Foods You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

By Hannah |
|5 min read

Your diet during pregnancy could affect your baby's development, as explained in Nutrition During Pregnancy Impacts Offspring's Epigenetic Status—Evidence from Human and Animal Studies - 2015. As a pregnant woman, you should have well-balanced meals which contain essential vitamins and nutrients that your developing baby needs. However, if you have an unhealthy diet during pregnancy, the fetus could suffer from health issues such as poor development, high levels of cholesterol and sugar, and even obesity. In most cases, these health issues are long-term or irreversible. If you want to have a healthy child, remember these foods to avoid during pregnancy.

Protect Your Baby's Health by Avoiding These Foods

Women who are going through the delicate process of pregnancy should avoid eating certain foods which can affect their baby negatively. There are some foods which should be consumed rarely and some which should be completely avoided.

  • High-mercury fish: Mercury is a very poisonous element which can be found in polluted bodies of water. There are types of fish which contain high mercury levels, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna. A pregnant woman should avoid eating these types of fish as it is poisonous to the fetus.

  • Undercooked, raw and processed meats and fish: Consumption of undercooked or raw food during pregnancy should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with several bacteria and parasites such as Toxoplasma, E. coli, salmonella, and listeria. These bacteria can cause stillbirths or neurological illnesses, such as mental retardation, epilepsy, and blindness. It is safer to consume whole cuts of meat than cut meats such as patties, burgers, and minced meat since most of the bacterias mentioned above are found on the surface of whole pieces of meats. Cut meats should be thoroughly cooked to avoid the risk of infections.

  • Soft cheeses: There are some soft cheeses which may contain listeria. If a pregnant woman consumes listeria, it increases the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, infection for the baby, and even death.

  • Liver products: Animal liver products are rich in nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper. However, consuming too much vitamin A from animal meats are not good during pregnancy. This could cause an abnormal increase in copper levels and even vitamin A toxicity which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity. During pregnancy, you are advised to consume liver products no more than once a week.

  • Raw shellfish: Raw or uncooked shellfish is a food to avoid during pregnancy since it can lead to many of the mentioned seafood-related illnesses. Some of the possible infections could be prevented by cooking. However, it does not prevent algae-related infections which are harmful especially during pregnancy.

  • Caffeine and alcohol: During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you should avoid caffeine to avoid the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. While some studies show that caffeine is permissible, just to be safe you should limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg per day. This is because caffeine is a diuretic which reduces the fluid in your body. This could cause calcium and water loss which is bad for your unborn baby. Instead of drinking caffeine, you'd be better off taking in plenty of water and milk. Alcohol is not recommended at any stage of the pregnancy, due to the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Babies who are exposed to alcohol in the womb are often slower to develop intellectually, can suffer from heart defects, and may have behavioral issues The effects are permanent and incurable.

  • Raw and partially cooked eggs: You should not eat raw eggs or any food made with raw eggs during pregnancy to avoid the risk of exposure to salmonella. These include homemade dressings, homemade ice cream or custards, and mayonnaise. However, if the recipe is cooked, it decreases the risk of exposure to salmonella. Consumption of manufactured products which are made with pasteurized eggs, like commercial ice cream, dressings, and eggnog have a lower risk of salmonella exposure. You should also be cautious when eating out, as restaurants may not be using pasteurized eggs in their recipes.

If you are pregnant and feel unwell after you have eaten some of the foods to avoid during pregnancy, please see a doctor immediately to avoid the risk of complications and possible harm to your unborn baby.

What Pregnant Women Should Eat

Since you now know the list of foods to avoid when pregnant, you should also know what kinds of food are good for you and your baby's development. This could help you create a healthy dietary plan for your everyday meals and snacks.

  • Fruits and green leafy vegetables: You need at least 70 mg of Vitamin C daily during pregnancy, which is found in fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

  • Lean Meat: Consumption of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and beans contain protein, B vitamins, and iron which are all essential for you during pregnancy. But please remember the warnings mentioned above, and avoid uncooked and partially cooked meats and eggs, and certain types of fish.

  • Dairy products: During pregnancy, you need at least 1000 mg of calcium daily. Calcium is important for building strong teeth and bones, normal blood clotting, muscle and nerve function. If you don't consume enough, your body will take it from your bones which could cause bone problems like pains in your joints, pubic area and tailbone. Sources of calcium include milk, cheese, cream soups and puddings. It could also be found in green vegetables, seafood, beans, and dried peas.

  • Nuts: Nuts are good options for healthy snacks since they are rich in vitamin B and E and they also contain important minerals like zinc, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper.

  • Oatmeal: A common problem during pregnancy is a poorly regulated digestive system. Consumption of oats is good for your health especially during pregnancy since it has dietary fiber that helps look after your digestion.

  • Whole grains: Breads and grains are good sources of carbohydrates which are the main source of energy during pregnancy. Whole grains also contain important nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins.

As a pregnant woman, you should always consider the food you eat because it greatly affects not only you but also the health of your unborn baby.

All of the information mentioned above is for your reference only. If you want more detailed and customized suggestions for your personal circumstances, please visit your doctor.



By clicking into any content on this site, you agree to our privacy and cookies policy.