As a pediatric dietitian, meals security for moms-to-be is my specialty. Right here’s an inventory of 10+ meals to keep away from while you’re pregnant. Plus, I’m additionally sharing an inventory of the perfect and healthiest meals to eat while you’re anticipating.

As a pediatric and household dietitian, I’m usually requested about secure vs. unsafe meals throughout being pregnant, in addition to concerning the best foods for a healthy pregnancy. Most meals are utterly secure for pregnant ladies to get pleasure from with out fear. Nonetheless, there are some meals that ought to be prevented throughout being pregnant (and even while you’re TRYING to get pregnant). These meals could be probably dangerous to a growing child in addition to a pregnant mother. The danger isn’t the meals itself, however the potential for the meals to comprise dangerous micro organism that may result in meals poisoning—suppose salmonella, E. coli, or listeria. Meals which are uncooked and unpasteurized are sometimes a danger. You so don’t need food poisoning if you are pregnant, so it’s higher to skip these meals. It’s not perpetually—simply 40 weeks (give or take)!

Right here’s why meals security is so essential throughout being pregnant

Whenever you’re pregnant, your immune system is fragile and never as robust as regular, which means that your immunity to sure foodborne pathogens decreases, so that you and your unborn babe are at increased danger for meals poisoning. Take Listeria (a dangerous micro organism that some meals might comprise), for instance: research present that the incidence of listeria amongst pregnant ladies stays about 20 instances increased in contrast with the overall inhabitants.[i] And it’s not simply coping with some delicate diarrhea… Listeria may cause miscarriage. The excellent news is that meals producers take measures to cut back issues like Listeria, so it’s uncommon that you simply’d get sick from consuming any of those meals. However errors nonetheless occur. That is why, throughout being pregnant particularly, it’s higher to play it secure.

pregnant woman wearing a white shirt holding her stomach

However first, don’t stress.

Okay, increase your hand should you glanced on the meals record beneath and freaked out slightly as a result of you’ve eaten Brie cheese, runny eggs, or sushi earlier than or throughout being pregnant. Don’t fear! Take a deep breath. You’re nice. Your child is ok. The danger from consuming meals on this record is getting meals poisoning from salmonella or listeria or one other micro organism. However you didn’t—and also you’re nice. Meals poisoning just isn’t going to occur now should you ate the sushi 3 months in the past. You’re good to go! Take one other deep breath.

Play it secure by paying attention to these meals to keep away from when pregnant:

1. Sure fish and shellfish

  • Refrigerated, smoked seafood like smoked salmon (lox) or smoked trout.
  • Uncooked fish or shellfish: Sure, this consists of sushi. Attempt a dynamite roll (cooked shrimp) or a California roll (imitation crab), or persist with vegetable rolls for some time. Many individuals consider that consuming flash-frozen uncooked fish from respected sushi eating places is low-risk. However low-risk isn’t no-risk, and finally, it’s as much as you. Should you do eat sushi, be certain it’s low-mercury fish.
  • Excessive-mercury fish (see extra information down beneath).

2. Cured and uncooked or undercooked meats

  • Deli meats and hotdogs: Solely eat them should you cook dinner them totally till steaming.
  • Uncooked meat: This consists of uncooked rooster, beef, pork, lamb, and so on. And by uncooked, we imply each actually uncooked (like steak tartare) and sorta uncooked, as in you didn’t cook dinner it effectively sufficient. For $10, put money into a meat thermometer to make sure you are cooking your meat and poultry to a secure inside temperature. Use this chart on safe cooking temperatures as your information.
top down view of cured meats on a platter

3. Undercooked eggs

Eggs are extremely nutritious and are completely secure to eat throughout being pregnant if cooked effectively (aren’t uncooked, undercooked or runny). However sure sauces, spreads, and drinks, akin to Caesar salad dressing, hollandaise sauce, unpasteurized eggnog, custard, and do-it-yourself ice cream, might comprise uncooked eggs, so it’s essential to ask questions. Commercially manufactured ice cream, dressings, mayonnaise, and eggnog are made with pasteurized eggs and don’t enhance the danger of salmonella.

