What Foods And Drinks To Avoid While Pregnant

The Benefits Of Fruit

8 Drinks and Beverages You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Fruits are super, that’s for sure! They provide vitamins and minerals that can help your baby along throughout your pregnancy. Pregnant mothers require foods rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin A and C, folic acid, and other nutrients in order to keep their bodies strong until baby arrives, and fruits can be an excellent and easy source.

Avoid Undercooked Meat And Poultry

All meat and poultry should be thoroughly cooked before eating. A food thermometer should be used to ensure that the meat has reached the USDA-recommended safe minimum internal temperature. Visit minimum cooking temperatures for specific details.

Following the minimum recommend internal temperature is important because meat and poultry may contain E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Toxoplasma gondii.

CDC recommends the following preventive measures to reduce the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from eating meat:

  • Cook meat to the USDA-recommended minimum safe internal temperature.
  • Freeze meat for several days at sub-zero temperatures before cooking to greatly reduce chance of infection.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters and utensils with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed fruits or vegetables.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.

Foods To Avoid When Pregnant

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There are some foods you should not eat when you’re pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby. Make sure you know the important facts about which foods you should avoid or take extra care with when you’re pregnant. The best foods to eat are freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.

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Unpasteurized Foods And Drinks

Soft cheeses like brie, goat cheese and blue-veined cheeses that aren’t pasteurized can contain listeria and other bacteria. Check the labels to make sure you’re getting the pasteurized kind.

Unpasteurized juices like apple cider and fresh squeezed orange juice can harbor harmful bacteria, too. Keep them off the menu to be safe.

About The Author: Audrey Kopp Aprn Dnp Cnm

Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

Audrey has her doctoral degree in nurse midwifery. In addition to her academic achievements, she has been actively working as a Labor and Delivery Charge Nurse in the Hennepin Healthcare system. Her entire work life and education has focused on pregnancy, moms, labor, delivery, and birth.

About her practice as a nurse midwife, Audrey says:I believe in providing individualized care to every woman I see. Part of providing individualized care is working hard to create a familiar relationship with my patients where they can feel safe to verbalize the good, the bad and the ugly. Every woman I care for is strong and powerful in their own way. My care centers around maximizing strengths, creating a trusting bond and supporting women through each stage of their life as their needs and desires evolve.

If you are interested in booking an appointment with Audrey for your prenatal, delivery or wellwoman care, call Minnesota Women’s Care at or click Book Now.

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Fish From Local Waters

Unless you know your local streams, bays, and lakes are unpolluted, avoid eating fish you catch yourself. Some lakes and rivers are contaminated with industrial chemicals. Locally caught bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout, and walleye may be affected. Check with your state’s fish and wildlife department for more information.

Foods To Eat Or Avoid When Pregnant

Use this handy guide to help make decisions about what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy.

It highlights some foods that are not recommended for pregnant women.

Foods to avoid are listed for a range of reasons, but in most cases there is a higher risk those foods may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria or salmonella.

Red = Don’t eat

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Meat, Poultry & Seafood

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Avoid Raw Milk Raw Milk Soft Cheeses And Other Raw Milk Products

Raw milk is milk from any animal that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Raw milk, also called unpasteurized milk, may contain bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella or the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. To avoid getting these foodborne illnesses, only consume pasteurized milk and milk products, including cheese.

Dont eat the soft cheeses listed below unless theyre made with pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says made with pasteurized milk.

Cheese made with unpasteurized milk may contain E. coli or Listeria. Instead of eating soft cheese, eat hard cheese such as Cheddar or Swiss.

Pregnant woman should pay particular attention at farmers markets to make sure that fresh and soft cheeses are pasteurized.

Food Safety When Eating Out

Foods to Eat and Avoid During Pregnancy

Risks are harder to manage at buffets, smorgasbords, salad bars, or street vendors, where foods may have been sitting uncovered, allowed to cool, or contaminated by other people, so avoid eating food from these places.

When you eat out or buy takeaways, avoid the same high-risk foods you would avoid at home. Don’t eat:

  • unpasteurised milk and dairy products
  • raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs
  • unwashed fruits and vegetables or raw herbs
  • raw seed sprouts
  • pre-prepared cold foods such as salads, unrefrigerated sandwiches, or sushi
  • undercooked or raw meat, poultry, or seafood
  • cold meats, pâté, or cold, smoked fish
  • soft and semi-soft cheeses unless cooked
  • soft-serve ice cream.

To minimise risk during pregnancy, choose restaurant and takeaway food that is:

  • prepared just before it’s served to you
  • served piping hot .

