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15 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy & Toddlers • 08 May 2017
In addition to a long list of healthy foods to eat during pregnancy, in a world plagued by many dangers and diseases there are certain foods to avoid during pregnancy. Taking good care of yourself, and perhaps even more importantly your unborn baby, is one of your most vital priorities. As a healthy diet is key to a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Here are some foods to avoid during pregnancy:


1.)Raw meat – You can contract bacterial infections called toxoplasmosis, salmonella poisoning and coliform from ingesting undercooked or raw meat.  If you contract toxoplasmosis, there is always a chance that you can transmit it to your baby via your placenta. 

If your baby contracts it, there may be several negative consequences, among which are miscarriage, seizures and hearing loss. Salmonella poisoning and coliform infection are two types of food poisoning that cause severe diarrhoea.

Although this is unlikely to cause any direct harm to your unborn baby, it will make you feel extremely sick or become dehydrated, which is undesirable and dangerous to you and the baby. Avoid contracting these infections by ensuring that any meat you ingest is thoroughly cooked.

2.)Deli meat – Including Vienna sausages, ham and salami, these meats are prepared out of eye’s range, which means you won’t know whether it is raw or not, and whether the hands that prepared it, were clean. In addition to toxoplasmosis, salmonella and coliform, you can also contract listeria (aka listeriosis), which is known to cause miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.

If you have listeria, your baby may also be born extremely ill and need to be treated accordingly. By avoiding deli meat during your pregnancy, you help your baby to be born healthy and full-term.

3.)Paté – Though delectable, it is best to avoid any kind of paté during pregnancy.

This condiment usually contains much more listeria bacteria than other meat products, which puts your child at risk. Liver paté also contains a very high amount of vitamin A, which can cause liver toxicity and serious birth defects in your baby.


4.)Fish high in mercury – Many pregnant women nowadays complain that they are not allowed to eat sushi while pregnant. The reason to avoid sushi is that many types of fish used to make it are high in mercury.

High mercury levels in your diet can negatively affect your baby’s brain and nervous system development. It is best to limit, but not stop, your intake of fish during pregnancy. Completely avoid eating swordfish, shark and tuna, among others, as these contain too much mercury.

5.)Smoked seafood – This can contain listeria bacteria, which is dangerous to your baby.

6.)Raw shellfish – This may also contain harmful bacteria which may cause severe food poisoning. Make sure all shellfish you eat, is thoroughly cooked.


7.)Unwashed vegetables – As toxoplasmosis bacteria can be found in soil, which is where vegetables grow, it is important to make sure you wash all vegetables before you eat them.

8.)Raw sprouts – These may be contaminated with E.coli or salmonella, which may cause severe food poisoning if ingested.

9.)Salads made in store – As these are also made out of eye’s range, there is no way you can know if salads are made under proper hygienic conditions. It is especially dangerous to buy salads that contain meat or seafood, as these may contain listeria or other harmful bacteria. Rather make your salad yourself.


10.)Caffeine – It is extremely important to avoid too much caffeine, especially during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Too much caffeine may lead to your baby being born with a low birth weight. It is best to limit your intake of caffeine to two mugs of instant coffee per day.

11.)Unpasteurised dairy products – Unpasteurised milk or cream may contain listeria bacteria. This also includes soft cheeses like Feta, camembert and other soft cheeses. Always check that cheese is pasteurised before you buy it.

12.)Unpasteurised juice or ciders – These can be contaminated with E.coli bacteria.

13.)Alcohol – Although some studies condone one to two units of alcohol up to twice a week during pregnancy, ingestion of alcohol in any amount is not recommended by most physicians.

The use of alcohol during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause several physical, neurological and behavioural problems in your child. It is best to stay away from alcohol altogether during pregnancy and lactation.

*Bonus - Other foods

14.)Raw eggs – Eggs sunny-side-up or completely raw is not advisable during pregnancy. As is common in poultry, salmonella bacteria may be present in the eggs, and this might cause severe food poisoning and dehydration.

15.)Raw cookie dough or batters – As these often contain raw egg, it should be avoided as it could cause food poisoning.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to what you eat while you are pregnant. Taking care of your unborn child is one of your most important missions in this special time. After all, you are a sacred vessel, carrying the future of our kind.

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