9 Common Foods to Avoid While Pregnant or Expecting

foods to avoid while pregnant

Are you pregnant and hungry? When you are expecting, food can mean both life and death. You must avoid certain foods while pregnant. What you put in your mouth can potentially make you and your unborn baby ill. Food poisoning and allergies are can get deadly for pregnant women. So before you go shopping, let me first give you a list of common foods to avoid while you are expecting.

  1. Seafood and some types of fish

It’s not about declaring war against all kinds of seafood. Just abstain from eating certain types. Common fish strains such as tilefish, tuna, swordfish, mackerel, shark, marlin, sea bass, grouper and bluefish all have high mercury content. Consuming mercury during pregnancy may lead to decreased brain development, developmental delays or worse, retardation. While pregnant or during breastfeeding, better stick to seafood low in mercury such as tilapia, shrimps, sardines, freshwater trout, scallops, squid, catfish, flounder, and mackerel.

  1. Raw food

Stop the habit of eating raw or half-cooked dishes during pregnancy. Undercooked foods such steak, fresh oysters, sushi, clams and unpasteurized eggs can expose you to Listeria. You can also get it from eating raw cookie dough. You must also refrain from eating deli meats (ham, turkey), hot dogs, bologna, sausages, and salami.

Although Listeriosis results to simple flu-like symptom for most people, getting Listeria when you are pregnant is scary. This organism can potentially cause stillbirth, infection to the unborn child, premature delivery, and even miscarriage. Avoid eating in some restaurants where most dishes are served raw.

  1. Raw milk and soft cheeses

Don’t drink milk unless it is pasteurized. Avoid eating soft cheeses such as feta, brie, Roquefort, queso blanco and blue cheese. They can also harbor Listeria. Read the food labels before you buy. It helps also to stay away from homemade ice cream and custards.

  1. Raw sprouts and salads

Fresh sprouts are bacteria magnets. This vegetable is usually eaten half cooked. Germs and viruses can accumulate in the sprouts after leaving them at room temperature even for just a few hours. Cook your sprouts thoroughly. I am also skeptical about eating restaurant-made salads. These greens are soaked in chlorine-laced water. Bacteria love anything moist and warm, so your garden-fresh salad is also a ticking time bomb.

  1. Nuts

Practice caution if you crave and eat nuts while pregnant. Nuts are allergy triggers. Anaphylaxis can happen if you suddenly eat something that triggered your allergy. Symptoms include the difficulty of breathing, constriction of throat, itchiness, and swelling of lips and face. Common nuts such as peanuts, chestnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia, walnuts and pistachio can trigger a strong allergy. Nuts can also choke you so take caution. Nut allergy can kill you unless people around you can act without haste to apply first aid and call for help.

  1. Unpasteurized fruit juices

Don’t risk acquiring E-coli or Salmonella by drinking unpasteurized or fresh juice. Raw fruits are also bacteria-magnets. A server handling your fruits after holding some cash can transmit these germs into your drink. Stay away from store-bought blender shakes. Better stick with eating fruit cuts and drinking packaged pasteurized juice.

  1. Canned goods

Canned foods are usually packed full of salt or sugar or both. Canned goods may also contain nitrates that help to keep food fresh. Eating foods high in nitrites is harmful to your child’s health. Nitrites can also reduce the food’s nutritional value. The best way is to go organic. If that is not possible, just take note to eat fresh food rather than canned. Your body and your unborn baby will thank you.

  1. Alcohol

There is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. Don’t expose your unborn child to alcohol as it can impede his development. If consumed to the point of intoxication, your baby has a possibility of acquiring Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

  1. Caffeine

This one is a little controversial. Doctors are divided into two schools of thought when it comes to caffeine intake during pregnancy. Some doctors may say that you can drink coffee while pregnant. Take this with a grain of salt (pardon the pun). That’s because excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy can contribute to miscarriage and premature birth. If you are pregnant and feel drowsy, then sleep. Don’t fix your sleepiness with a cup of coffee.


Pregnancy is about making wise decisions. You’ve got to decide right while fighting morning sickness, afternoon slumps, and midnight cravings. Take a little sacrifice for you and your child’s health by eating what is good and healthy. After all, things that are life-changing rarely come easy.

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