to your nervous system, immune system, and kidneys. It may also cause serious developmental problems in children, with adverse effects even in lower amounts.
Since it’s found in polluted seas, large marine fish can accumulate high amounts of mercury. Therefore, it’s best to avoid high mercury fish while pregnant and breastfeeding.
High-mercury fish you want to avoid include:
tuna (especially bigeye tuna)
tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
However, it’s important to note that not all fish are high in mercury — just certain types.
Consuming low mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to three times per week, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Low mercury fish are plentiful and include:
Fatty fish like salmon and anchovies are especially good options, as they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby.
This one will be tough for you sushi fans, but it’s an important one. Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, such as norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella, and Listeria.
Some of these infections may only affect you, causing dehydration and weakness. Other infections may be passed on to your baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences.
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria infections. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are up to 10 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population. Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more at risk.
This bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying.
Listeria bacteria can be passed to your baby through the placenta, even if you’re not showing any signs of illness. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other serious health problems, according to the CDC.
It’s definitely advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish, including many sushi dishes. But don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it that much more after baby is born and it’s safer to eat again.
Some of the same issues with raw fish affect undercooked meat, too. Eating undercooked or raw meat increases your risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
Bacteria may threaten the health of your little one, possibly leading to stillbirth or severe neurological illnesses, including intellectual disability, blindness, and epilepsy.
While most bacteria are found on the surface of whole pieces of meat, other bacteria may linger inside the muscle fibers.
Some whole cuts of meat — such as tenderloins, sirloins, or ribeye from beef, lamb and veal — may be safe to consume when not cooked all the way through. However, this only applies when the piece of meat is whole or uncut, and completely cooked on the outside.
Cut meat, including meat patties, burgers, minced meat, pork, and poultry, should never be consumed raw or undercooked. So keep those burgers on the grill well done for now.
Hot dogs, lunch meat, and deli meat are also of concern, which is sometimes surprising to pregnant people. These types of meat may become infected with various bacteria during processing or storage.
Pregnant women should not consume processed meat products unless they’ve been reheated until steaming hot.
Raw eggs can be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria.
Symptoms of salmonella infections include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
However, in rare cases, the infection may cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth.
Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:
lightly scrambled eggs
some homemade salad dressings
homemade ice cream
homemade cake icings
Most commercial products that contain raw eggs are made with pasteurized eggs and are safe to consume. However, you should always read the label to make sure.
To be on the safe side, make sure to always cook eggs thoroughly or use pasteurized eggs. Save those super runny yolks and homemade mayo until after baby makes their debut.
Organ meat is a great source of a variety of nutrients.
These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and copper — all of which are good for you and baby. However, eating too much animal-based vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) is not recommended during pregnancy.
Consuming too much preformed vitamin A, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, can lead to congenital malformations and miscarriage.
Although this is mostly associated with vitamin A supplements, it’s best to keep your consumption of organ meats like liver to just a few ounces once per week.
You may be one of the millions of folks who love their daily cups of coffee, tea, soft drinks, or cocoa. You’re definitely not alone when it comes to our love of caffeine.
Pregnant people are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Caffeine is absorbed very quickly and passes easily into the placenta. Because babies and their placentas don’t have the main enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine, high levels can build up.
High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery.
Low birth weight — defined as less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. (or 2.5 kg) — is associated with an increased risk of infant death and a higher risk of chronic diseases in adulthood.
So keep an eye on your daily cup of joe or soda to make sure baby doesn’t have exposure to too much caffeine.
Your healthy salad choice may not be free from rogue ingredients, either. Raw sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts, may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The humid environment required by seeds to start sprouting is ideal for these kinds of bacteria, and they’re almost impossible to wash off.
For this reason, you’re advised to avoid raw sprouts altogether. However, sprouts are safe to consume after they have been cooked, according to the FDA.
The surface of unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with several bacteria and parasites.
These include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, which can be acquired from the soil or through handling.
Contamination can occur at any time during production, harvest, processing, storage, transportation, or retail. One dangerous parasite that may linger on fruits and vegetables is called Toxoplasma.
The majority of people who get toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, while others may feel like they have the flu for a month or more.
Most infants who are infected with the Toxoplasma bacteria while still in the womb have no symptoms at birth. However, symptoms such as blindness or intellectual disabilities may develop later in life.
