What Not To Eat When Pregnant – The Complete List

Mother’s care is undefinable and it starts long before the baby is born, when it is just a blip of tissue in her womb. During pregnancy moms-to-be go through several degrees of stress; how to sit, how to walk, the scans, the tests, the pills, the superstitious beliefs, the hormonal changes etc. But, I consider eating shouldn’t be one of the reasons to fret.

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Although, all the advices (unwarranted, I tell you) you hear, from friends, colleagues, elders, grandparents and even from total strangers on what to eat and what not to eat when pregnant is enough to baffle you, it always is best to seek expert advice, don’t you think?

So, if you are wondering what to avoid (or consider) in these 9 months, then this guide will help you to make the right choice.

Also Read: Top 11 Foods to Overcome Nauseous

Why there’s a Restriction on What Not to Eat When Pregnant?

Foods that are contaminated with bacteria (listeria, toxoplasma, salmonella and e-coli bacteria), or exposed to microbes for longer period, and foods that have higher levels of mercury should be avoided.

Listeria, Campylobacter and Toxoplasma Gondi are found in animals, unpasteurised foods and in some plants which cause deadly diseases like Listeriosi, diarrhoeal diseases and Toxoplasmosis respectively.”



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Immunity level considerably drops in the course of pregnancy which leaves the mothers disposed to food borne infections.


Food borne infections may cause birth defects, miscarriages, restricted foetus growth and damaged brain development of the baby.

Complete Checklist of Foods Not To Eat When Pregnant!!

1) Certain Sea Food and Fishes

a) King Mackerel, Swordfish, Shark & Tile fish

Why  – Contains high level of mercury

b) Raw Oysters, Mussels and Clams

Why –  Cause Algae related infections

c) Contaminated Water Fishes

Why – Highly exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (Chlorine found in inks, adhesives, paints, electrical equipment…)

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Solution: Can serve up to two servings a week (12 ounces) of low mercury and high Omega-3 Fatty Acid freshwater fishes salmon, anchovies, trout, herring, sardines, tilapia, cod, tuna etc.

2) Eggs, Uncooked or Half-cooked

Why?  Contains Salmonella bacteria (Bacteria that cause typhoid)


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Solution: Eat completely boiled eggs with firm yolks (limit to 2 per day)

3) Half-cooked Meat, Poultry

Why?  Contain E-coli, Listeria and Toxoplasma Gondii

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Solution: Don’t eat them outside, wash the meats properly. Cook meat until they are piping hot or until tender.

4) Unpasteurised Soft Cheese (Feta, Brie, Camembert etc.)

Why? Contain bacteria that cause Listeriosis


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Solution: Make cheese with pasteurised milk. Eat hard cheese. Check labels before buying and include Cheddar, Swiss etc. in your diet.

5) Certain Nuts

Why?  Some nuts like peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, chestnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts can cause allergies and itches.

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Solution: Consult a doctor for allergy test.

6) Dairy Products

Why? Unpasteurized dairy products contain harmful microbes, causing food poisoning.


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Solution: Have only freshly boiled milk, check labels before buying ice-cream, ghee, paneer etc. Safer options include fermented soy milk, tofu, rice milk, oat and almond milk.

7) Store Brought Juices

Why? Unpasteurized, exposed to air juices and unwashed, low quality fruits may produce e-coli bacteria.

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Solution: Go for packaged juices; have freshly cut fruits and veggies at home.

8) Excessive Caffeine

 Why? Higher risks of still birth, high BP, pre-eclampsia and spontaneous abortions.


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Solution: Limit to 2 cups (200 ml) of coffee per day or Go for healthy alternatives.

9) Restaurant Made Salads

Why? Veggies, meats, eggs and fruits may not be of good quality. May contain Listeria.

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Solution: Eat fruits and veggies which are washed and salads prepared in hygienic place.

10) Raw Vegetable Sprouts

Why? Ideal place for bacteria and viruses to grow and cause stomach issues.


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Solution: Consume sprouts after searing or shallow frying them.

11) Artificial Sweeteners

Why? Saccharin and Aspartame (especially) are not filtered by placenta.

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Solution: Choose Natural Sugar Substitute instead.

12) Canned Foods

Why? Tinned foods might be too old and harbour bacteria due to longer shelf life. Foetal endocrine activity is affected due to the Bisphenol A lining in cans.


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Solution: Fresh is any day better to consume maximum nutrients.

13) Certain Herbs (Teas and Supplements)

Why? Herbs such as Senna, Wormwood, Saw Palmetto may contain toxins and are not thoroughly tested.

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Solution: Healthy Tea or Indian Chai is the safest herb. Or ask your doc to prescribe healthy multivitamins and tonics.

14) Road Side Foods

Why? They are unhygienic, use low quality oil and ingredients, and may cause food poisoning.


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Solution: Find recipes and prepare them at home.

15) Junk Foods

Why? Excessive cholesterol makes moms vulnerable to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

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Solution: Do not binge eat. Maintain a balanced diet. Only Fats that is good are OMEGA 3, 6 and 9 Fatty acids.

16) Leftovers

Why? Leftovers (even if properly refrigerated) may harbour bacteria for Botulism.


Solution: Eat ONLY freshly cooked foods or heat in high flame to avoid growth

17) Sugar Rich Food

Why? May increase BP level, chances of Diabetes, Obesity and Heart related issues.

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Solution: Curb down sugar intake (ice-creams, sweets, cakes etc.), especially in those 9 months.

18) Ready-to-Eat Food (Smoked Fishes, Poultry Stuffing, Meat Spread, Pate, Hot Dogs, Sausages etc.)

Why? Unpasteurised meat, mate, spread may harbour Listeria and half cooked stuffing may contain bacteria, Salmonella or Campylobacter.


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Solution: Cook ready to eat products at 165 degree F before serving, or rather make them in your home.

19) Vitamins in Excess

Why? Too much of vitamin dose will disrupt normal foetal growth, and cause congenital disorders in unborn babies and preterm labour.

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Solution: Don’t self-medicate. Ask your doctor for recommendations.

20) Nitrate in Excess

Why? Nitrate rich food like Bacon, Soda, Sausages etc. can lead to foetal abnormalities and poor limb formation.


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Solution:  Make a chart of Nitrate Rich Food and avoid them religiously.

21) Cookie and Cake Dough, Batter

Why? Even slightly raw dough or batter attracts pathogens which may cause chronic stomach ailments.

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Solution: Don’t eat raw dough or batter (don’t even try licking the spoon). Only consume freshly baked goodies and cakes.

22) Carbs (Breads, Muffins, Pizza or any Refined Flour Products)

Why? Not extremely harmful. But excessive consumption will cause constipation which is not a healthy sign of pregnancy.


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Solution: Replace them with high fibre flour produces like whole grain breads, brown bread sandwiches etc.

23) Alcohol

Why? Can lead to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome or interfere the development of vital organs in baby.

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Solution: DO NOT think of Alcohol at all. It is very harmful (Even during Breastfeeding).

24) Certain Fruits (Papaya, Grapes and Pineapple)


A) Green and unripe papaya contains latex which may trigger uterine contractions and early labour or miscarriage.

B) Pineapples are rich in Bromelain and can soften the cervix resulting in early labour.

C) Pesticides (resveratrol) sprayed in grape plants can cause toxicity in to be moms.


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Solution: Very ripe papayas are excellent for pregnancy, especially for lactation. Pineapple is advised only in the 9th month to induce labour. Add other fruits such as apple, banana in your diet.

Dear Readers,

Do let us know if you find the guide helpful during your gestation period. And don’t forget to share to other moms to be.