What Foods Can I Not Eat When Pregnant

Undercooked Or Raw Fish

What Foods Not to Eat / Avoid During Pregnancy

This one will be tough for you sushi fans, but its an important one. Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, such as norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella, and Listeria.

Some of these infections may only affect you, causing dehydration and weakness. Other infections may be passed on to your baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria infections. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , pregnant women are up to 10 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population. Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more at risk.

This bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying.

Listeria bacteria can be passed to your baby through the placenta, even if youre not showing any signs of illness. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other serious health problems, according to the CDC .

Its definitely advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish, including many sushi dishes. But dont worry, youll enjoy it that much more after baby is born and its safer to eat again.

Nutrient Needs During Pregnancy

A person needs more water- and fat-soluble vitamins during pregnancy and lactation. This includes folate, choline, and vitamins B12, A, and D, among others.


To help prevent illnesses and other complications during a pregnancy, avoid:

  • Seafood that contains mercury: Avoid shark, swordfish, and marlin, or keep the intake to an absolute minimum.
  • Uncooked or partially cooked meats: Opt for thoroughly cooked meats.
  • Uncooked shellfish: This is due to a risk of bacterial or viral contamination, which can cause food poisoning.
  • Raw eggs: Avoid these and any foods that contain them.
  • Soft, mold-ripened cheese: Cheeses such as brie and camembert carry a risk of Listeria contamination. Listeria is a group of bacteria that can cause potentially fatal infections in pregnant people and their babies.

What Fruits Should Not Be Eaten During Pregnancy

Bad Fruits for Pregnancy

  • Pineapple. Pineapples are shown to contain bromelain, which can cause the cervix to soften and result in an early labor if eaten in large quantities. …
  • Papaya. Papaya, when ripe, is actually pretty safe for expectant mothers to include in their pregnancy diets. …
  • Grapes.

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Liver And Other Foods Containing Vitamin A

Avoid liver and liver products, such as liver pâté and liver sausage. Liver products have lots of vitamin A in them. This can be harmful to an unborn baby. It is not safe to take multivitamins containing vitamin A or fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. It is fine to eat low levels of vitamin A found naturally in foods like carrots. But it is important to avoid any foods that have vitamin A added . It is okay to use cosmetic products, like face cream, that contain vitamin A.

Do Load Up On The Big 5 Nutrients: Folate Calcium Iron Zinc And Fiber

What To Eat While Pregnant

Before conception and in the first six weeks of pregnancy, no nutrient is more vital than folate . This B vitamin can reduce the risk of neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida, by a whopping 70 percent.

You can get your daily minimum of 400 micrograms from beans and legumes, citrus fruits and juices, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and shellfish, but folate from foods is not as well absorbed as folic acid, so pop a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement for insurance.

Your daily dose of calcium1,200 milligrams from low-fat dairy products, dark green vegetables and fortified orange juice and soy productsplays a key role during the second and third trimesters, when your baby’s bone and tooth development reaches its peak. Because the fetus leaches calcium from your body, getting enough of this mineral can protect your own bones, too. Iron, important for supporting your 50 percent increase in blood volume, is crucial in the third trimester. Aim for 30 milligrams per day.

“Iron is difficult to get from the diet, so take an iron supplement or prenatal vitamin with iron,” advises Hope Ricciotti, M.D., an associate professor of OB-GYN at Harvard Medical School and co-author of I’m Pregnant! Now What Do I Eat? . To boost iron absorption, combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C sources.

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Foods To Avoid In Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, everything that goes into your mouth gets shared with your growing baby. Even though some types of foods and even some types of food poisoning may not hurt you, they may harm your little one.

To avoid food poisoning, be careful not to eat any food left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours .

Be sure to limit caffeine to 200 mg a day . And, as you probably know, forget alcohol while your baby is growing inside you.

To stay safe, also avoid these foods during your pregnancy.


  • Cold cuts, deli meats, hot dogs, and other ready-to-eat meats.
  • Pre-stuffed, fresh, turkey or chicken
  • Steak tartare or any raw meat
  • Rare cuts of meat and undercooked meats
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads.


  • Locally caught bluefish, pike, salmon, striped bass, trout, and walleye
  • King mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish, which have high levels of mercury
  • Smoked cod, smoked salmon or lox, smoked mackerel, smoked trout, smoked tuna, and smoked whitefish, or other smoked fish
  • Sushi or any raw fish or raw shellfish


  • Raw eggs
  • Raw cookie dough.
  • Caesar salad dressing, bearnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, and any homemade dressings and sauces made with raw eggs
  • Mousse, meringue, tiramisu, and any homemade desserts made with raw eggs

Milk and Cheese

  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Any cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

Fruits and Veggies

What About Listeria And Pregnancy

Theres also listeria, a food-borne illness thats riskier for pregnant people. You are more likely to get it when you are pregnant, and you are more likely to have complications from it.