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Managing Some Common Problems


The iron in prenatal vitamins and other things can cause constipation during pregnancy. So try to get more fiber than you did before you became pregnant. Try to eat about 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Your best sources are fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads, cereals, or muffins.

Some people use fiber tablets or drinks or other high-fiber products, but check with your doctor before trying them.

If constipation is a problem for you, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when increasing fiber intake, or you can make your constipation worse.

One of the best ways to avoid constipation is to get more exercise. Drink plenty of water between meals each day to help soften your stools and move food through your digestive system. Sometimes hot tea, soups, or broth can help. Also, keep dried fruits handy for snacking.


Some pregnant women find that broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and fried foods give them heartburn or gas. You can plan a balanced diet to avoid these foods. Carbonated drinks also cause gas or heartburn for some women, although others find they calm the digestive system.


If you’re often nauseated, eat small amounts of bland foods, like toast or crackers, throughout the day. Some women find it helpful to eat foods made with ginger. To help combat nausea, you can also:

Why You Should Avoid Certain Foods During Pregnancy

Some foods and beverages are best avoided during pregnancy because they can be harmful to you and your baby. You’ve probably had food poisoning or foodborne illness at some point in your life, but during pregnancy you’re more at risk and the consequences can be more serious.

During pregnancy, your immune system is weaker than usual, so you’re more likely to get food poisoning. And having food poisoning while pregnant can cause serious issues for you and your baby, including in the worst-case scenario premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

Dangerous bacteria and parasites like Listeria, Toxoplasma, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter, and E. coli can lurk in improperly prepared, cooked, and stored foods. A few of these can cross your placenta and affect your baby even if you never feel symptoms of illness yourself.

Serious problems due to foodborne illness in pregnancy are rare listeriosis affects fewer than 400 babies a year in the U.S., and toxoplasmosis affects between 400 and 4,000. You don’t need to worry too much, or second-guess every food choice, but it’s important to know which foods are safe for pregnancy and which aren’t.

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What Foods Should You Avoid

When navigating whats safe to eat during pregnancy, the main goal is to avoid foods that might contain bacteria such as listeria or E.coli.In general, deli meats and cheeses do not need to be avoided during pregnancy as long as youre getting them from a deli thats hygienic when handling food. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends heating any deli meats to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to avoid the risk of listeria as the incidence of listeria infections is 13 times higher in pregnant vs non-pregnant women and can cause fatal infections in the fetus. Undercooked or raw meat and cured meats can also be problematic as they could contain toxoplasma, a parasite that lives in raw or uncooked meats. When ingested, the parasite can cause toxoplasmosis which can lead to severe neurological issues in the newborn.

Can I Drink Alcohol If Im Pregnant

Tips for eating healthy weight During Pregnancy

We recommend that you avoid drinking alcohol if you are pregnant. You should also avoid drinking alcohol if you’re trying for a baby.

If you do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to your unborn baby, you should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week. You should not get drunk and you should avoid binge drinking . One unit of alcohol is equal to half a pint of bitter or ordinary lager, or a pub measure of spirits.

Heavy drinking during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and other more serious birth defects. Excessive alcohol can cause damage to your unborn baby at all stages in pregnancy.

Many women don’t realise they are pregnant until some weeks into their pregnancy. If you’re trying for a baby or planning to do so, its recommended that you should avoid alcohol.

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Medications To Avoid During Pregnancy

As restrictive as these food lists are, medications need to be even more closely monitored. The first step is to speak with your OB-GYN about medicines you take regularly, including supplements. Your doctor will be able to tell you which you can continue and which medications you need to avoid entirely.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are one of the most common pain relievers on the market. A common NSAID is Aleve and its generic counterparts. NSAID drugs are particularly dangerous during the first trimester of pregnancy, though they can be used in small amounts after the second semester, up until about 32 weeks.

Acne Medications

Isotretinoin and spironolactone, which are two of the biggest prescription acne medications, are highly dangerous for developing babies. Since both of these medications can cause birth defects, its critical you stop taking them if youre trying to become or are pregnant. Your doctor should have some options to treat your acne that arent dangerous to your baby.

Mental Health Medication

SSRIs and other treatments for anxiety or depression are typically lower risks, especially when compared to other treatments. These medicines also take a long time to get used to and carry significant long-term benefits that need to be weighed against their impact on your pregnancy. In particular, if not taking mental health medication is going to cause severe impacts on your life, then theyre worth the negligible risk.

Over-the-Counter Medication

Fruit And Vegetable Safety While Pregnant

Most fruits and vegetables are safe to eat while pregnant, with a few outliers. Raw sprouts can cause food poisoning in healthy adults, so they should be completely avoided while pregnant. Additionally, fruits and vegetables should be washed in a 4:1 water/vinegar solution to ensure they are clean. This is especially true of avocados, which can transmit listeria on their skin, so wash them well before cutting into them.

