Top 10 foods to avoid in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a delicate time for both your body and your baby. Sadly, there are certain foods that should be avoided for various reasons, the top 10 and reasons why are below:

  1. Pâté – high in potentially toxic Vitamin A and may contain Listeria
  2. Raw or partially cooked eggs 🥚 – risk of Salmonella poisoning.
  3. Raw or undercooked meat and fish 🐟 – risk of food poisoning bacteria and parasitic infection ie: Toxoplasmosis which may damage the retina of the eye. Toxoplasmosis parasites can also be transferred through cat faeces and via garden soil so take extra care if you grow your own veg in the garden, make sure it is all washed thoroughly before consumption (and if possible, leave the picking of it to someone else!)
    Sushi 🍣 should be ok to eat, if made fresh – check the fish has been frozen appropriately first to reduce the chances of containing a parasitic worm (very unlikely to be found in farmed fish destined to be sushi because of the rearing method).
  4. Liver products – contain high levels of vitamin A – toxic to a developing foetus.
  5. Some types of fish 🦈– avoid shark, swordfish and marlin or any others with potentially high Mercury content. High levels of Mercury found in these fish may affect the developing nervous system of the foetus.
  6. Raw shellfish 🦐 – risk of food poisoning.
  7. Alcohol 🍷 🍺 🥂– deemed as toxic to a developing foetus.
  8. Excess caffeine ☕☕☕☕– can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life when consumed in excess. Limit the amount of caffeine you have to 200 milligrams (mg) a day. This is about the same as 2 cups of coffee.
  9. Peanuts and peanut products 🥜 – a family history of nut allergy or other allergic reactions such as hay fever, asthma and eczema may place an unborn baby in a higher risk group for developing a peanut allergy later in life.
  10. Soft and ripened cheeses 🧀 such as Camembert and blue vein cheeses – may contain Listeria

This list is not intended to scare you, there are still so many foods that can be consumed safely during pregnancy (way more than those that are unsafe), but avoiding the foods on this list will put you in good stead for a happy healthy pregnancy.

There are many websites with updated lists of foods to avoid during pregnancy, take a look to keep up to date:

  1. NHS, UK
  2. Food Standards, Australia
  3. Food Safety, United States