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Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy: The Must Avoid Ones And Why?


You are probably focused on handpicking healthful foods which could help you feel your best. It might also support your growing baby as you are eating for two. But it is vital to know what not to drink and eat while pregnant.

While your baby could benefit from the nutritious foods you are eating, a baby might be harmed by illness-causing germs in some meals.

When you are pregnant, it is recommended to err on the side of caution and also to stay away from any menu items which could make you ill or have an impact on your baby’s development and growth.

When you are pregnant, there are certain foods you should not eat as they might make you ill and also harm your developing baby.

Thankfully, determining what is safe and what is not is quite simple. Make sure you are aware of the critical facts related to foods you should avoid when you are pregnant.

Generally speaking, one of the best pregnancy tips for anyone could be that they consume dishes that have been prepared freshly or thoroughly cooked. In this article, we will look at some foods you should avoid if you are pregnant.

List Of Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Here are some foods to avoid during pregnancy:

  1. Mercury-Containing Food

    Mercury is a very poisonous substance. Mercury is most commonly found in contaminated water.

    It has no known safe rate of exposure. It could be quite hazardous to your kidneys, neurological system, and immunological system in huge doses.

    Mercury might also cause developmental issues in children at moderate doses with often negative consequences.

    Marine fish might accumulate huge quantities of mercury as it is often found in polluted seas.

    Therefore, it is advised to stay away from fish having high mercury while pregnant or during nursing.

    Avoid eating fish having high mercury, such as:

    • Tuna.
    • Swordfish
    • Shark.
    • Marlin.
    • King mackerel.
    • Orange roughy.
    • Tilefish.

    It is important to note that not every fish is high in mercury.

    Some of the varieties are only high. Fish having low mercury might be consumed up to two times per week during your pregnancy, according to the studies[1].

  2. Caffeine

    Limit your daily caffeine intake to fewer than 180 milligrams. This is roughly equivalent to one 10-ounce coffee cup.

    The amount of caffeine in coffee varies greatly depending on factors, such as the size of the cup, the brand you drink, and how it is brewed.

    Even though you might think of coffee cups as cups, they are not the same size.

    Check[2] the number of ounces in your cup, especially if you are buying tea or coffee.

    Several over-the-counter medicines, tea, chocolate, soda, and energy drinks contain caffeine.

    Decaffeinated coffee is a good alternative to regular coffee as it has a small amount of caffeine.

    To find out how much caffeine is in your medicine, food, or drink, read the labels.

    Having said all that, you might want to note that caffeine is also one of the food that you might want to avoid during breastfeeding.

  3. Uncooked Seafood

    Raw fish, such as shellfish, could spread several illnesses.

    Listeria, Salmonella, Vibrio, and Norovirus are some examples of parasitic, viral, and bacterial infections.

    These infections could impact you in such a way that it leaves you feeble and dehydrated.

    Different infections might be transmitted to your child, resulting in quite serious or deadly effects.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[3], pregnant ladies are up to five times more vulnerable than normal people to become infected with Listeria.

    Listeria infections are extremely dangerous for pregnant women.

    Hispanic pregnant ladies are 26 times more vulnerable to having a miscarriage.

    These Listeria bacteria are found in plants, soil, and contaminated water.

    During processing like drying or smoking, raw fish could turn contaminated.

    Though you do not display any symptoms of illness, listeria germs might be transferred to your child via your placenta.

    According to CDC, this could result in stillbirth, early birth, miscarriage, and different health issues.

    Shellfish and raw fish, and also sushi dishes, should be avoided at any cost. But do not worry.

    Once your baby is delivered and it is safer for you to eat again, you will appreciate it a lot more.

  4. Alcohol

    As no amount of alcohol drinking is regarded as safe during pregnancy, therefore alcohol should be avoided[4] throughout your entire pregnancy period.

    Prenatal alcohol exposure could have a huge negative impact on your child’s developmental stage.

    Alcohol consumption during pregnancy could cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or different abnormalities, depending on the pattern, time, and amount of usage.

  5. Raw Or Partially-Cooked Meats

    Undercooked meat has some of the same problems as raw fish.

    Several parasites and bacteria, such as Toxoplasma, Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria might infect you if you eat raw or undercooked meat.

    Bacteria could jeopardize your child’s health, resulting in stillbirth.

    It might also lead to severe neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, intellectual impairment, and blindness.

    While the majority of germs are located on the surface of complete chunks of meat, bacteria could also be discovered inside muscle fibers.

    Some whole cuts of meat, such as ribeye, tenderloins, or sirloins from veal, beef, and lamb might be safe to eat if not fully cooked.

    This is true only if the piece of meat is uncut or entire and locked on the outside.

    Undercooked or raw cut meat, such as poultry, minced meat, pig, beef patties, and burgers should never be consumed[5].

    So, for the time being, keep those burgers well done on the grill. Deli meat, hot dogs, and lunch meat are particularly problematic, which might be shocking to expectant mothers.

    Various germs might infect certain types of meat during storage and preparation.

    Processed meat items should not be consumed by pregnant women unless they have been reheated until they are boiling.

  6. Unpasteurized Juice

    Pasteurized juice is recommended[6] for pregnant women.

    Freshly squeezed juice sold in farm stands, restaurants, and juice bars might not have been pasteurized to protect against harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.