4. Sure dairy merchandise

Milk and milk merchandise are additionally very nutritious and are secure to eat throughout being pregnant for probably the most half. However milk or cheese made with unpasteurized milk ought to be prevented as a result of danger of listeria. Consultants disagree concerning the security of soppy cheeses like Brie, feta, and goat. Some say they’re nice if they’re pasteurized, and a few say to not eat them in any format. If you wish to play it 100% secure, keep away from comfortable cheese altogether throughout being pregnant (together with feta and goat). Should you can’t dwell with out feta cheese (hiya, Greek salad), guarantee that the cheese is pasteurized by checking on the label or calling the producer. 

close up of a wheel of Brie cheese

5. Unpasteurized juices

Was the fruit washed earlier than it was juiced? Was the tools correctly sanitized? Was it saved refrigerated? Unsure? Skip it. Washing after which juicing at dwelling ought to be nice so long as fruit and veggies are washed correctly and tools is sanitized correctly. And plus, I’m a a lot larger fan of smoothies during pregnancy as a result of you possibly can pack a lot extra diet into them (and also you get the fibre a part of the fruits and veggies, not simply the juice!).

6. Unwashed veggies:

YES, you have to be consuming a number of servings of veggies per day whereas pregnant (and when not pregnant), however it’s essential to guarantee that your veggies are totally washed to keep away from  any danger of Toxoplasmosis, as a result of the soil through which veggies are grown could also be contaminated.

Should you’re needing plant-based recipe inspiration, you’re going to like these cookbooks!

pregnant woman eating vegetable salad

7. Excessive mercury fish

Fish primer: Omega-3 fats = good, Mercury = not so good. You desire a fish that’s excessive in omega-3 fats , however low in mercury. Your greatest bets are salmon, trout, low mercury skipjack tuna, anchovies, herring, and sardines. Avoiding excessive consumption of fish species which are excessive in mercury, together with king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and bigeye tuna. ) as a result of mercury has been linked to an elevated danger of delivery defects and studying disabilities in kids. Bigger predatory fish (e.g., Chilean sea bass, grouper, swordfish) find yourself absorbing bigger portions of mercury, and as bigger fish eat smaller ones, toxins construct up and grow to be concentrated. Sadly, cooking doesn’t reduce the quantity of mercury in these. The fish you possibly can eat can adjustments as environmental circumstances change, in order a safeguard, obtain an app that’s updated. Attempt “Fish4Health” or “Ought to I Eat This Fish?”

tuna recipes are good to eat while pregnant

Is tuna a meals to keep away from when pregnant?

There are a number of types of tuna, and a few have extra mercury than others (1 serving = 4 oz.).

  • Best option (2-3 servings per week): canned, recent or frozen skipjack tuna. If shopping for canned tuna, search for “mild” as a substitute of “white” tuna, and make sure the ingredient record says “skipjack.” Here are a few recipes using low mercury tuna.
  • Sensible choice (1 serving per week): Canned, recent or frozen yellowfin or albacore tuna. Canned albacore tuna known as “white” tuna.
  • Selections to keep away from: bigeye tuna (not accessible canned – normally used as steaks, sushi or sashimi)

What about ahi tuna? Watch out right here. Ahi might check with yellowfina tuna, which is secure to eat, however it might additionally check with bigeye tuna, which you need to keep away from. If you’re supplied ahi tuna, discover out which species it truly is.

Are you able to eat pork (pork stomach, gyros and so on.) whereas pregnant? 

This query comes up extra usually that you could be suppose! The reply is sure! You may eat pork (and any minimize of pork) whereas pregnant. Pork is fit for human consumption whereas pregnant if it has been totally cooked or heated to 165°F/75°C. This identical temperature applies to pork merchandise which are served chilly as effectively, akin to cured charcuterie meat, gyros, pork pies, and deli pork.

Whereas those that will not be pregnant can eat pork cooked to solely 145°F, expectant ladies have a decrease immune system and are at the next danger for getting sick from micro organism in meals. Subsequently, pork that’s undercooked, or pork that’s nonetheless pink-hued, can have energetic micro organism and different organisms which trigger foodborne sickness. The most typical pork-related bacterial infections are Salmonella, E. Coli, Staph aureus, and Listeria. The severity of the foodborne sicknesses brought on by these micro organism can range, however Listeria is probably the most regarding and might trigger a critical an infection, and hurt to an unborn child.  

