Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Posted On: 09-02-2015
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Although most foods are safe to eat during pregnancy, there are some that need to be avoided in order to keep both mom and baby safe. Making sure to steer clear of unsafe foods is one of many aspects of a healthy pregnancy, which also includes increased calorie intake, prenatal care, plenty of sleep, and more.


Some types of fish are safe to have during pregnancy, like salmon and tilapia. But other kinds of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can contribute to brain development issues for the baby. Fish with high levels of mercury that should be avoided include mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, and shark. Even canned tuna has some mercury and should only be eaten in moderation.

Smoked seafood should also be avoided. This encompasses fish that you would find in the deli section of the grocery store. It comes refrigerated and might be labeled kippered, jerky, or lox. Having smoked seafood that has not been cooked carries a risk of listeria, a dangerous bacterium that can cross the placenta and infect the baby.

Before enjoying any fish from your area, you should contact the health department or the Environmental Protection Agency. Eating fish from contaminated rivers or lakes can be dangerous. Fish sold in the grocery store is likely fine.


All meat that you eat while pregnant should be cooked thoroughly. Eating undercooked meat, such as poultry or beef, can carry the risk of different types of food poisoning. Uncooked fish, like sushi and shellfish, should be avoided for the same reason. Deli meat can be contaminated with listeria as well. Avoid deli meat unless you are able to heat it up until it is steaming, to kill any dangerous bacteria.


Raw eggs carry the risk of salmonella exposure. Avoid eating raw eggs or consuming any products that have raw eggs as an ingredient, such as mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing, and homemade custard or ice cream. Products that use pasteurized eggs or are cooked thoroughly at some point during production are not dangerous. Most restaurants use pasteurized eggs in their dishes.


Avoid unpasteurized milk, due to listeria risk. Check labels of the milk that you purchase to make sure that it is pasteurized. Soft cheeses that are imported should also be avoided because of listeria. This includes feta, gorgonzola, and brie. Look for labels of soft cheeses to see if they indicate that they are made from pasteurized milk. If they are, they are safe to eat. 

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