    In certain markets, unpasteurized and raw juice is sold. Look for the required warning notice and avoid it.

    On the supermarket shelf, juice in bottles is likewise safe.

  7. Raw Eggs

    Salmonella[7] is a bacteria that is found in raw eggs.

    Diarrhea, fever, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps are symptoms of salmonella infections.

    In rare circumstances, though, the infection might cause uterine cramping, which leads to a stillbirth or premature birth.

    Raw eggs are typically seen in the following foods:

    • Poached eggs.
    • Lightly scrambled eggs.
    • Homemade mayonnaise.
    • Hollandaise sauce.
    • Homemade ice cream.
    • Homemade cake icings.
    • Some homemade salad dressings.

    The majority of commercial raw egg products are manufactured with pasteurized eggs and therefore are safe to eat.

    However, you should always double-check the label.

    To be on the safe side, always use pasteurized eggs or thoroughly boil eggs.

    Save the very homemade mayonnaise and runny yolks for when the baby is born.

  8. Raw Sprouts

    Your healthy salad could contain rogue components as well.

    Salmonella might be present in raw sprouts like mung bean, clover, alfalfa, and radish.

    These bacteria usually thrive in a humid atmosphere which seeds require for sprouting, and they are nearly tough to get rid of.

    Therefore, raw sprouts should be avoided at any cost. Sprouts are safe to eat after being cooked, according to recommendations by the FDA.

  9. Fenugreek And Fennel Seeds

    Fenugreek and fennel seeds and diuretics are recommended for persons who want to reduce bloating.

    The concentration of amniotic fluid[8] might be disrupted if a pregnant woman loses water.

    The growing fetus is nourished by amniotic fluid, which also protects it from illnesses.

    Phytoestrogens in fenugreek seeds compress the uterine walls causing the uterine lining to shed.

    These seeds help to stimulate milk production and cleanse the uterus.

    Therefore, they might be consumed after birth. Fenugreek seeds also can trigger menstruation.

  10. Mold Ripened Soft Cheese

    Listeria contamination might be found in cheeses, such as brie and camembert.

    It is a type of bacteria that could cause infections in pregnant women and their kids which might be fatal.

    Soft cheeses, such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Brie, Feta, Camembert, and Mexican-style cheeses like Queso Fresco and Queso Blanco should be avoided.

    You might not consume them unless they are very clearly labeled as being manufactured from pasteurized milk.

    Listeria bacteria might be present in imported soft cheeses. It is okay to eat soft non-imported cheeses manufactured via pasteurized milk.

  11. Products Made With Refined Flour

    Always keep a safe distance from refined flour foods, such as pizza, spaghetti, bread, pastries, and noodles.

    Not only that, but you should avoid eating ready-made and packaged foods, such as sauces, pickles, and chutneys.

    Chemicals and preservatives in these meals could harm a developing baby.

    Constipation and bloating are common side effects of refined flour.

    While excreting, any strain on the womb might produce spotting or bleeding.

  12. Unwashed Vegetables And Fruits

    Vegetables and raw fruits should be thoroughly washed to remove any types of hazardous microorganisms.

    Mung bean, alfalfa, radish, and clover should be avoided as they contain bacteria that might cause sickness.

    Sprouts should always be properly cooked. You can know more about which food to avoid in your pregnancy from this governmental study.


People might become irritated by too much advice, and pregnant ladies are already high on hormones, so they might become irritable at times.

When kids ask questions like what is healthy and what is not, it comes in useful. Cherishing cravings for food is the highlight of any pregnancy.

However, not every appetite is tied to gender, and not every desire is bad. The foods on the list above are easy to avoid as they are not a staple of our diet.

Because of the potential of infection, street food should be left on the streets rather than consumed. Half of the battle is won if you follow this advice.

As pregnancy is such a delicate stage, listen to the advice of those around you.

Enjoy the period, but keep a watch out for Indian foods to avoid during pregnancy, as we already stated.

+8 Refrences/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Mercury in fish. Reviewed on: 12-01-2013. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/mercury-in-fish.
  2. Gleason, JL et al. Moderate daily caffeine intake during pregnancy may lead to smaller birth size. Thursday, March 25, 2021. Available from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/moderate-daily-caffeine-intake-during-pregnancy-may-lead-smaller-birth-size.
  3. Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases (DFWED). People at Risk – Pregnant Women and Newborns. Page last reviewed: December 12, 2016. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/risk-groups/pregnant-women.html.
  4. Alcohol and pregnancy. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007454.htm.
  5. Michelle A. Kominiarek, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Priya Rajan, MD, Assistant Professor. Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation. Med Clin North Am. 2016 Nov; 100(6): 1199–1215. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004.
  6. Michelle A. Kominiarek,Nutrition Recommendations in Pregnancy and Lactation Med Clin North Am. 2016 Nov; 100(6): 1199–1215.doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2016.06.004
  7. A R Scialli, T L Rarick. Salmonella sepsis and second-trimester pregnancy loss. Obstet Gynecol. 1992 May;79(5 ( Pt 2)):820-1. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1565377/.
  8. Courtney Keilman; Anthony L. Shanks. Oligohydramnios. Last Update: May 1, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562326/.

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