What Foods To Avoid In Early Pregnancy

Fish To Be Careful With:

Foods to Eat and Avoid During Pregnancy

Due to a listeria outbreak linked to smoked fish, people at higher risk of serious infection should only eat smoked fish products that have been thoroughly cooked. It is currently advised that when cooking smoked fish products at home, make sure they are steaming hot all the way through.

You can find additional information on NHS and the Food Standards Agency.

What Eating Well Means

  • eating more healthy foods containing folic acid, iron and iodine
  • limiting intake of high fat and high sugar foods
  • taking vitamin supplements containing vitamin D
  • drinking lots of fluids but only small amounts of caffeine
  • not drinking alcohol at all
  • taking care how you prepare and store food

Deli Meat And Prepared Deli Foods

Deli foods are high on the list of pregnancy food to avoid. Cold cuts , cured meats and hot dogs are actually dangerous for you and baby, Phillips says, as they can be contaminated with listeria. You can have them if you heat them up to at least 145 degrees , as this will kill the bacteria.

Still, its a good idea to avoid the deli counter altogether during pregnancy. The problem with prepared deli foods, Krieger says, is that you dont know how long theyve been sitting in the refrigerated case, what the temperature is in there and whether all the ingredients in a salad or dish have been pasteurized. Instead, make your own potato or pasta salad and other deli favorites so you know exactly what youre eating.

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Raw Eggs Or Undercooked Eggs

The safest eggs to eat are British Lion eggs , these can be eaten raw or runny. This is because they are less likely to have salmonella in them, which can cause food poisoning.

If you eat eggs that are not British Lion, or that are not hens eggs, make sure they are cooked thoroughly.

Using eggs in cooked recipes is safe. Try to avoid foods that have raw egg in them, such as homemade mayonnaise or mousse, unless you have made them with British Lion eggs.

Find out more about eating eggs during pregnancy.

What Foods Should You Avoid

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

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.

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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 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

Foods To Eat And Avoid During Pregnancy

Its well known that a mothers diet during pregnancy is very important to the health of her baby. Expecting mothers need to consume more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are helpful for a fetus growth and development. However, there are also some foods pregnant women should avoid.

UC Davis Health registered dietitian Katherine Stone shares foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy:

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The Importance Of Folic Acid

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid each day. Folic acid is a nutrient found in:

  • Some green leafy vegetables

  • Most berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruits and fortified breakfast cereals

  • Some vitamin supplements.

Folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects, which are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Neural tube defects can lead to varying degrees of paralysis, incontinence and sometimes intellectual disability.

Folic acid is the most helpful during the first 28 days after conception, when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, you may not realize that you are pregnant before 28 days. Therefore, your intake of folic acid should begin before conception and continue throughout your pregnancy. Your health care provider or midwife will recommend the appropriate amount of folic acid to meet your individual needs.

For example, women who take anti-epileptic drugs may need to take higher doses of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. They should consult with their health care provider when considering trying to conceive.

Activities To Avoid While Pregnant

Guide to Pregnancy First Trimester Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

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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Diarrhea In Early Pregnancy

Although diarrhea isnât a sign of early pregnancy, its possible that you may experience diarrhea or other digestive issues in your first trimester.

Early on in your pregnancy, your body starts going through lots of changes, and these can affect your bowel movements, leading to either hard or loose stools. For example, as levels of the hormone progesterone increase, this can cause your digestive system to slow down, often leading to constipation.

Changes to your diet and nutrition as part of your pregnancy may result in changes in your bowels, too. For instance, if youâre eating more fiber now or taking prenatal vitamins, these changes can affect the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements.

For some people, consuming more fiber-rich foods â such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains â can help with constipation, but for others such a sudden change in diet can cause gas, cramping, and even diarrhea.

Drinking more water can help with constipation, and can help replenish the fluids lost by having diarrhea. Talk to your healthcare provider if youâre having trouble with any digestive issues such as bloating or diarrhea in early pregnancy.

If youâre in the early stages of pregnancy and wondering when your little one is due, use our Due Date Calculator to get an estimate.

Low Nutrient High Calorie Processed Food

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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Is Diarrhea Common In Early Pregnancy

Although diarrhea isnt a sign of early pregnancy, its possible that you may experience diarrhea or other digestive issues in your first trimester. Early on in your pregnancy, your body starts going through lots of changes, and these can affect your bowel movements, leading to either hard or loose stools.

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Vegetables To Avoid During Pregnancy

My Wonder Remedy: What Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy? (With images ...


If you arent entirely sure what a raw sprout is, here are some examples:

Because sprouts are grown in a humid climate they invite bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli and since youre pregnant your immune system may not be able to fight off food poisoning, therefore, endangering your baby.

Thats why you shouldnt eat sprouts raw.

If you do have sprouts, buy fresh and make sure to cook them well.

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Raw Or Undercooked Meat

Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so it is steaming hot and there is no trace of pink or blood. Take particular care with poultry, pork, sausages and minced meat, including burgers.

Don’t eat rare meat. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that can be found in meat, soil, cat faeces and untreated water. If you are pregnant the infection can damage your baby, but it’s important to remember that toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is very rare.

If you feel you may have been at risk, discuss it with your doctor, midwife or obstetrician. If you are infected while you’re pregnant, treatment for toxoplasmosis is available.

Wash all surfaces and utensils thoroughly after preparing raw meat. It’s also important to remember to wash and dry your hands after touching or handling raw meat. This will help to avoid the spread of harmful bugs such as salmonella, campylobacter and E. coli that can cause food poisoning.

Pregnancy Gas And Bloating

Gas during pregnancy occurs along with other gastrointestinal side effects. It may be caused by hormonal changes, like the production of more progesterone. This hormone relaxes the bodys muscles, including the intestinal ones, which slows digestion and increases flatulence.

If you have gas when pregnant, try some simple lifestyle and diet hacks to ease the pressure in your gut. Take it easy on high-fiber, hard-to-digest foods like beans, avoid fizzy drinks and fatty foods, and get out for a walk to help move things along.

CAUTION If bloating is accompanied by severe pain that lasts more than 30 minutes, or you have constipation for two weeks or more, you should call your doctor.

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People At Risk: Pregnant Women

Immune system changes in pregnant women place the women themselves, their unborn children, and their newborns at increased risk of foodborne illness. These illnesses can be worse during pregnancy and may lead to miscarriage or premature delivery. Some foodborne illnesses, such asListeria and Toxoplasma gondii, can infect the fetus even if the mother does not feel sick. This is why doctors provide pregnant women with specific guidelines about foods that they should and should not eat.

Should Pregnant People Avoid Caffeine

Top 10 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, fetal development issues, and a low birth weight. A caffeine intake as low as 100200 milligrams per day could have a negative effect on fetal development. The underlying reasons for this remain unclear.

Many foods and drinks other than coffee contain caffiene. Examples include some sodas, energy drinks, chocolate, and teas. Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. A doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can provide more guidance about which medicines are safe.

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Why It Happens What You Can Do And When Its Dangerous

Meredith Shur, MD, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as a certified medical examiner.

Stomach and digestive issues are common during pregnancy. You may hear plenty about morning sickness and constipation, but less about diarrhea. Although it may not get as much attention, diarrhea is another gastrointestinal issue that many pregnant people can face. However, diarrhea is not usually linked to morning sickness and isnt typically considered an early sign of pregnancy. In fact, diarrhea can happen in any trimester.

That said, some people consider diarrhea an early sign of pregnancy. Its true that hormone changes around the time of conception and in the first weeks of pregnancy can cause stomach issues and even lead to diarrhea. However, breast tenderness, fatigue, and nausea are much more common symptoms of early pregnancy.

Additionally, some pregnant people worry that diarrhea may be harmful to the baby or increase the likelihood of miscarriage. However, while the accompanying abdominal cramping may feel similar to the symptoms of impending pregnancy loss, the gastrointestinal tract is an entirely different system than the reproductive organs. Its unlikely for a typical case of diarrhea to put your baby at risk, as long as proper care is taken to stay hydrated and treat any infection you may have if needed.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

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Certain Types Of Food Items

You may avoid eating certain types of food during your pregnancy. Let us have a look at these food items.

  • Fish with a high level of mercury in it. Some of the fishes like mackerel, sharks and even swordfish have high levels of mercury in them. According to a report conducted by the March of Dimes, high levels of mercury may be fatal for your foetus. It might even result in hearing problems, vision problems, and brain damage to the unborn child.
  • Unpasteurised Dairy and Unpasteurised dairy and juice might contain a bacteria called Listeria. Once the listeria reaches the foetus by crossing the placenta, it may cause deadly effects for the growing baby. Some of the other bacteria present in unpasteurised juice and dairy might even lead to food poisoning.
  • Raw eggs. Pregnant ladies should avoid eating any food that might contain raw eggs. These food items may include homemade Caesar salad dressing or unbaked cookie dough. The reason behind not eating raw eggs is because they contain salmonella.
  • Soft cheese. You may avoid eating soft cheese, like feta, queso Blanco, brie, etc. Some of the soft cheese might consist of unpasteurised dairy.
  • Deli salads and meat. Deli meats and pre-made salads like chicken salads might even be fatal for your foetus. This is because such food items might contain listeria in them. Listeria is a bacteria that may prove to be harmful to the baby if it passes through the placenta.
  • Here is an indepth article by food safety on pregnant women.

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    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 Should You Eat If Youre Struggling With Morning Sickness And Nausea

    What Food Not To Eat In First Trimester Of Pregnancy

    About 75 percent of expecting moms experience nausea, upset stomach or other morning sickness symptoms during the first three months of pregnancy. To try to ease the quease:

    • Fuel up with frequent mini meals every few hours instead of trying to force three big meals a day. Going too long without eating may actually make nausea worse, as can eating large portions.
    • Avoid spicy and very high fat foods, as these can lead to heartburn or stomach discomfort.
    • Stick with cold or room-temperature bland foods when you’re feeling most nauseous, such as yogurt with fruit, string cheese with nuts or a mini bagel with nut butter. Hot foods are more likely to emit odors that may make nausea worse.
    • Try liquid or softly-textured meals. You may have an easier time tolerating a homemade smoothie, oatmeal or pasta when your stomach feels upset.
    • Keep dry, easy-to-eat snacks on hand, like on your nightstand and in your purse or work bag. Graham crackers, pretzels and low-sugar dry cereal are prime grab-and-go picks.

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    The First Trimester: What To Expect

    A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of the fetus. You may not be showing much on the outside yet, but on the inside, all of the major body organs and systems of the fetus are forming.

    As the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall, several developments take place, including the formation of the:

    • Amniotic sac. A sac filled with amniotic fluid, called the amniotic sac, surrounds the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is liquid made by the fetus and the amnion that protects the fetus from injury. It also helps to regulate the temperature of the fetus.

    • Placenta. The placenta is an organ shaped like a flat cake that only grows during pregnancy. It attaches to the uterine wall with tiny projections called villi. Fetal blood vessels grow from the umbilical cord into these villi, exchanging nourishment and waste products with your blood. The fetal blood vessels are separated from your blood supply by a thin membrane.

    • Umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is a ropelike cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.

    It is during this first trimester that the fetus is most susceptible to damage from substances, like alcohol, drugs and certain medicines, and illnesses, like rubella .

    During the first trimester, your body and your babyâs body are changing rapidly.

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