10 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy That You Should Know

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

You’ll find a wealth of resources online if you’re looking for advice on what to eat and avoid eating while pregnant.

Everyone has something to say about raising a child: seasoned moms, wiser women in their later years, and of course, the internet itself.

During pregnancy, your growing baby is sharing everything you eat and drink. As a result, you need to be aware of the good fruits and foods you need to consume during your pregnancy.

While some foods and some types of food poisoning may not affect you, they may harm your child.

Avoid eating food that has been out of the refrigerator for longer than two hours to prevent food poisoning (or more than one hour in hot weather).

Do not exceed 200 milligrams (mg) daily of caffeine (one 12-ounce cup of coffee). It’s also a good idea to abstain from drinking alcohol throughout pregnancy. One should also avoid these foods throughout pregnancy for your safety.

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnant women should focus on the following food types to get the most nutrients out of their diet: Lean protein, dairy products, and nutritious carbohydrates are all good options.

If you’re pregnant, you should consume an additional 300 calories every day. Women who are expecting a child require a larger intake of certain nutrients than non-pregnant women.

As a guide, a weekly pregnancy diet chart could help individuals determine which foods they should be eating while pregnant.

  1. Mercury-Rich Fish

    Mercury is a highly corrosive and poisonous metal. It has no known safe amount of exposure and is found most frequently in dirty water.

    It could be hazardous to the brain, immunological, and renal systems if consumed in high doses. Even at low doses, it may have detrimental impacts on children’s development.

    A huge marine fish could acquire a large amount of mercury because it lives in polluted waters.

    As a result, pregnant and nursing women should stay away from fish that are high in mercury. Check out this trusted source to know more about the mercury level in fish.

    Fish with a high mercury content include shark, swordfish, marlin tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico king mackerel tuna (particularly bigeye tuna) as well as orange roughy.

    It’s crucial to keep in mind that not all fish are high in mercury, though. Low-mercury fish may be eaten up to three times per week during pregnancy, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  1. Avoid Organ Meats

    Various nutrients could be found in organ meat, which is a good source of protein. Iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and copper are just a few of the essential nutrients that are excellent for both you and your unborn child.

    Vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) from animal sources is not suggested for pregnant women to consume excessive amounts.

    There is a risk of congenital abnormalities and miscarriage when pregnant women ingest too much-preformed vitamin A.

    Organ meats, such as liver, should only be consumed once a week, even if vitamin A supplements are commonly connected with this recommendation.

  1. Avoid Unwashed Produce

    Several different bacteria and parasites may be found on fruits and vegetables that have not been thoroughly cleaned or peeled.

    Among these are E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria bacteria, which could all be picked up through the soil or by touching it.

    Production, harvest, processing, storage, transit, and retail are all possible points of contamination.

    Insects like Toxoplasma may be found on fruits and vegetables. Toxoplasmosis usually has no symptoms, however, some people may experience flu-like symptoms for up to a month or more after contracting the disease.

    Few signs in newborns have been exposed to the Toxoplasma bacteria during pregnancy.

    Blindness or intellectual disability, for example, may not appear until later in life for a variety of different reasons.

  1. Excessive Consumption Of Caffeine Should be Avoided

    As far as we know, caffeine does not affect the unborn child if consumption is limited.

    A caffeine intake that offers more than 200milligramss (mg) per day during pregnancy is generally considered safe by health care professionals.

    An 8-ounce (240-mL) cup of brewed coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine, an 8-ounce (240-mL) cup of brewed tea contains about 47 mg, and a 12-ounce (360-mL) caffeinated cola contains about 33 mg.

    If you want to know more about caffeine side effects during pregnancy then click here.

  1. Avoid Alcohol

    When it comes to pregnant women, no amount of alcoholizing is safe at all. Avoiding alcohol is the best option. Consider the dangers.

    Miscarriage and stillbirth are more likely when a woman consumes alcohol while she’s expecting.

    Facial abnormalities and intellectual incapacity are both possible outcomes of excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

    This condition is known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Consult your doctor if you’re worried about the alcohol you drank before finding out you were pregnant or if you’re having trouble quitting drinking.

