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Foods to avoid during pregnancy:

I made some notes about foods to avoid during pregnancy for my own reference and also for others mother-to-be to be shared. This is from my own notes from readings books and through the internet. Hopefully all this information can benefits other mother-to-be.

1. Processed foods with preservatives and coloring.

Reason: May contain high level of undesirable chemicals.

Example: Canned foods, processed meat, and packaged cake & cookies.

2. All types of pate (even vegetarian).

Reason: May contain high level of listeria bacteria than other foods.


- Rare, it only affects 1 pregnancy in every 25000.  

- Can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, severe illness in new-born babies or the loss of the baby at birth.

Symptom: Flu like illness.

3. Liver, liver product or cod liver oil.

Reason:  May contain high concentration of vitamin A.

Risk: Can cause birth defects.

Alternatives:  Eat multivitamin or prenatal supplement contains no more than 5,000 IUs of performed vitamin A.

4. Caffeine.


- May deplete calcium and iron.

- Can affect digestive system.
- Can raise blood pressure.
- Can cause dehydrations.

Risk: Can cause miscarriage.

Example: Tea, coffee, colas, energy drinks, chocolate and some medications.

Alternatives: Wean off coffee and tea just one or two cups a day with food.

5. Undercooked or raw shellfish.

- Can cause parasite infections (e.g. tapeworm).
- May contain Vibrio bacteria.

Symptom: Digestive upsets that may lead to severe food poisoning.

Example:Oysters, clams, and mussels.

6. Raw or undercooked fish.

Reason: May contain parasite or bacteria.

Example: Sushi.

7. Raw eggs and raw eggs products.

Reason: Can cause salmonella infections.

Risk: Food poisoning will not directly harm the baby but make the mother very unwell.

Example: cake batter, raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, custards, mayo, egg nog or Hollandaise sauce.

8. Raw meat.

Reason: Can cause Salmonella infections or Toxoplasmosis infections and may contains coliform bacteria.

- Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry.
- Cured meat such as salami and Parma ham.

Risk: Infection can lead to serious problems for the baby.

9. Oily fish.

Reason: Harmful pollutant, such as dioxins and PCBs and methyl mercury, can be found in fish.

- Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) is associated with memory difficulties and lower IQs.

Example: Tuna, shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, sardines, salmon and trout.

- Limit two portions of fish a week maximum.
- Take supplement with Omega-3 fatty acid design during pregnancy (please check with your health
- Choose fish that are small or medium in size as this means they have spent less time living in
  polluted waters (Bigger and older fish, the longer it has been exposed)

10. Alcohol

Reason: Can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and can interfere with health development of the baby

Example: All wines, beers and spirits/liquor.

11. Unwashed vegetables

Reason: Toxoplasmosis may contaminate the soil where the vegetables were grown.

12. Soft plastics, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer

Reason: May have Xenoestrogen exposure.

Risk: Hormon disruptor that may interfere with pregnancy hormones.

Example: Meat and dairy containing growth hormones.

- Avoid storing foods in soft plastics (e.g. clingfilm)
- Avoid microwaving foods in plastic
- Transfer food in glass container or cook conventionally
- Consider buying organic meat, dairy, and eggs where possible.
- Wash fruit and vegetable before eating.

13. Salt

Reason: Can contribute with high blood pressure.

Example: Added table salt, processed and convenience foods.

Alternatives: Celery salt or spices.

14. Herb

Reason: Outside of culinary use, herbs in large doses can interfere with pregnancy hormones.

Example: Large amount of herbal teas and herbal supplement.

- Vary herbal teas and limit to one or two cups a day.
- Avoid all herbal supplements in pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
- Check with a medical herbalist for herbs used for fertility.

15. Unpasteurized foods or soft cheese.

Reason: May contain bacteria call Listeria or E. coli.

- Can lead to foodborne illness.
- Can cause miscarriage.

Example: Brie, Feta, Camembert, Blue cheese, and  Maxican style cheese (e.g. queso blanco, queso fresco and panela)


- Read the product labels as being pasteurized or made by pasteurized milk.
- Consider buying pasteurized eggs.
- Eat hard cheese such as cheddar or swiss.

16. Unpasteurized Juice or cider (including fresh squeezed)

Reason: May contain E.coli bacteria.

- Drink pasteurized juice.
- Bring unpasteurized juice or cider to rolling boil and boil for at least 1 minute before drinking.

17. Unpasteurized goat’s milk and goat’s milk product.

Reason: May contain a parasite called toxoplasma.

Risk: Can seriously harm unborn baby.

18. Unpasteurized milk.

Reason: May contain bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria or Salmonella.

Alternatives: Drink pasteurized milk.

19. Ice cream.

Reason: Homemade ice cream may contain uncooked eggs, and may contain Salmonella.



1.100 Best Foods for Pregnancy by Charlotte Watts. (