What Not to Eat While Pregnant

Prepared raw egg in white bowl

Eating when pregnant can be confusing; while your body may be telling you to guzzle cheese popcorn, experts might tell you this isn’t the best thing for you. Here is a simple list of the things to avoid when pregnant.

Raw fish

While certain types of fish are good for pregnancy, raw fish can contain high levels of mercury which has been linked to developmental delays. It’s best to avoid whenever possible, and yes, that does include sushi. If you’re unsure about what kinds of fish can be consumed, one easy trick to remember is avoiding predators: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish should not be eaten while you’re pregnant.


Perhaps the two most important things when you’re pregnant are to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest, which is why caffeine is off-limits. Caffeine keeps you up, but it is also a diuretic, meaning it will dehydrate you, and fast. Steering clear of caffeine whenever possible is for the best, but if you can’t completely cut it out, try making the switch from coffee to a less-caffeinated option, like green tea; this will help you stay hydrated and it contains antioxidants to give your immune system a boost.

If you must have that caffeine fix, try switching to less-caffeinated options like green tea during pregnancy.

Unpasteurized meat and dairy

Pregnancy requires you to up your calcium intake, but be sure to steer clear of unpasteurized dairy; it can contain listeria, a bacteria that can survive in cold temperatures and that has been linked to miscarriage. Thankfully this doesn’t mean cutting out all dairy, just opt for pasteurized, and soft cheese addicts be warned: these delicious delicacies are often made with unpasteurized milk, so check ingredients lists before purchasing. Deli meats also pose a listeria risk, so any meats you eat from a deli should be reheated until they start steaming.


The links between alcohol and fetal alcohol syndrome are well-documented, but what is not clear is how much alcohol can cause it. Be safe and cut out all alcohol, bringing your risks down to zero.

Unwashed vegetables

Raw fruits and vegetables can be a source of toxoplasmosis, a blood infection caused by a parasite in soil. Wash all raw vegetables in cold water before you consume them. Even if the label says they are pre-washed, the best way to be sure is to do it yourself.

Still not sure?

If you’re an absolute sushi addict or maybe just dying for a cup of coffee, or if you’re at all uncertain about whether or not something not mentioned above is ok for you to eat, ask for help! The best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity is talk to your doctor; they can help assess weaknesses in your diet and advise you on your cravings.