What’s more, a small percentage of infected newborns have serious eye or brain damage at birth.
While you’re pregnant, it’s very important to minimize the risk of infection by thoroughly washing with water, peeling, or cooking fruits and vegetables. Keep it up as a good habit after baby arrives, too.
Raw milk, unpasteurized cheese, and soft-ripened cheeses can contain an array of harmful bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. (These are probably sounding familiar by now.)
The same goes for unpasteurized juice, which is also prone to bacterial contamination. These infections can all have life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby.
The bacteria can be naturally occurring or caused by contamination during collection or storage. Pasteurization is the most effective way to kill any harmful bacteria, without changing the nutritional value of the products.
To minimize the risk of infections, eat only pasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice.
It’s advised to completely avoid drinking alcohol when pregnant, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disability.
Since no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it’s recommended to avoid it altogether.
There’s no better time than pregnancy to start eating nutrient-dense foods to help both you and your growing little one. You’ll need increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein, folate, choline, and iron.
It’s also a myth that you’re “eating for two.” You can eat as you normally do during the first semester, then increase by about 350 calories per day in your second trimester, and about 450 calories per day in your third trimester.
An optimal pregnancy eating plan should mainly consist of whole foods, with plenty of nutrients to fulfill yours and baby’s needs. Processed junk food is generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar, and added fats.
While some weight gain is necessary during pregnancy, excess weight gain has been linked to many complications and diseases. These include an increased risk of gestational diabetes, as well as pregnancy or birth complications.
Stick to meals and snacks that focus on protein, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, and starchy vegetables. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways to sneak veggies into your meals without sacrificing taste.
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to avoid foods and beverages that may put you and your baby at risk.
Although most foods and beverages are perfectly safe to enjoy, some, like raw fish, unpasteurized dairy, alcohol, and high mercury fish, should be avoided.
Plus, some foods and beverages like coffee and foods high in added sugar, should be limited in order to promote a healthy pregnancy.
If you want to learn more about what foods you should eat during pregnancy, check out this article: Healthy Eating During Pregnancy.
Quick tips for foods to avoid when pregnant
Avoid high-mercury fish including shark, swordfish, tuna, and marlin.
Raw fish and shellfish can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Some of these can cause adverse health effects and harm both you and baby.
Raw or undercooked meat may contain harmful bacteria. As a general rule, meat should be cooked all the way through.
Raw eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella, and may put you and your baby at risk. Be sure to thoroughly cook eggs before eating.
Organ meat is a great source of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper. To prevent consuming too much vitamin A limit your intake of organ meat to a few ounces once a week.
Limit caffeine intake to under 200 mg per day, which is about 2 to 3 cups of coffee. High caffeine intake during pregnancy may limit baby’s growth and cause low birth weight.
Raw sprouts may be contaminated with bacteria. Only eat them thoroughly cooked.
Fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with harmful bacteria, including Toxoplasma. It’s important to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables with plenty of clean water.
Don’t consume unpasteurized milk, cheese, or fruit juice, as these foods increase the risk of bacterial infections.
Avoid all alcohol. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Eating processed foods during pregnancy can increase your risk of excess weight gain, gestational diabetes, and complications. This can have long-term health implications for you and your child.
Foods to avoid in pregnancy
Most foods and drinks are safe to have during pregnancy. But there are some things you should be careful with or avoid.
Cheese, milk and other dairy
What you can eat
pasteurised or unpasteurised hard cheeses, such as cheddar, Gruyere and parmesan
pasteurised semi-hard cheeses, such as Edam and Stilton
pasteurised soft cheeses, such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, paneer, ricotta, halloumi, goats' cheese without a white coating on the outside (rind) and processed cheese spreads
soft or blue cheese (pasteurised or unpasteurised) that has been cooked until steaming hot
pasteurised milk, yoghurt, cream and ice cream
What to avoid
any other foods made from unpasteurised milk, such as soft ripened goats' cheese
pasteurised or unpasteurised mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating on the outside, such as Brie, Camembert and chèvre (unless cooked until steaming hot)
pasteurised or unpasteurised soft blue cheeses, such as Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort (unless cooked until steaming hot)
unpasteurised cows' milk, goats' milk, sheep's milk or cream
There's a small chance that unpasteurised or soft ripened dairy products may contain Listeria bacteria. This can cause an infection called listeriosis.
