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Pregnancy List of Foods to Avoid

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

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In this article we are going to focus on what to not have while pregnant.
Pregnancy List of Foods to Avoid

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Pregnancy health and well-being go hand in hand with what you consume. You might be asking yourself, what can I have and not have while pregnant? In this article we are going to focus on what to not have while pregnant, because this might just be more important than what you can have because some foods might be harmful to you and your pregnancy.

You want what is best for your pregnancy, and that includes knowing what foods to avoid.

When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to avoid foods and beverages that may put you and your baby at risk, and for this reason we have put together a pregnancy food list to avoid. No more wondering about what can you not have when pregnant. No more countless questions like:

What to not have while pregnant

Why no liver when pregnant?

Why no pate when pregnant?

Pregnant, can I eat Prawns?

Pregnant, Can I eat feta?

Pregnant, Can I eat halloumi?

Pregnant, can I eat cheesecake?

Pregnant, can I eat smoke salmon?

Pregnant, can I eat brie?

Pregnant, can I eat mussels?

Seafood high in Mercury

If you are a seafood lover, Dietary Guidelines in the U.S for pregnant women recommend 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week. However, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces a week.

Having said that, there are some seafoods you should definitely avoid. As a general rule the bigger and older the fish, the more mercury it's likely to have.

The Food and Drug Administration encourages pregnant women to avoid the fishes below.

  • Bigeye Tuna

  • King Mackerel

  • Marlin

  • Orange Roughy

  • Swordfish

  • Shark

  • Tilefish

  • Broadbill

  • Catfish

Raw, or Undercooked Seafood

You should avoid harmful bacteria or viruses in seafood by not consuming raw or undercooked fish and shellfish.

These include:

  • Sushi

  • Sashimi

  • Ceviche

  • Raw Oyster, Clams or Scallops

You should cook fish to an internal temperature of 145 F. The fish is done when it separates into flakes and appears opaque throughout.

Shrimp, lobster, and scallops should be cook until they are milky white. Discard Mussels, Clams and Oysters if the shells do not open after cooking.

Smoked Seafood

Undercooked Meat, Poultry, and Eggs

To prevent foodborne illness from bacterial food poisoning fully cook all meats, poultry before eating. Use a meat thermometer to make sure they are properly cooked.

Hotdogs and Lunch Meats, or Smoked meats or seafood should be cooked until they are steaming hot, or should be avoided completely.

Pates and Meat Spreads should be avoided unless they are canned, shelf-stable versions.

Cook eggs until both, the egg yolks and whites are firm. Raw eggs can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Some foods that may contain raw or partially cooked eggs and should be avoided are:

  • Raw Batter

  • Hollandaise Sauce

  • Caesar Salad Dressing

  • Eggnog.

Liver, Other Organ Meats, and Some Types of Supplements contain high levels of Vitamin A

Liver, and other Organ meats should be avoided because it has too much vitamin A.

Too much vitamin A can harm an unborn baby.

Unpasteurized Foods

Unpasteurized foods are also not recommended for pregnant women because they could lead to foodborne illness.

Foods that might not be pasteurized are milk, fruit juices, and some soft chesses.

Certain soft cheeses should be avoided unless they are clearly labeled as being pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk. Halloumi is semi-hard, and most times pasteurized, but as mentioned, check the label.

Some of the cheeses to be avoided are:

  • Brie

  • Feta

  • Blue Cheese

  • Camembert

  • Chevre

  • Danish Blue

  • Gorgonzola

  • Roquefort

  • Queso Blanco

  • Queso Fresco

Fresh-Squeezed or Unpasteurized Juices

Drinking fresh-squeezed or unpasteurized juices can expose you to harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

You should thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables.

You should also avoid Rockmelon, and raw sprouts of any kind, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean because they might contain disease causing bacteria. Sprouts should be cooked thoroughly.

Excess Caffeine

The effects of caffeine on your baby are not clear. For this reason, providers might recommend less than 200 milligrams a day during pregnancy.

Herbal Teas

Because there is little data on the effects of herbs on pregnancy you should avoid drinking all herbal teas unless your doctor says it is ok.


Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause misarrange, stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, facial deformities, and intellectual disabilities.

There is no level of alcohol that is safe during pregnancy. Therefore, it should be avoided completely.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are not recommended during pregnancy because they contain high levels of caffeine and other ingredients not recommended for pregnant women.

Processed Junk Foods

Even though these foods are tasty and tempting, and should not harm you if consumed once in a while, you should ask yourself "What should I stay away from when pregnant" when considering these types of foods.

An optimal pregnancy eating plan should mainly consist of whole foods, with plenty of nutrients to fulfill yours and baby’s needs.

There’s no better time than pregnancy to start eating nutrient-dense foods to help both you and your baby. Think "Pregnancy and Health"

You will need increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein, folate, choline, and iron that junk foods do not offer.

Processed junk food is generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar, and added fats.

Read more about Food Safety for Moms from the FDA here:



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