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Foods to avoid in Pregnancy: An Exclusive No-No List

Foods to avoid in Pregnancy: An Exclusive No-No List

Being pregnant is the most overwhelming experience a woman can have in her life. With all the happiness, there is stress too regarding what is good and bad for the fetus. When my doctor told me that I was expecting my first baby, I felt out of the world. But immediately I started thinking of ways and means to nourish myself and my unborn baby. The first few questions that I asked myself were about my diet and nutrition. For example, what should I eat! Similarly, what are the foods to avoid in pregnancy is a very commonly asked question.

First time mothers are mostly concerned about their diet in every month and trimester of their pregnancy. They usually want to know about foods to avoid in first month of pregnancy or in different trimesters of pregnancy. Apart from providing good nutrition, pregnant mothers also fear for things to avoid when pregnant to avoid miscarriage and other negative outcomes.

During pregnancy, your baby shares everything that you eat with you. Therefore, a pregnant mother should always eat very carefully. Everything must be taken with a balanced approach. Even the good food items must be taken with proper caution. I know many mothers who even ask about fruits to avoid in pregnancy so as not to cause any discomfort to the fetus. Here is a list of some food to avoid in pregnancy:

1. Cheese

Although cheese is a very healthy food item when it comes to pregnancy, however some types of cheese are harmful during pregnancy. Therefore, you should be concerned about what cheese to avoid when pregnant.

What to Avoid

Foods to avoid in pregnancy: some types of cheese
Foods to avoid in pregnancy: some types of cheese

Why to Avoid

All the abovementioned types of cheese have some quantity of moisture inside them. Therefore, these cheeses have more chances for bacteria to grow inside them. Resultantly, they become unhealthy for the fetus. Moreover, cheese having unpasteurized milk in it contains a bacteria “listeria”. Listeria causes the infection known as “listeriosis” which can cause stillbirths or miscarriages. Even if these extreme problems do not occur, these types of cheeses can cause problems for the unborn fetus. This makes moisturized and soft cheeses one of the major foods to avoid in pregnancy.

2. Excessive Vitamin A

Vitamin A is beneficial for both the mother and the baby in adequate quantities. However, if the mother eats food with excessive amounts of Vitamin A in them, the unborn baby may experience problematic issues.

What to Avoid

  • Liver and all the products made from liver (liver sausages and liver pate).
  • Fish liver oil like cod liver oil and others.
  • Food items that are fortified with Vitamin A.

Why to Avoid

High quantities of Vitamin A can cause birth defects in the newly born babies. Liver toxicity can also occur in the newborns whose mothers have consumed high quantities of Vitamin A during pregnancy.

3. Eggs, Meat and Fish

Eggs, meat and fish are all very healthy foods for pregnant mothers. However, there are certain conditions in which using these food items can be dangerous for mother and baby.

What to Avoid

  • Partially cooked or raw eggs.
  • Foods made from raw eggs like mousses, tiramisu, béarnaise sauce, meringue and mayonnaises.
  • Quail, goose or duck eggs.
  • Uncooked, partially cooked and raw meat.
  • Game meat like that of partridges, geese and pheasants.
  • Cured meat including salami, ham and peperoni.
  • Seafood including swordfish, sharks, raw fish and marlins.
  • Smoked fish (tuna, lox, cod, mackerel, salmon or any other).
  • Raw fish including sushi or any other raw seafood.

Why to Avoid

Uncooked or partially cooked food is not good for anyone. However, for unborn babies such food items can be very dangerous. Partially cooked or raw eggs usually have the bacteria Salmonella in them. These bacteria may not affect the fetus. However, the mother is very likely to suffer from food poisoning if she eats such eggs. The food poisoning, in turn, can have harsh effects on the growth of the fetus. Therefore, these types of eggs also fall under the umbrella of foods to avoid in pregnancy.

Research has indicated that the consumption of raw or uncooked meat items can cause toxoplasmosis to a small level in pregnant mothers. They may experience symptoms like aches in muscles, sore throat, sickness and elevated body temperatures. All these symptoms are dangerous for the growth of the unborn baby. Cured meat can also possess toxoplasmosis parasites. Therefore such meat should also be carefully utilized. In addition to these aforementioned meat types, game meat is also somewhat commonly used by people. However there are lead shots inside game meat. Therefore, they should be avoided during pregnancy.

If seafood items are not properly cooked, they can also be dangerous. In the same way, fish that has high levels of mercury can also cause problems for the fetus. Mercury is never harmful for different body organs including brain, lungs, nerves, kidneys and spinal cord. Furthermore, if an unborn baby is exposed to high quantities of mercury, his/her vision and hearing are also compromised. All in all, the entire nervous system of the unborn baby is at risk if the mother consumes too much of fish containing mercury. Therefore, these food items are also among the foods to avoid in pregnancy.

4. Additional Foods and Drinks

There are certain other food items and drinks that should also be used with caution or not at all. For instance, a pregnant mother should completely avoid consuming alcohol. Alcohol can cause long lasting and harmful effects on the unborn baby. These effects tend to persist throughout the life of the baby. It is important to use caffeine, caffeinated drinks and herbal teas within a set limit. Excessive utilization of these items can be risky for the mother and the baby. Last but not the least! High-dose vitamin supplements are also dangerous. They can increase the vitamin inside the body to damaging levels.

foods to avoid in pregnancy: alcohol

If an expecting mother eats or drinks any of the above-mentioned items, she should not panic. Keep a track of one’s health afterwards. If there are signs of some problem, visit a certified doctor at once. If there has been no problem, it means the baby is safe.


All in all, pregnancy is just like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs throughout the entire period. Having complete information and a sharp observation of food items and drinks is a pro-tip. Always read the ingredients and components of the food items and drinks. Cook the food items completely and check them before eating. Use vitamin supplements prescribed by the doctor. Do not go for self-medication at all while being pregnant. Lastly, if you are a panicky person, the best practice is to keep a strong check on the foods to avoid in pregnancy.

We would be very happy to hear from you on the comments sections of our Facebook page. You can also visit our Quora page. Feel free to leave your comments and queries about the foods to avoid in pregnancy!!! You can also watch a video version of this article here

About The Author

Affaf Amjad

Having an MPhil in Applied psychology and being a mother of three kids, I have always tried to try and test different psychological interventions and approaches in the day-to-day routine of my kids. Sharing my results and effective strategies with parents around the globe is the my main aim as a writer.

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