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Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Posted in Our Blog on August 17, 2023

Food is so tempting when you are pregnant. Those food cravings make things even more intense sometimes. Both times I was pregnant the holidays were in the equation. I knew that after speaking to my doctors that some things were just not possible to eat while carrying our boys no matter how much I wanted them.

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

So, what things should you avoid eating while pregnant? We want to touch on several:

  • High Mercury Fish



king mackerel

tuna (especially bigeye tuna)


tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico

orange roughy

Low mercury fish can be consumed up to 3 times per week and those include:

  • anchovies
  • cod
  • flounder
  • haddock
  • salmon
  • tilapia
  • trout (freshwater)

Undercooked or Raw Fish

Do you love sushi? Well I do too but definitely the raw versions should be avoided while pregnant.

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. The CDC says that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to become infected with Listeria than the general population.

Undercooked Raw or Processed Meats

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

I know many people love their eggs sunny side up but that is a no no while pregnant. Raw eggs include Salmonella which no one wants as a part of their breakfast.

Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:

  • lightly scrambled eggs
  • poached eggs
  • hollandaise sauce
  • homemade mayonnaise
  • some homemade salad dressings
  • homemade ice cream
  • homemade cake icings

Organ Meat

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.


I truly missed drinking Dr Pepper non stop while pregnant but I knew it wasn’t good for the baby. 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.

Raw Sprouts

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.

Unwashed Produce

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.

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.

Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice

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.


While this may be pretty common knowledge during pregnancy alcohol is not advised at all. Fetal alcohol syndrome and many other effects can happen due to alcohol consumption while pregnant.


No matter what you read online or from any source it is always best to consult with your own doctor about the dos and don’ts of pregnancy when it comes to food consumption. The end goal is bringing a happy and healthy baby into the world and a proper diet while pregnant is a key factor.

The best judge of what works best for you is your care provider and they know best on a case by case basis when it comes to nutrition.