The good news is that eating well while you’re pregnant is pretty similar to a healthy diet for non-pregnant women. You should aim to eat regular meals and focus on eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Try to keep food that is high in sugar or processed to a minimum.
For food safety reasons, raw or rare meats, liver, sushi, raw eggs, soft cheeses, and unpasteurized milk or juices should be eliminated from your diet. Below you will find further details on some of the things to not to eat when pregnant1,2,3:
Fish with mercury, raw fish and shellfish
Do not eat high-mercury fish such as marlin, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, and tilefish. Only consume canned, chunk light tuna in moderation.
To the disappointment of all sushi lovers, raw fish and shellfish are also among the foods not to eat when pregnant as they may contain bacteria or parasites. Smoked seafood should also be excluded from your menu.
Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk
Soft cheeses such as feta, brie or camembert also make the list of what pregnant women should not eat. Since they are made with raw milk, they can be contaminated with listeria bacteria4. Rule of thumb: Look for the label that says it’s pasteurized!
Unpasteurized milk and juice
The same rule applies for juice and milk. Freshly squeezed juice or any type of unpasteurized juice may contain harmful bacteria (E.coli, listeria, salmonella)5 and shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy.
Also on your list of what not to eat when pregnant should be raw eggs or foods containing raw or undercooked eggs, such as cake batter, cookie dough, soft boiled or scrambled eggs. Watch out for foods that might contain undercooked or lightly cooked eggs such as salads, dressings, eggnog, and ice cream. During your pregnancy, you should only eat fully cooked pasteurized egg.
Undercooked or raw meat and poultry
Undercooked or raw meat may harbor listeria. Play it safe and avoid deli meats during pregnancy or reheat the meat until it’s steaming. Refrigerated patés or meat spreads are also off-limits. As for whole cuts of meat, make sure they are cooked all the way through before consuming.
Raw or undercooked sprouts
Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, radish, clover, beans or any other sprouts carry a risk of foodborne illness, so they should be cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of bacterial growth6. The same goes for unwashed fruits and vegetables and store-bought salads.