  1. Avoid Cold-Cured Meats

    Salami, parma ham, chorizo, and pepperoni are examples of cold-cured meats.

    A slight risk of listeria or the Toxoplasma parasite that causes toxoplasmosis may be found in cold-cured meats and fish that have been smoked or cured in the refrigerator.

    Deli and sandwich shops’ cold cuts; pre-packaged sliced meats; and cold cooked and sliced ready-to-eat chicken (whole, portions, or diced) should be avoided.

  1. Avoid Uncooked Or Partially Cooked Eggs

    You should cook your egg whites and yolks until they are firm. Salmonella food poisoning could be prevented by this.

    Don’t eat dishes like homemade mayonnaise that include raw or undercooked eggs.

    The pasteurized liquid eggs may be used in dishes that call for raw or partially cooked eggs. Don’t use eggs that have been damaged or are otherwise unclean.

  1. Avoid Unwashed Vegetables and Fruits

    It’s usually a good idea to rinse produce before eating, but it’s especially crucial to do so with raw fruits and vegetables these days.

    When a fruit or vegetable is chopped, juiced, or peeled, harmful germs like Listeria, Salmonella, or E. coli could easily spread to the internal meat of the food.

    However, there is no need to use a specific produce-cleaning spray.

  1. Pre-Made Deli Salads Should be Avoided

    Keep an eye out for Listeria in your local deli case and at the neighborhood sandwich shop till further notice.

    Making your own at home is quite acceptable, however. Choose reduced-mercury tuna such as Skip Jack instead of regular tuna to keep mercury levels low.

  1. Raw Sprouts

    It’s also possible that the healthy salad you’ve chosen contains errant elements. There is a risk of Salmonella contamination in raw sprouts, such as alfalfa and clover.

    Seed sprouting necessitates a humid atmosphere, which is perfect for the growth of these bacteria, which are nearly impossible to remove.

    As a result, raw sprouts should be avoided at all costs. Sprouts on the other hand, according to the FDA, are safe once cooked.

What And How Much Pregnant Women Should Eat?

Give yourself and your baby the nutrition they need by eating a variety of foods. It’s not that different from a normal healthy eating plan – just a little more extreme.

In reality, current advice suggests that you eat normally for the first semester, then increase your daily caloric intake by 350 calories in the second trimester and by 450 calories in the third trimester as your baby grows.

Check out this trusted source to know more about nutrition during pregnancy. Stay away from meals that have been highly processed, and do it as often as possible.

The same may be said for drinks and chips, both of which have no nutritional benefit. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, beans, or lentils, are better for you and your newborn than processed or frozen options.

However, this does not imply that you must forgo all of your favorite foods when pregnant. Balance them out with nutrient-dense fare to avoid depleting your body of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Why Is A Healthy Diet Mandatory For Pregnant Women And Her Unborn Child?

In addition to supporting your health, your diet during pregnancy provides your baby with the nutrition it needs to thrive.

It is generally recommended that women who are pregnant consume a diet rich in nutrients and light on the three S’s (sugar, salt, and saturated fats). This trusted source says the same. 

If you gain too much or too little weight during your pregnancy, you and your baby are at risk of developing health issues.

The mother’s pre-pregnancy weight determines how much she could safely increase during her pregnancy. BMI is a reliable predictor of how much weight a woman should acquire during pregnancy, and research backs this up.

You may meet your nutritional demands throughout pregnancy by eating a well-balanced diet. Pregnant women should pay attention to foods with higher concentrations of certain nutrients.


Bacteria-causing bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli could be found in several foods. At the same time, your immune system is less able to defend you against pathogens while you’re pregnant.

These two factors increase the risk of issues like miscarriage and early birth if you ingest something that is contaminated while pregnant.

An even greater source of concern is the possibility of bacteria that cause foodborne illness traveling into the placenta during pregnancy. 

Since your baby’s immune system is still developing, she is in danger of acquiring a serious infection or possibly birth abnormalities as a result of the germs she is in contact with.