Listeriosis can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, or make your newborn baby very unwell.
Soft cheeses with a white coating on the outside have more moisture. This can make it easier for bacteria to grow.
Cooking cheese until it's steaming hot kills bacteria, reducing the risk of listeriosis.
Meat and poultry
What you can eat
meats such as chicken, pork and beef, as long as they're well-cooked with no trace of pink or blood; be especially careful with poultry, pork, sausages and burgers
cold, pre-packed meats such as ham and corned beef
What to be careful with
cold cured meats, such as salami, pepperoni, chorizo and prosciutto (unless cooked thoroughly)
What to avoid
raw or undercooked meat
liver and liver products
all types of pâté, including vegetarian pâté
game meats such as goose, partridge or pheasant
There's a small risk of getting toxoplasmosis if you eat raw and undercooked meat, which can cause miscarriage.
Cured meats are not cooked, so they may have parasites in them that cause toxoplasmosis.
Liver and liver products have lots of vitamin A in them. This can be harmful to an unborn baby.
Game meats may contain lead shot.
What you can eat
raw, partially cooked and fully cooked British Lion hen eggs (they have a lion stamp on them) and hen eggs produced under the Laid in Britain scheme
foods made with raw hen egg, such as mousse and mayonnaise, if made with British Lion eggs or hen eggs produced under the Laid in Britain scheme
well cooked eggs (white and yolk) from any hen eggs that are not British Lion eggs or produced under the Laid in Britain scheme
well cooked eggs (white and yolk) of all other eggs, including duck, goose or quail
What to avoid
raw or partially cooked hen eggs that are not British Lion or produced under the Laid in Britain scheme
raw or partially cooked duck, goose or quail eggs
British Lion hen eggs and hen eggs produced under the Laid in Britain scheme are less likely to have salmonella in them.
Salmonella is unlikely to harm your unborn baby, but you could get food poisoning.
You should cook all eggs thoroughly, unless they are British Lion hen eggs or hen eggs produced under the Laid in Britain scheme.
What you can eat
cooked fish and seafood
sushi, as long as the fish has been cooked thoroughly
cooked shellfish, such as mussels, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and clams
cold pre-cooked prawns
What to be careful with
smoked fish, such as smoked salmon and trout
Smoked fish and listeria
Due to a listeria outbreak linked to smoked fish, people at higher risk of serious infection (including people who are pregnant) should only eat smoked fish products that have been thoroughly cooked.
When cooking smoked fish products at home, make sure they are steaming hot all the way through.
Find out more about the listeria outbreak in smoked fish from the Food Standards Agency
What to limit
you should eat no more than 2 portions of oily fish a week, such as salmon, trout, mackerel or herring
you should eat no more than 2 tuna steaks (about 140g cooked or 170g raw) or 4 medium-size cans of tuna (about 140g when drained) per week
Tuna does not count as an oily fish
You can have 2 tuna steaks, or 4 medium-size cans of fish, as well as 2 portions of oily fish.
What to avoid
You should limit tuna because it has more mercury in it than other fish. If you eat too much mercury, it can be harmful to your unborn baby.
You should limit oily fish because they can have pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls in them. If you eat too much of these, they can be harmful to your unborn baby.
You should avoid raw shellfish because they can have harmful bacteria, viruses or toxins in them. These can make you unwell and give you food poisoning.
Other foods and drinks
You can have caffeine, but no more than 200mg per day.
100mg in a mug of instant coffee
140mg in a mug of filter coffee
75mg in a mug of tea (green tea can have the same amount of caffeine as regular tea)
40mg in a can of cola
80mg in a 250ml can of energy drink
less than 25mg in a 50g bar of plain dark chocolate
less than 10mg in a 50g bar of plain milk chocolate
Drinking alcohol in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to your baby.
If you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant, the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all.
This keeps risks to your baby to a minimum.
You should drink no more than 4 cups of herbal tea a day.
Liquorice is safe to eat. But you should avoid liquorice root.
Fruits, vegetables and salads
Be careful with fruits, vegetables and salads as they can have soil on them, which can make you unwell.
Make sure to thoroughly wash all fruits, vegetables and salad ingredients.
You do not need to avoid eating peanuts when you're pregnant.
Only avoid eating peanuts if you're advised to by a healthcare professional or if you have a nut allergy.
Do not take high-dose multivitamin supplements, or any supplements with vitamin A in them.
