Foods to avoid during pregnancy typically include those that carry a risk of infection, such as undercooked or raw meat or fish, but you’ll want to limit your intake of caffeine and processed foods, too.
Thankfully, there are plenty of foods you can eat during pregnancy to stay healthy.
Here are 15 foods and beverages to avoid or minimize while pregnant.
Mercury is highly toxic element and can occur in polluted waters.
In higher amounts, it can affect your nervous system, immune system, and kidneys. It
Large marine fish can accumulate high amounts of mercury, so it’s best to avoid high mercury fish during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
High-mercury fish to avoid include:
- king mackerel
- tuna (especially bigeye tuna)
- tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
- orange roughy
Raw fish can become infected during handling, storing, and processing, including smoking or drying.
These types of infections can cause dehydration and weakness in the parents, and some can pass through the placenta to your baby, even if you don’t have any symptoms. They can increase the risk of preterm delivery, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and other serious health problems, according to the
Eating undercooked or raw meat can also increase your risk of infection from bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
Bacteria may threaten your own health and the health and safety of your little one.
Most bacteria occur on the surface of whole pieces of meat, but other bacteria may linger inside the muscle fibers.
Some whole cuts of meat — such as tenderloins, sirloins, or ribeye from beef, lamb and veal — may be safe to consume when not cooked all the way through. However, this only applies when the piece of meat is whole or uncut, and completely cooked on the outside. During pregnancy, it’s best to avoid any undercooked meat.
Cut meat, including meat patties, burgers, minced meat, pork, and poultry, are never safe to eat raw or undercooked.
Hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, and deli meat can also
It’s best to avoid deli meats and ensure processed meats you cook, such as sausages, are cooked through.
Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:
- lightly scrambled eggs
- raw batter
- hollandaise sauce
- homemade mayonnaise
- some homemade salad dressings
- homemade egg nog
- homemade ice cream
- some homemade cake icings
- eggs Benedict
Most commercial products containing raw eggs are made with pasteurized eggs and are safe to consume. However, always read the label to make sure.
Make sure to always cook eggs thoroughly or use pasteurized eggs.
However, consuming too much preformed vitamin A, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, can lead to congenital malformations and pregnancy loss.
Although this is mostly
However, the humid environment the seeds need to start sprouting is ideal for the growth of Salmonella, and it’s almost impossible to it wash off.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid raw sprouts altogether, although sprouts are safe to consume when cooked, according to the
The surface of unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites such as Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. These can come from the soil or through handling.
Contamination can occur at any time during production, harvest, processing, storage, transportation, or retail.
Toxoplasma is a parasite that can linger on plant foods. Most people have no symptoms, but the parasite can cross the placenta
To minimize the risk of infection, thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables with clean water and peel or cook them before eating.
Raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products can
These infections can all have life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby.
The bacteria can occur naturally or result from contamination during collection or storage. Pasteurization can kill any harmful bacteria without changing the nutritional value of the products.
To reduce the risk of infections, eat only pasteurized dairy products.
Some soft cheeses
Examples include queso fresco, queso blanco, queso blando, queso panela, and queso ranchero.
Only eat soft cheeses that have a label to show they are pasteurized.
During pregnancy, you need a good intake of nutrients, such as protein, folate, choline, and iron.
Explore some new ways to sneak veggies into your meals without sacrificing taste.
Fruit juices can be beneficial during pregnancy, but opt for juices that are pasteurized and have no added sugar.
Raw juices, like those squeezed on market stalls,
Since no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it’s best to avoid it altogether.
Research has linked a high intake of caffeine to a risk of pregnancy loss, stillbirth, small weight at birth, and various developmental issues.
Caffeine is absorbed very quickly and passes easily into the placenta. Because babies and their placentas don’t have the main enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine, high levels can build up.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day during pregnancy.
It’s essential to drink plenty of water during pregnancy to avoid dehydration.
Most tap water in the United States is
Contact your local health authority or environmental agency if you have concerns about your water.
What foods should be avoided in the first trimester?
Foods to avoid are those that pose a risk of infection, those containing substances that may harm your baby, and foods that don’t benefit your health overall. They include raw or undercooked meat or fish, raw eggs or sprouts, fish that may contain mercury, and ultraprocessed foods.
What are high risk foods during pregnancy?
It’s best to avoid processed meats during pregnancy, as they may become contaminated with various bacteria during processing or storage. Also, they can contain high levels of sodium and additives that don’t promote optimum health.
Can you eat grapes while pregnant?
Yes, you can eat grapes if you’re pregnant. All fruits provide essential nutrients and are beneficial during pregnancy. However, it’s best to avoid unwashed fruits and those that may have come into contact with contaminated water or other pollutants.
Is it safe to eat mozzarella when pregnant?
Yes, it’s safe to eat mozzarella if you’re pregnant. It’s also safe to eat hard cheeses like cheddar or Parmesan; pasteurized cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese, or feta; and any cheese that has been cooked until very hot.
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to avoid foods and beverages that may put you and your baby at risk.
Although most foods are safe to enjoy, it’s best to avoid items such as raw fish, unpasteurized dairy, alcohol, and high mercury fish. It’s also best to limit your intake of processed foods, as they can also be high in added sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats.
Quick tips for foods to avoid when pregnant
- Avoid high-mercury fish including shark, swordfish, tuna, and marlin.
- Raw fish and shellfish can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Some of these can cause adverse health effects and harm both you and baby.
- Raw or undercooked meat may contain harmful bacteria. As a general rule, meat should be cooked all the way through.
- Raw eggs may be contaminated with Salmonella, and may put you and your baby at risk. Be sure to thoroughly cook eggs before eating.
- Organ meat is a great source of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper. To prevent consuming too much vitamin A limit your intake of organ meat to a few ounces once a week.
- Limit caffeine intake to under 200 mg per day, which is about 2 to 3 cups of coffee. High caffeine intake during pregnancy may limit baby’s growth and cause low birth weight.
- Raw sprouts may be contaminated with bacteria. Only eat them thoroughly cooked.
- Fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with harmful bacteria, including Toxoplasma. It’s important to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables with plenty of clean water.
- Don’t consume unpasteurized milk, cheese, or fruit juice, as these foods increase the risk of bacterial infections.
- Avoid all alcohol. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Eating processed foods during pregnancy can increase your risk of excess weight gain, gestational diabetes, and complications. This can have long-term health implications for you and your child.