When you learn you are pregnant, one of the most common questions that may come to your mind is what food should a pregnant woman avoid. There are certain foods that pregnant women should stop eating because ingredients of those foods can harm the mother as well as the growing baby. That does not mean you have to change your diet completely. You just have to learn to eat in moderation and avoid only a few things.

Below is a list of foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy list

Undercooked or raw meat

Undercooked and raw meat can have parasites and pathogens on the surface and inside the muscle fiber. The common examples of such microbes include E.coli, Salmonella, and Toxoplasma. These microbes are not only dangerous for you, but they also threaten the health of your baby.

They can cause epilepsy, stillbirth, and some neurological problems in the child. In order to avoid such issues, it is best to consume correctly cooked meat. You should also be careful while eating deli meat and hotdog. They can get infected during processing.

Fish that contain higher levels of mercury

Mercury is one of the toxic elements that can damage kidneys, immune system, and nervous system when consumed in higher amounts. It can also cause developmental issues in infants. That is why it is important to make sure you avoid high-mercury fish like shark, marlin, swordfish, tuna, and king mackerel when you are pregnant.

However, you should know that eating low-mercury fish is beneficial for pregnant women. You can consume low-mercury fish like trout, salmon, cod, flounder, and tilapia thrice a week.

Related Post: 20 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

Liver and liver products

Liver and liver products like sausages have many healthy nutrients that are required for the healthy growth of an infant. Despite that, it is still advised to reduce their consumption during pregnancy, especially when going through the first trimester. The reason is the high levels of animal-based vitamin A also called preformed vitamin A.

Taking animal-based vitamin A in high amounts can cause miscarriage and congenital malformations. So, reduce the intake of liver and other forms of organ meat when you are pregnant.

Raw eggs

Raw eggs can have Salmonella bacteria which can cause Salmonella infections. Symptoms of these infections include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. In severe cases, these infections can induce uterus cramps which lead to premature birth. So you should always cook eggs thoroughly before consuming them.

Homemade ice cream, poached egg, homemade mayonnaise, and lightly scrambled egg are examples of foods that can have raw eggs. Raw eggs in commercial products like mayonnaise are pasteurized, so those products are safe to consume. However, you should still check the label to stay on the safer side.

Certain kinds of cheese

There are different kinds of cheese. Mozzarella, cottage cheese, hard cheese, goats ‘cheese without rind are some of the cheese types you can consume safely.

However, cheeses like soft blue cheese (gorgonzola), soft goat’s cheese, and mold-ripened soft cheese should be avoided if they were not heated until steaming hot. Eating them can cause infections that can be life-threatening for your baby.

Processed junk and fast food

When you are pregnant, what you eat affects not only your health but also has a direct influence on your baby’s growth and development. That is why mom-to-be should stick to a healthy diet. You should eat whole food that is rich in essential and healthy nutrients.

Processed junk and fast foods lack healthy nutrients and are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. They can lead to weight gain when consumed regularly. More than normal weight during pregnancy can cause birth complications, gestational diabetes, and other diseases.

So, stick to a healthy diet and eat snacks that contain proteins, vitamins, and healthy fats.

Packaged salad that is unwashed

It is safe to consume pre-washed and pre-prepared salad if it has not expired yet and does not have any allergy-inducing ingredients. You should always check the list of ingredients before consuming the pre-prepared salad. If the salad has been kept at room temperature for a longer duration, it may not be healthy anymore.

Unwashed pre-prepared salad should always be washed thoroughly so that you can get rid of microbes that the salad may have.

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Unwashed fruits and vegetables

The surfaces of unwashed fruits and vegetables can be contaminated by bacteria that are found in the soil. Salmonella, Toxoplasma, E.coli, and Listeria are common examples of such bacteria. Consuming fruit or vegetable without washing it increases your risk of getting an infection linked to such germs.

Toxoplasma is known to cause diseases in children later in life. It does not produce visible symptoms at birth. However, over time, the child may develop intellectual issues or blindness. It may also induce brain damage in the newborn child.

During pregnancy, make it your priority to avoid infections in any way. Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming them.

Foods rich in fats

Consuming foods rich in unhealthy fats is dangerous for your health and also for your pregnancy. These foods can make you gain weight fast, which can further cause complications.

It is good to gain a little weight during pregnancy but gaining a lot of it increases the risk of the development of diabetes and other diseases during pregnancy. Therefore, try to avoid excessive consumption of fat-rich foods.

Raw sprouts

Sprouts grow in a humid environment that promotes the growth of bacteria like Salmonella. Due to this reason, they can be contaminated. These bacteria exist on the surface and do not go away even when sprouts are washed. It is better not to eat raw sprouts as it is. However, they are safe to consume when cooked.

Drinks to avoid during pregnancy

Caffeine rich drinks

Caffeine-rich drinks like coffee, cocoa, and tea are excessively consumed throughout the right. They are not unhealthy for pregnant women, but they should still avoid them for the healthy growth of their infant.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should not take caffeine more than 200 mg a day. Taking more than a moderate amount can cause the buildup of caffeine in infants because they do not have the enzymes required to digest it. It can restrict their growth and also lead to low birth weight.

So, limit caffeine intake no matter how big of a coffee fan you are. Take it only in moderation.


Alcohol is neither healthy for you nor for your child. It can have a negative effect on your baby’s health even when it is consumed in a small amount. It increases the chances of miscarriage. When you consume alcohol, it enters your infant’s system through the placenta and leads to a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome. This condition results in the baby’s mental and physical disabilities.

In addition to this, it can also lead to facial deformities, intellectual problems, and heart problems. It is advised to avoid the consumption of alcohol to maintain your pregnancy and protect the child from the damaging effects of this drink.

Related Post:Everything You Need To Know About Preeclampsia

Herbal teas

Herbal teas contain many different ingredients. These teas are not FDA regulated, which is why it is advised to avoid consuming them. If you still want to drink herbal tea, then first consult a doctor. You can also ask an experienced mother in your family who has used certain teas.

Do some research on the chemical composition of herbal tea before consuming it. You should also check the list of ingredients before buying any herbal tea.

Unpasteurized milk and juices

Pregnant women should not consume unpasteurized milk and juices. It is because they can have harmful microbes, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, E.coli, and Listeria. These microbes can cause like-threatening issues in growing infants.

Unpasteurized milk and juices may have these germs when they are collected, or they may develop them during storage. So, it is advised to always pasteurize the milk before consuming it. Pasteurization is a healthy process that kills all sorts of microbes without even influencing the nutritional contents of the item.

Summing up

Your experience of pregnancy depends on different things, and one of them is the food you eat. As a mom-to-be, you should be more cautious during the nine months of pregnancy. Enjoy your pregnancy by eating healthy foods in moderation and avoiding the foods that are listed above.


  1. Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy | ACOG
  2. Alcohol Use in Pregnancy | CDC
  3. CDC – Toxoplasmosis – General Information – Pregnant Women
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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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