It is very rare, but there are still instances of it every year.

So how do you avoid it? Take extra food safety measures to keep yourself safe regardless of which foods you decide to eat:

  • Practice safe food handling
  • Clean your fridge and kitchen regularly
  • Cook things until well-done

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More Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

It may seem daunting to keep track of all the foods you can and canât eat while pregnant. Here, weâve compiled some frequently asked questions about specific foods to help make it a little easier.

It may seem like a lot to consider, but a healthy pregnancy diet is as much about enjoying what you can eat as it is about looking out for what you cannot eat while pregnant. You might see this as an opportunity to sample some previously unknown foods â a fruit or vegetable youâve never tried, for example. Or, you might even learn how to cook an old favorite in a new way, like baked salmon prepared at home instead of salmon rolls from your neighborhood sushi spot.

Try not to dwell on any food restrictions, and instead focus on the endless opportunities to enrich your pregnancy diet. You can have a lot of fun sampling a rich variety of foods during your pregnancy, with your prenatal vitamins providing any extra nutrients you need.

As you get ready for the arrival of your little one, you may want to download the Pampers Club app. You have a lot to think about in the coming months, but weâre here to help make this journey easier. With the app you can get great rewards for all those diapers that are in your future!

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Can I Eat Sushi When Pregnant

6 Fruits That You Should Not Eat During Pregnancy | Fruits To Be Avoided During Pregnancy

In the United States, most pregnant women can consume sushi as long as its prepared in a hygienic atmosphere. However, some species, such as king mackerel and swordfish, are rich in mercury. Mercury in excessive doses is not safe to eat during pregnancy since it raises the chance of birth abnormalities.

If it is made with low-mercury fish and cooked rolls heated to a temperature of 145°F are safe to eat during pregnancy. Always inquire about the ingredients in any sushi roll including fish. You could assume youre simply receiving crab meat or shrimp, but there could be other mercury-rich fish in there.

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Keep General Guidelines In Mind

About 300 extra calories are needed each day to maintain a healthy pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. These calories should come from a balanced and diverse diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with minimum added sugars and fats.

When navigating the menu of daily choices, it helps to know the difference between absolutes and guidelines , says McNally.

Fish, for instance, is an important source of nutrients. However, some types of fish should be avoided or only consumed in moderation during pregnancy because they contain higher levels of mercury. Raw and undercooked fish, especially shellfish, such as oysters and clams, is an absolute no-no, she adds.

Alcohol and recreational drugs, which can cause problems in children ranging from behavioral problems to birth defects, should also be strictly avoided.

Raw fish can be contaminated with parasites and bacteria. We recommend that women avoid this during pregnancy, McNally says. Drugs and alcohol are also things that we have patients stay away from. Even patients who have a glass of wine with dinner will never know the safe level or what you can drink or not drink in terms of fetal alcohol syndrome.

What About With Twins

If twins are visible at your 12-week ultrasound, the sonographer will perform a chorionicity scan to determine if the twins share a placenta.

Twins who share a placenta are called monochorionic twins and are always identical. Theyre at greater risk for:

  • twin anemia polycythemia sequence
  • selective intrauterine growth restriction

If the twins are monochorionic, the sonographer will also check about the amnionicity. This is important, because mo/mo twins will require more monitoring to ensure theres no cord entanglement or compression.

Dichorionic twins have their own separate placentas. These account for all fraternal twins and about one third of identical twins. Because each fetus has its own separate space to develop, these twin pregnancies typically carry the lowest risk of complications.

Twin babies dont tend to be much smaller than singletons early in pregnancy. If your sonographer notices a size difference between your twins, the larger baby can be used to date the pregnancy in most cases.

Theres a very small chance that a twin may be hiding and missed during your first ultrasound . Chances of missing a twin are higher if they share the same amniotic sac.

After your 20-week anatomy scan, you can pretty much rule this out, though.

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Broccoli And Dark Leafy Greens

No surprise here: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients youll need. Even if you dont love eating them, they can often be squirreled into all kinds of dishes.

Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Theyre a bonanza of green goodness.

Adding in servings of green veggies is an efficient way to pack in vitamins and fend off constipation due to all that fiber. Vegetables have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight .

Try this kale eggs Florentine recipe or blend some spinach into a green smoothie and you wont even know its in there.

Hot Dogs And Deli Meat

5 Fruits to Avoid During Pregnancy

That double turkey, salami and onion with extra mustard might be tempting your pregnancy-crazed appetite, but it may not be the healthiest option out there right now.

As a mom-to-be, you’ll want to steer clear of those foods that have been preserved with nitrates and nitrites, chemicals used in food preservation that aren’t good for a developing fetus.

Along with that double-decker sandwich, you might want to forgo hot dogs and pâté. Besides being loaded with preservatives , these foods also run the small risk of carrying Listeria.