Urgent advice: Call 111 if:
you feel unwell after eating one of the foods to avoid
you have signs of listeriosis or toxoplasmosis infection
Try not to worry if you've eaten one of the foods to avoid.
Get Start4Life pregnancy and baby emails
Sign up for Start4Life's weekly emails for expert advice, videos and tips on pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Page last reviewed: 16 April 2020 Next review due: 16 April 2023
Things to avoid during pregnancy
Write to WhatsApp
July 24, 2019
Obstetrician-gynecologist, Doctor of the highest category
Author: obstetrician-gynecologist, head of the EMC postpartum department Inna Alekseeva
The Internet is full of information from the series "in order not to provoke a miscarriage and abnormal development of the fetus, pregnant women are prohibited . ..". What follows is usually a long list.
We are for a modern approach. Let's be honest: not everything that is "strictly prohibited" is really strictly prohibited. It would be correct to say "not recommended".
However, we pay attention: if the pregnancy is complicated, the expectant mother really needs to strictly adhere to many recommendations.
In any case, pregnancy should be under the close supervision of an obstetrician-gynecologist and only he can allow or prohibit anything to be done by a pregnant woman.
We will take a general look at some of the "strict prohibitions".
Do not dye your hair. You really shouldn't do this if you are going to dye your hair for the first time during pregnancy or use a new paint that has not been used before. You do not know how the body will react to the substances that make up the paint. There may be an allergy to one or another component, for example. However, if you use a proven, which is very important, high-quality paint and did not notice any reactions, the new color of your hair will not affect pregnancy.
X-ray studies. Irradiation can indeed affect actively developing fetal cells. Therefore, if possible, such a diagnosis is better for pregnant women to avoid. However, there are acute situations when emergency care is required and when an x-ray is simply necessary, because. no other research method can be as informative. Fortunately, in modern X-ray machines, radiation exposure is minimized, and the use of reliable protective equipment allows you not to worry about the course of pregnancy.
Active sports. Active sports, incl. extreme, dangerous with injuries, so it is recommended to pause during pregnancy. And in general, it is recommended to reduce physical activity, even if you are a professional athlete and sport is life for you. However, do not completely abandon physical activity. Fitness, swimming, walking are useful for pregnant women.
Flights. Flights are not desirable in the first trimester - because of the likelihood of complication of toxicosis and highly undesirable in the later stages. After 36 weeks, the body begins to actively prepare for childbirth, so problems may arise due to pressure drops. The second trimester is the safest for flying. It is recommended that pregnant women fly in compression stockings and consume plenty of fluids during the flight.
Cosmetic procedures. You need to give up the "heavy artillery": injection procedures, hardware procedures, such as cryolipolysis, LPG, etc., deep peels. Light care procedures, manual facial massages, superficial peels can be done.
Blue cheese. There is mold right and wrong. Correct, as a rule, blue in color - refers to the penicillin group. Good quality cheeses with such mold can be eaten by pregnant women, of course, like everyone else, in moderation. But the wrong mold, gray, black - can really be dangerous.
Once again, every pregnancy is unique. What is good for one expectant mother may not be good for another, and vice versa. Therefore, the recommendations are relative, and in each case the prohibitions are different. If you are in any doubt, be sure to consult your obstetrician-gynecologist. He will give you recommendations based on the characteristics of the course of your pregnancy and your health.
Average: 5.00 (2 ratings)
Write to WhatsApp
Birth History: Placenta Increta
If you are told that terminating your pregnancy is the best decision, seek a second opinion. Sometimes it helps to save a whole life - the life of an unborn baby. This was the case with our patient.
October 15, 2022
What Not to Eat During Pregnancy
Your body works like a finely tuned machine to support a growing fetus, but a healthy and balanced diet (and avoiding certain foods) can help Mother Nature do her job even better. So, how is the nutrition of pregnant women different from the usual proper nutrition? What exactly should you be eating? Many pregnant women also wonder what foods to avoid and what not to eat during pregnancy. Here you will find answers to your questions, as well as practical advice on nutrition during pregnancy.
We are always ready to help you with advice, but remember that each woman's pregnancy is different, so our advice cannot replace the advice of a doctor. Contact your doctor to discuss any individual changes to your diet.