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Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

  • Produce containing Vitamin C, like oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli, support the babys growth and improves iron absorption.
  • Foods that have iron, such as beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, meat, and spinach all support the mothers body in making more blood for both mom and baby.
  • Foods rich in calcium, including pasteurized dairy products as well as almonds, broccoli, and garbanzo beans will help support development of bones and teeth.
  • Foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, salmon, trout and canned light tuna. Or choose a prenatal supplement with Omega-3s if you dont like fish.
  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated supports the proper delivery of nutrients through the blood to the baby and may help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections for the mother.
  • Low Nutrient High Calorie Processed Food

    What NOT to Eat During Pregnancy: Foods and Drinks to Avoid While You’re Pregnant

    Lets get rid of the myth that you need to eat for two. We start to develop our taste palate and food preferences in the womb. Choosing fresh, nutrient dense foods helps your baby get a clean start and efficiently build all their organs, muscles and bones and brain. This all being said, we know that sometimes greasy fast food is all you can think about and thats ok! If you need help figuring out what is on the high nutrient, low calorie list, just ask. We can help.

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    Foods To Watch Out For During Pregnancy

    Some foods contain chemicals that may affect you or your baby. It is safest to avoid all alcoholic drinks. You may need to limit other types of food during pregnancy, too. For example, you might limit the amount of caffeine you consume by watching the amount of coffee, tea, and cola you drink, and how much chocolate you eat.

    What To Avoidwhile Pregnant

    Pregnancy is a wonderful time of growth, anticipation, and development for you and your baby. Unfortunately for pregnant women, the things we love before the baby came along can be harmful to your growing child. Everything from your morning cup of coffee to soft cheese and seafood can potentially be dangerous.

    Home> What to Avoid While Pregnant

    You need to reconsider your meals, as everything from undercooked meats like steak to unpasteurized dairy can be potentially harmful. Knowing what to avoid eating while pregnant as well as the medications and activities you should steer clear of can give you and your baby the best chance for a healthy delivery.

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    Say No To Solid Fats Saturated Fats And Trans Fats

    These fats can also put your baby at risk of metabolic defects and developing obesity later as a child, according to studies. When it comes to your babys health, you may want to think long-term as well. Heres a list of fats you should avoid while pregnant:

    • Cream cheese and some types of cheese
    • Palm or kernel oil
    • Heavy cream and sour cream

    Some of these bad fats are also hiding in many desserts and other dairy products. Unless you are sure that these foods do not contain saturated fats or are cooked in healthy oils, cut back on the following foods:

    • Sausages and hot dogs
    • Pastries and other baked goods

    Drinks To Avoid When You’repregnant

    Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

    Coffee is one of the hardest drinks to give up while pregnant, but if you crave the taste and ritual of a cup of morning brew, decaf is your best bet. The caffeine in coffee is what can be damaging to unborn children, so the ban on coffee extends to any kind of caffeinated drinks, including soda and energy drinks.

    Energy drinks in particular can be disastrous for you and your baby. They include tremendous amounts of caffeine and sugar as well as unhealthy dyes, none of which you want in your body.

    Tea is fine to drink as long as there is no caffeinethis includes herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint. In fact, peppermint or ginger teas can be useful in aiding morning sickness.

    Unpasteurized juice is another concern and should be avoided. One of the most common unpasteurized juices is apple cider, but it can carry E. coli so it definitely should not be consumed.

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    Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

    Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided during pregnancy because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. At home, the temperature should reach at least 145 F for whole cuts, 160 F for ground meats like hamburger, and 165 F for chicken breasts.

    Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby, which could lead to infection or blood poisoning and may be life-threatening. If you are pregnant and you are considering eating deli meats, make certain that you reheat the meat until it is steaming.

    Fish with Mercury: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. A sample of these types of fish includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna generally has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation. The American Pregnancy Association recommends Safe Catch Tuna because their testing technology ensures each can of tuna is as pure as wild salmon or wild sardines.

    Certain types of fish used in sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury. Please see Mercury in Fish for specific types of fish and further information on how to calculate mercury levels.

    Activities To Avoid While Pregnant

    Many activities are dangerous while pregnant, and some that you might think are dangerous are perfectly fine. For instance, exercise is not only safe. Its a great choice to keep you healthy and active while pregnant if you do the right exercises. Yoga is good, but hot yoga is not because the increased temperature can stress you and your baby.Light weightlifting is good, as it helps your body stay insulin sensitive and injury resistant, but lifting heavy weights can be dangerous. Some activities to avoid are:

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