If giving up deli is too big a sacrifice, switch to nitrate-free lunch meats and heat them up until steaming to get rid of any bacteria before you eat them .

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Herbal And Green Teas

We do not have much information on the safety of herbal and green teas in pregnancy. Therefore, it is best to limit how much you drink. You should drink no more than 4 cups of herbal tea a day. It is important to remember that green tea contains caffeine, which should be limited as much as possible during pregnancy.

You should ask your GP or midwife if you are unsure about the safety of any herbal products.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Feta Cheese

Because the pasteurization process kills any hazardous germs, feta cheese manufactured from pasteurized milk is certainly safe to eat. According to the Food and Drug Administration , pregnant women should only consume feta cheese manufactured from pasteurized milk. You should only eat cheese that is clearly labeled produced from pasteurized milk.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that there is always a risk for pregnant women who eat soft cheeses even pasteurized products can contain bacteria named Listeria Monocytogenesif they are produced in an unsanitary environment.

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Guide To Food Safety In Pregnancy

  • All fresh vegetables
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Salads: Pre-packaged salads and ready-made salads and coleslaws from delis, salad bars, or similar. Vegetable-based salads, pasta salads, rice salads, fruit salads, or similar

  • Store-bought
  • Home-made
  • Brown seaweed**
  • Red or green seaweed used in sushi and dulse
  • Seed sprouts
  • Pasteurised
  • Unpasteurised

Dont drink

*Bluff and Pacific oysters and queen scallops contain more cadmium than other foods. We recommend you eat these shellfish only once a month during pregnancy.

**Brown seaweeds contain naturally very high iodine concentrations. Brown seaweeds are typically sold dry and are used in soups, stewed dishes, kelp salt and seaweed salads.

Recommended servings for fish species to minimise mercury intakes

No restriction necessary

Anchovy Arrow squid Barracouta Blue cod Brill/Turbot Brown trout Cockles Eel, long or short-finned Elephant fish Flounders Gemfish Gurnard Hoki John Dory Ling Monkfish or stargazer Mussels Orange perch Orange Roughy Oreo dories Oysters Parore Scallops Rainbow trout Skipjack tuna Smooth oreo Sole Southern blue whiting Surf clams Tarakihi Toothfish, Antarctic Warehou Whitebait

3 4 servings a week acceptable
1 serving every 1 to 2 weeks acceptable

Cardinal fish Dogfish Lake Rotomahana trout Lake trout from geothermal regions School shark Marlin Southern bluefin tuna Swordfish

Food Poisoning In Pregnancy

10 Foods I Canât Wait to Eat After Birth

Food poisoning can be dangerous when you are pregnant.

To avoid food poisoning:

  • wash your hands before, during and after food preparation
  • use different knives, chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked food
  • put food in the fridge as quickly as possible
  • keep raw and cooked meats separate
  • wash all fruits, vegetables and pre-packed salads before eating
  • eat leftovers within 2 to 3 days
  • do not eat foods past their use-by date
  • make sure all meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are cooked thoroughly

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Foods That Are Actually Ok To Eat

And for all the dont eats and only eat sometimes in pregnancy, there are also plenty of foods that you can feel confident in filling up on. They include:

Soft cheeses. Brie, feta, camembert, queso blanco, and gorgonzola were once considered potentially harmful because they can harbor listeria. However, the FDA now allows soft cheese during pregnancy as long as its made with pasteurized milk. Be sure to check labels and ask restaurants how their cheeses are made. You can still eat hard cheese, processed cheese, and cream cheese.

And mozzarella? Youre definitely having a pizza in the next nine months, McNally says. Its somewhat of a staple.

Fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables are important in any pregnancy diet for their vitamins and fiber. Be sure to wash even prewashed produce.

General Food Safety Recommendations

  • When handling raw meats, fish, shellfish, poultry and eggs, wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparation.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces after handling food in the kitchen, especially raw foods, using either:
  • a kitchen sanitizer or
  • a bleach solution and rinse with water.
  • Wash your hands and kitchen surfaces often to help prevent bacteria from spreading. Wash and disinfect your refrigerator often to reduce the chance of bacteria spreading from one food to another.
  • Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Do not defrost food at room temperature.
  • Fully cook all meats, fish, shellfish, and poultry. You can check that they are fully cooked by using a food thermometer. For a list of safe cooking temperatures visit .
  • Avoid raw fish and shellfish such as sashimi and sushi , raw oysters, clams and mussels.
  • Avoid raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products. Eggs should be cooked until both the white and the yolk is firm egg dishes should be cooked thoroughly. If a recipe calls for raw eggs, use pasteurized egg products instead.
  • Wash raw vegetables and fruit well with clean, running water before eating.
  • Fully cook sprouted seeds such as alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean. Do not eat sprouts if they are not cooked to steaming hot . Raw sprouts can be contaminated with bacteria.
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