Food during pregnancy: what to avoid

It's important to eat a healthy diet when you're pregnant. This includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, calcium rich foods and meats. In addition, there are particular foods that can be problematic for pregnant women. Our best advice is to avoid these 10 foods if possible.

An additional note about food during pregnancy: It is definitely possible to have a diet without meat in pregnancy. However, if you are a vegetarian let your healthcare provider know as you may need supplementation for iron, B12 and Vitamin D.

Stay safe and avoid these foods in pregnancy:

  1. Raw meat.

    Uncooked meat may contain bacteria called listeria or in some cases parasites called toxoplasmosis.

  2. Deli meats.

    If eating deli meats, always reheat until steaming to kill potential bacteria

  3. Smoked seafood.

    Refrigerated smoked seafood should be avoided due to risk of listeria.

  4. Raw shellfish.

    Do not eat raw shellfish. Cooked shellfish is OK.

  5. Raw eggs.

    Do not eat raw eggs. That includes licking the bowl of cake batter that contains a raw egg!

  6. Soft cheeses.

    Imported soft cheeses may contain listeria.

  7. Paté.

    Avoid patés made from liver during pregnancy.

  8. Caffeine.

    Avoid caffeine during the first trimester. After the first trimester limit to 1 cup of coffee a day.

  9. Alcohol.

    There is no amount of alcohol known to be safe during pregnancy.

  10. Unwashed vegetables.

    Wash all vegetables well to avoid exposure to toxoplasmosis which may contaminate the soil where vegetables are grown.


Questions? Please call and talk with us. Our pregnancy care team includes experienced nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physicians. We welcome new patients and transfers at any gestational age.

What our moms say:

Dr. Kelly is one of the best ob/gyns I have ever worked with! Her knowledge is amazing and her personality is even better! Dr. Kelly gives great suggestions for dealing with any questions or concerns that I have, and she knows the latest medical treatments. I trusted her completely with my prenatal care and the delivery of my twins 7 years ago. Now I continue to see her yearly because she is so personable and takes great care of me.
Anon - Patient