Foods and Beverages to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman

Getting all the nutrients you need when you’re pregnant is very important. However, it is also very crucial to know which foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy.

There are so many questions and uncertainties around what is healthy for a pregnant woman to eat or not eat. Let’s look at foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy.

Alcohol and Caffeinated Beverages

We recommend entirely avoiding alcohol during pregnancy. Consumption of alcohol during

pregnancy has been linked to a higher risk of stillbirth or miscarriage. It could also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome if taken in excess.

A glass of wine during pregnancy is, at times, considered safe. Pregnant women who indulged in the occasional wine or beer before finding out they’re pregnant should not beat themselves up for having indulged. Experts believe that no amount of alcohol consumption is safe while pregnant.

When it comes to coffee and other caffeinated beverages, experts advise that pregnant women stick to less than 200mg per day. 200mg portions of coffee could be 12-ounce cup a day, 6 cups of green tea, 4 cups of black tea, or 4 cups of cola.

Herbal Tea

You may also want to go easy on herbal tea in order to keep your caffeine intake down.

However, the effects of herbal tea on the developing baby are yet to be fully documented.

To be on the safe side, you should avoid herbal tea unless your healthcare provider recommends otherwise.

Meat, Poultry, and Pates

Even though meat and poultry are considered necessary for a healthy and nutritious diet,

pregnant women should always make sure that all meat and poultry are fully cooked before


Thanks to technology, you can easily use a meat thermometer to make sure that food is thoroughly cooked.

By avoiding raw or undercooked meat and poultry, pregnant women are also preventing foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause stillbirth, miscarriage, or premature delivery.


Pregnant women need to be extra careful with the type of fish they consume, and where the fish is sourced from. Seafood high in mercury can pose a huge risk to your baby’s developing nervous system. Hence, pregnant women should avoid old, large fish because they have higher quantities of mercury.

They should avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, and raw shellfish like clams and

oysters. If you intend to consume fish caught in local waters, we recommend checking with your health department.

If you must consume fish and shellfish, cook until the flakes become opaque. For lobster,

shrimp, scallops, cook until they turn milky white. For mussels, clams, and oysters cook until the shells open and throw away shells that remain closed.

Uncooked fish like sushi and shellfish come with a huge risk of harmful bacteria. Hence,

pregnant women should avoid sushi as well as refrigerated smoked fish, such as salmon.

Vegetarian sushi and sushi rolls are good sushi alternatives.

Cheese, Milk, and Eggs

Low-fat dairy products, like skim milk, and cottage cheese can come in handy even during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized cheese and milk because they can cause foodborne diseases like listeriosis.

Pregnant women should also avoid raw or undercooked eggs because harmful bacteria could also contaminate them. You should also avoid food prepared with raw or partially cooked eggs.

Click here to learn more about pregnancy and food.


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