14 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Why Are There Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?

There are many foods to avoid during pregnancy. According to medical experts, certain foods can be dangerous for both your health and the health of your unborn baby. Because a woman's immune system changes during pregnancy, you are much more likely to become sick as a result of pathogens in food.


Listeriosis is caused by the bacteria listeria monocytogenes. It is very dangerous during pregnancy. Listeriosis infection presents with flu-like symptoms but can easily progress to meningitis and blood infections. If your fetus becomes infected, it may lead to premature birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

The following are foods to avoid during pregnancy to reduce the risk of listeriosis infection:

  • Raw and undercooked meats
  • Hot dogs unless they are reheated to steaming
  • Luncheon meats including deli meats like turkey, salami, ham and bologna unless reheated to steaming
  • Soft cheeses like Feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheeses like 'queso blanco fresco' (Hard cheeses and semi-soft cheeses, pasteurized cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese are all fine.)
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads (Canned or shelf stable pate and meat spreads are fine.)
  • Refrigerated smoked salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna and mackerel. (Canned fish or shelf stable smoked seafood can be safely eaten.)
  • Raw unpasteurized milk or foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

E-Coli and Salmonella

E-Coli and salmonella cause food poisoning. The vomitting and diarrhea that occur with food poisioning can lead to more serious complications such as dehydration. If you're worried you have food poisoning, you should contact your care provider immediately.Foods to avoid during pregnancy to prevent food poisioning include:

  • Raw vegetable sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, and radish
  • Unpasteruized fruit and vegetable juices
  • Fish and shellfish from coastal waters (They are more prone to bacterial contamination and must be fully cooked before ingested.)

You should also avoid ingesting any raw meat juices when cooking foods and clean fruits or vegetables with warm water.

Methyl Mercury

Methyl mercury is caused by environmental pollution. Mercury is released into the environment through industrial pollution. Methyl mercury can cause infant death, cerebral palsy, birth defects, and developmental delays.

Fish carry methyl mercury. While small fish with short life spans contain can be safely eaten by pregnant women, fish with longer life spans are not safe. Fish with longer life spans are:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish

Other fish should be limited to twelve ounces a week. If you enjoy canned tuna, limit your intake to six ounces a week. Avoid fish from local waters unless they have been safely evaluated.


Toxoplasmosis is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It may be transmitted via raw or undercooked meats or in cat fecal matter. Toxoplasmosis causes mild, flu-like symptoms in pregnant women. There is 30-40 percent chance she will pass the infection to her baby. Infection in babies can lead to visual, hearing, or central nervous system problems.

To avoid toxoplasmosis:

  • Make sure you fully cook all meat
  • Try not to eat rare or medium-rare steak or hamburger
  • Avoid ingesting any raw meat juices when cooking foods

In Conclusion

Knowing what foods to avoid during pregnancy can help keep you healthy and prevent serious complications that can complicate the rest of your baby's life.

14 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy