13 Foods Not To Eat When You Are Pregnant

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s also a time when you need to be extra careful about what you eat. A lot of foods that are safe for people at other times in their lives can pose threats during pregnancy.

The good news is that most women don’t have to completely overhaul their diets to stay healthy while pregnant—just as long as they steer clear of certain foods.

Raw meat

One of the most important things to remember when you’re pregnant is that your immune system is compromised. This means you will be less able to fight off any illness or infection, so you need to take extra precautions and avoid foods that could potentially make you sick.

Raw meat can contain bacteria like salmonella and listeria, which are harmful to both mother and baby. To avoid this food group altogether, cook all meats thoroughly: medium-rare steaks should be cooked until they reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit (68 degrees Celsius), while chicken breasts should be cooked until an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) has been reached.

Unpasteurized dairy

* Unpasteurized dairy is risky.

Unpasteurized milk, cheese, and yogurt are not safe to eat if they have not been heated to kill potentially harmful bacteria. If you’re pregnant, you must know the risks associated with consuming unpasteurized dairy products. This food can cause food poisoning if consumed raw in any form (milk, cheese, or yogurt).

Liver and liver products

If you’re sensitive to or allergic to any of the following ingredients, you may want to avoid liver and liver products:

* The liver is high in vitamin A. If you have a condition that makes it difficult for your body to process vitamin A (called hypervitaminosis), eating large amounts of food with high levels of this ingredient can lead to serious health problems. This includes liver and other organ meats like sweetbreads.

* The liver is also high in vitamin D and B12, which are beneficial when consumed in small doses but can be toxic when taken at too high levels. Pregnant women should only consume the recommended amount of these nutrients (600 IU/day) from food sources rather than supplements.

* Vitamin K—found mainly in leafy green vegetables like kale—has been linked with lower rates of blood clots as well as birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly if consumed during pregnancy

Fish with high mercury content

Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating fish that has a high mercury content. Fish with high mercury content includes swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and tuna (white or albacore). This is because mercury may cause harm to the developing baby. Mercury accumulates in the body over time, so it may take several weeks for its effects on a fetus to become apparent.

Pregnant women should choose low-mercury fish such as salmon, shrimp, and catfish instead of these types of fish during pregnancy. If you consume seafood frequently during your pregnancy (such as 3 times per week or more), you should learn how much seafood is safe for you to eat each month based on EPA guidelines so that your intake doesn’t exceed recommendations too often.

Raw eggs

Eggs are a good source of protein that can be prepared in many ways. They’re also among the most common food sources for salmonella and listeria infections, as well as toxoplasma gondii—a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis and can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. Other foods that may be contaminated with campylobacter include unpasteurized cheese and raw milk.

Unwashed or under-ripe produce

If you’re pregnant, it’s important to make sure that the produce you eat is washed and free of dirt. If it isn’t, you could be putting yourself at risk for some nasty bacteria, like salmonella.

Wash fruits and veggies in cool water with a mild soap before eating them or cooking them. If a piece of produce has dirt on its surface, scrub gently under running water until the dirt is removed. Don’t use abrasive cleaning agents or steel wool pads—they can damage the skin of delicate produce and make it easier for bacteria to enter your body!

Make sure that any fruit or vegetable you buy is ripe before eating it.

Unripe fruits and vegetables have not yet had time to grow their full nutrient potential; therefore they are less nutritious than those that are fully ripened by nature’s process of photosynthesis (when sunlight hits plants).

Ripe fruits tend not only to taste better but also have higher levels of vitamins A & C as well as folic acid (folic acid helps lower blood homocysteine levels which may help protect against heart disease).


Alcohol can cause birth defects, miscarriages, and fetal alcohol syndrome.

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and drink, you could be increasing your risk of giving birth to a baby with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This is because alcohol interferes with the development of the brain and central nervous system in a fetus’s early stages of development.

In turn, this can lead to cognitive problems such as learning disabilities or memory loss later in childhood. The risk for FASD also increases for women who drink during their first trimester only—even if they don’t have previous alcoholism issues—because this is when organs are starting to develop inside the womb.

Excessive caffeine

You should know that caffeine can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature delivery. A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that too much caffeine consumed during pregnancy can lead to heart problems for the baby.

Studies also show that excessive consumption of caffeine has been linked with high blood pressure in pregnant women.

Mercury-containing food

Mercury is a toxic metal that can be found in many places, including fish and shellfish. While mercury levels are generally low in the environment, they tend to accumulate in certain fish and seafood. Mercury is also used as a vaccine preservative, so if you’re pregnant or considering getting pregnant (and even after you give birth), make sure your vaccines have no thimerosal (or ethylmercury).

Thimerosal has been phased out of most vaccines over the last decade—but it’s still used in some flu shots and others given to children under 6 years old. If you’re planning on starting a family soon but have already gotten any vaccinations containing thimerosal recently, talk with your healthcare provider about alternative options for avoiding exposure during pregnancy.

Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads

Refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads are made with raw eggs. The risk of food poisoning from these products is high, even during pregnancy. Throw any out you have in your fridge right now!

If you’re unsure whether a particular product contains raw eggs, check the label. It should say “contains eggs” on the package if there are any raw egg ingredients in it (such as mayonnaise).

Spicy foods

Spicy foods can cause an upset stomach and make you feel sick. Spicy foods can also make you feel nauseous, hot, dizzy, tired, and weak.

If you’re pregnant, try not to eat too much spicy food. Choose milder foods instead. If you do eat something spicy, make sure you drink plenty of water afterward and don’t overdo it on other dishes that day.

Deli meats and hot dogs (unless they are reheated until steaming hot)

If you’re eating deli meat and hot dogs, make sure they are either heated until steaming hot or thoroughly cooked. Deli meats that have not been reheated can contain bacteria that can make you sick and cause your baby to develop health problems.

Deli meats are high in nitrates, which when consumed by humans can be converted into nitrites. Nitrites have been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses, so it’s important to avoid them during pregnancy.

When you eat smoked or cured meat products like bacon or salami, the nitrate in the food is converted into a carcinogen called nitrosamines that may have negative effects on both you and your baby. These same risks also apply to processed meats such as sausages and hot dogs if they haven’t been thoroughly cooked before consumption (which means heating them until they’re steaming hot).

Canned foods that are not labeled “BPA free”

The chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the lining of cans, and it can leach into food. The FDA has warned that BPA has been linked to reproductive system problems and other health issues in humans; it is also a possible human carcinogen. Avoid canned foods that are not labeled “BPA free” to limit your exposure to this chemical.

You can be careful about the food you eat when you are pregnant. The foods that you eat can affect the health of your baby. So, it is important to choose healthy foods and avoid eating any unhealthy or harmful food items.

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