What Not To Eat While Pregnant: Foods To Avoid & Limit

When you’re pregnant, chances are high, you’ll change up your food plan to offer the form of vitamins and nourishment wanted to maintain you and your rising child wholesome.

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However, there are a couple of meals and drinks you must avoid that may be probably dangerous to you or your growing youngster — primarily because of threat of foodborne sickness or excessive ranges of mercury.

Whether it’s your first being pregnant otherwise you’re on child quantity two (or three) and want a refresher, Ob/Gyn Rebecca Starck, MD, President of Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital, offers a crash course on what meals and drinks to keep away from whereas pregnant. From sushi to protected caffeine ranges, we’ve received you covered.

Fish and seafood

Avoid fish with elevated ranges of methylmercury — which could be very dangerous to people — as they will trigger mind injury or developmental delays. According to guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s greatest to keep away from the next fish, which have excessive ranges of mercury:

  • Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico).
  • Bigeye tuna.
  • Marlin.
  • Orange roughy.
  • Swordfish.
  • Shark.
  • King mackerel.

Additionally, should you’re pregnant, you must keep away from all uncooked fish, which suggests forgoing sushi and sashimi. Fish or shellfish that’s seared or undercooked — that’s oysters, clams, mussels and scallops — are additionally a no-go.

Plus, ACOG tips suggest that anybody pregnant or breastfeeding ought to restrict some sort of fish.

For instance, you must eat no a couple of serving per week (in different phrases, not more than 6 ounces) of sure sorts of fish, equivalent to:

  • Albacore (white) tuna.
  • Yellowfin tuna.
  • Snapper.
  • Grouper.
  • Halibut.
  • Mahi Mahi.

Or you must eat not more than two to 3 servings per week (8 to 12 ounces in complete) of fish like:

  • Shrimp.
  • Salmon.
  • Sardine.
  • Tilapia.
  • Shellfish (clams, scallops, oysters).
  • Catfish.
  • Squid.
  • Pollock.
  • Crawfish.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), also called environmental pollution, ought to be averted, too. That’s why docs suggest understanding the place the fish you eat is sourced, to know the potential dangers.

If you’re not sure what’s wholesome, you must discuss along with your physician about how usually or whether or not it’s fit for human consumption sure fish or seafood — and, if that’s the case, what serving measurement is greatest.


By avoiding sure meats, you’ll scale back your threat of contracting Listeria, a foodborne sickness which will trigger untimely supply, miscarriage and even fetal loss of life. Avoid: 

  • Lunch meats (chilly cuts or deli meat).
  • Fermented or dry sausages.
  • Refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a deli, meat counter or a grocery retailer’s refrigerated part. Canned or shelf-stable variations are OK, however be certain to refrigerate after opening.
  • Rare or undercooked meats or poultry.

Cooked sizzling canine, nonetheless, will be eaten moderately.


Eating that scrumptious queso at your favourite Mexican joint must be placed on maintain for now. Unless you’re consuming tender cheeses clearly labeled “made with pasteurized milk,” Dr. Starck recommends avoiding them for now. Soft cheeses to keep away from embrace:

  • Feta.
  • Brie.
  • Camembert and different bleu cheeses.
  • Queso blanco, fresco or panela.

Raw Eggs

In common, it’s greatest to keep away from consuming meals with uncooked eggs due to potential publicity to SalmonellaBut if you’re pregnant, it’s particularly necessary to avoid:

  • Caesar dressing.
  • Homemade mayonnaise.
  • Hollandaise and béarnaise sauce.
  • Uncooked cake batter and cookie dough.

Uncooked baking flour may also include E. coli and Salmonella, because it’s constituted of uncooked grain. That’s additionally one more reason to not eat any uncooked cookie dough or cake batter.

Additionally, some stunning dessert meals can include uncooked eggs, together with ice cream, icing, mousse and tiramisu. It’s greatest to verify the diet label (or ask the chef upfront) earlier than indulging.


You could also be placing your child in danger for fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) should you drink alcohol throughout being pregnant. FAS can have an effect on your child’s improvement and put them in danger for behavioral, bodily and studying issues.

“Avoid all beer, wine and hard liquor during pregnancy,” says Dr. Starck. “There is no safe level of consumption.”


Yes, you may nonetheless have your every day morning espresso, however solely to a sure extent. How a lot caffeine a drink has can range tremendously relying on the way it’s ready. 

“Make certain you limit your consumption to no more than 200 milligrams (mg) per day,” she says. For reference, an ordinary cup of espresso comprises 95 mg of caffeine.

Keep in thoughts that black, chamomile and inexperienced teas additionally include some caffeine. Similar to espresso, these will be consumed moderately, though caffeine ranges range relying on how a lot tea you utilize and the way it’s ready.


Salt causes your physique to retain water, so Dr. Starck recommends consuming salty meals moderately. 

“Too much salt could cause your blood pressure to rise, increasing your risk for pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and swelling due to fluid retention,” notes Dr. Starck.

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