What not to eat during pregnancy
The good news is that healthy eating during pregnancy is very similar to healthy eating for non-pregnant women. You should eat regularly and try to eat mostly natural foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Also, try to limit high-sugar and processed foods in your diet.
For safety reasons, avoid raw or undercooked meat, liver, raw fish sushi, raw eggs, soft cheeses, and unpasteurized milk and juices. Below you will find more information on some foods that should not be consumed during pregnancy: 1 2 3
mercury content, which include marlin, swordfish, king mackerel, mackerel, shark, tuna and tilefish. Only canned light tuna is allowed in moderation.
To the dismay of all sushi lovers, raw fish, shellfish and crustaceans are also among the foods that are highly undesirable during pregnancy, as they may contain bacteria or even parasites. Smoked seafood should also be excluded from the diet.
Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk Soft cheeses such as feta, brie, dorblu and camembert are also on the list of foods that pregnant women should avoid. Because these cheeses are made from raw milk, they can be contaminated with Listeria. 4 Rule of thumb: look for the label that says the product is pasteurized!
Unpasteurized milk and juices The same rules apply to milk and juices. Freshly squeezed juice or any unpasteurized juice may contain disease-causing bacteria (E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella) 5 , so these products should not be consumed during pregnancy.
Raw eggs Raw eggs or foods that contain raw or semi-raw eggs should also be on your pregnancy avoid list: muffin mix, cookie dough, soft-boiled eggs, and fried eggs. Also be aware of foods that may contain half-baked eggs, such as salads, condiments, scrambled eggs, and ice cream. During pregnancy, it is necessary to consume only those eggs that have been heat-treated until fully cooked.
Semi-cooked or raw meat and poultry Semi-cooked or raw meat may contain listeria. During pregnancy, be careful to avoid such deli meats, or steam the meat until it is fully cooked. Cold meat pâtés are also prohibited. As for sliced meat, make sure that it has been heat-treated until it is fully cooked before eating it.
Raw or semi-cooked foods of plant origin Eating raw vegetables, fruits, berries, lettuce, legumes, root vegetables, etc. carries the risk of food poisoning and should be thoroughly washed or cooked before consumption to reduce the risk of bacterial growth . Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy0003
Pre-cooked fresh minced meat Be careful when eating pre-cooked fresh minced meat. If you decide to buy a whole stuffed bird, you need to buy it frozen and do not defrost before cooking. Bacteria can grow in fresh meat in combination with stuffing. 7
Sweets, carbohydrate-rich foods, fast food While there is no conclusive scientific evidence, sweets, fast food, and foods high in fat and carbohydrates are commonly on the list of foods that expectant mothers crave to eat. If you have an overwhelming craving for certain foods during pregnancy, try choosing healthier options. Can't imagine a meal without french fries? Fry foods in little or no oil with the Airfryer Airfryer, a healthy alternative that lets you enjoy delicious fried food at 9% less0%*fat content. You must remember that a balanced, healthy diet is important for maintaining your health and the health of your unborn baby.
Excess caffeine During pregnancy, restrictions are placed not only on food, but also on drinks, among which caffeinated drinks should be avoided. Remember that caffeine is found not only in coffee, but also in drinks such as tea, cocoa, cola.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that “women with daily high caffeine intake (more than 300 mg per day) reduce their daily intake during pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight.” 8
After the birth of a child, the diet of a nursing mother is no less important than during pregnancy. Watch a webinar from a Philips Avent expert on nutrition during this period:
Healthy nutrition for expectant mothers
Pregnancy is a period of intensive growth and development of your unborn child, as well as a time of many physiological changes in the mother's body, so the nutrition of a pregnant woman should contribute in every possible way to the success of passing this path. It's a good idea to discuss this with your doctor so you can make sure you're getting enough of the right nutrients. Here are some key tips for a healthy, balanced diet during pregnancy:
Eat whole grains such as whole grain bread and pasta; Choose lean meat or poultry and aim for 225-350 grams of boiled fish per week (remember to choose low-mercury fish).
Your diet should include five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, protein foods, and dairy products. 9 Have half your plate of fruits and vegetables and the other half whole grains.
And the easiest way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to make smoothies. Now there is a huge variety of recipes, and Philips blenders will help you cook them quickly and achieve the most delicate texture. Make new recipes from your favorite foods and add greens and nuts to them.
Talk to your doctor about your diet, vitamin supplements, and other pregnancy medications, such as folic acid and iron supplements.