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Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy


Updated July 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Pregnant woman making salad.
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You may wonder what is on the list of foods to avoid in pregnancy. Sometimes you might feel like it's a long list, but here are the basics:

Don't Eat

  • Raw Meat
    Raw meat can infect you with salmonella or toxoplasmosis. Foods to avoid include: sushi, rare meats.

  • Soft Cheeses
    Because of the way these cheeses are made, they may contain harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized cheeses include: brie, feta, Camambert, bleu cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco etc. More information on cheese in pregnancy.

  • Raw Eggs
    Salmonella is the risk from raw egg. Foods to avoid include: cake batter, raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, custards, mayo, egg nog or Hollandaise sauce.

  • Fish: Mercury
    Mercury can be harmful to you baby because it can lead to brain damage. Foods to avoid: tilefish, king mackerel shark and sword fish. More information on fish in pregnancy.

  • Fish: PCBs
    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) is associated with memory difficulties and lower IQs. Fish included in the PCB warning include: bluefish, stripped bass, salmon, pike, trout, walleye. (This may be a regional warning since some of these are fresh water fish. Know where your fish comes from and who to ask.)

Foods That Require Special Attention

  • Deli Meats
    Due to the risk of listeriosis, you will want to ensure that all deli meats are thoroughly reheated, this includes hot dogs. The internal temperature of the meat should be 165 degrees.

  • Liver
    Excessive amounts of vitamin A in non-beta-carotene form can cause birth defects. The food in this category is liver.

Food Safety Checklist for Pregnancy Food and Drug Administration.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Pregnancy & Childbirth
  4. Your Pregnant Body
  5. Nutrition in Pregnancy
  6. Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy - Healthy Pregnancy Tips

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