Is lamb a meals to keep away from when pregnant? 

Lamb is commonly cooked to uncommon, and for that reason, many pregnant ladies surprise if it’s secure for them to eat. And the reply is sure! It’s secure. Based on the FDA, the really useful secure minimal inside temperature for recent lamb (steaks, roasts, and chops) thought of secure for pregnant ladies is 145°F (62.8°C), with a resting time of three minutes. For floor lamb meat, the secure minimal inside temperature is 160°F (71°C) with no resting time. Within the fridge, recent lamb lasts for 3–5 days. Within the freezer, it could possibly final for 4–12 months, relying on the minimize. 

a rack of cooked lamb

Are you able to eat deer (venison) whereas pregnant? 

Venison and deer are a lean and attractive meat supply. However many pregnant ladies surprise if this kind of sport meat is okay to eat.  Excellent news – it’s fit for human consumption venison when pregnant so long as it’s cooked to the secure inside temperature of 145°F (62.8°C) for meat, 160°F (71.1°C) for floor venison and sausages, and 165°F (73.9°C) for others (use a meat thermometer to make certain!).

Can pregnant ladies eat spam? 

Apparently, some pregnant ladies would possibly discover themselves craving Spam very often throughout being pregnant. I’ve by no means tried it earlier than, so I can’t say that I ever craved it throughout being pregnant (or ever), however to eat their very own! For all of you spam-lovers on the market, I’ve excellent news: Spam and most merchandise produced from spam are fit for human consumption throughout being pregnant. However as a result of spam is taken into account a extremely processed meals, it is perhaps one thing that you simply need to get pleasure from sparingly. 

Spam is definitely cooked meat produced from processed ham and floor pork. It additionally accommodates many preservatives and components for shelf stability and flavour like salt, sugar, sodium nitrate and potato starch. The primary concern right here is the sodium nitrate, which is one thing that you simply need to restrict anytime, not simply throughout being pregnant. Keep on with having fun with spam occasionally, not repeatedly. 

Can pregnant ladies eat smoked salmon? 

Smoked salmon is a really tough meals to categorise throughout being pregnant as a result of there are such a lot of several types of smoked salmon and its security relies on many elements. 

Pregnant ladies can safely eat “sizzling smoked salmon”, in different phrases smoked salmon that has been cooked through the smoking course of. “Chilly smoked salmon” could be eaten so long as it’s shelf-stable or absolutely cooked. Prepared-to-eat refrigerated smoked salmon ought to be prevented except absolutely cooked to steaming previous to consuming. That is due to each the danger of Listeria contamination, in addition to an infection from parasitic worms. Yikes! No thanks. 

top down view of sourdough bread topped with foods to avoid when pregnant such as smoked salmon and runny eggs

Can pregnant ladies eat comfortable cheeses? 

I’m positive should you’ve been pregnant (or are pregnant), you’ve heard that it’s unsafe to eat sure cheeses. However you would possibly surprise “however which cheeses are secure and which aren’t?” To maintain it easy, you possibly can relaxation assured that almost all exhausting cheese, like cheddar, gouda, provolone, and Manchego, are secure to eat throughout being pregnant. 

However, what are thought of “comfortable cheeses” akin to burrata, blue cheese, brie, cambozola, chevre, gorgonzola or camembert, whether or not pasteurized or not, will not be thought of secure except cooked till steaming. This manner, the Listeria micro organism might be killed and it is going to be fit for human consumption throughout being pregnant. 

Is feta cheese secure throughout being pregnant? 

Feta cheese is fit for human consumption throughout being pregnant so long as it’s made with pasteurized milk. In reality, even when the feta cheese is made with unpasteurized milk, so long as it’s cooked to steaming sizzling, it’s secure to eat throughout being pregnant. It’s because cooking feta, like another cheese, will kill any listeria and get rid of the danger of any listeria an infection. Ensure to cook dinner it to 165F or 75C. 

Is sushi a meals to keep away from when pregnant?

That is one factor that I actually missed throughout being pregnant (uncooked sashimi and sushi). Pregnant ladies ought to keep away from any uncooked fish and shellfish throughout being pregnant, it doesn’t matter what. Excessive mercury fish akin to marlin, king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish and northern pike also needs to be prevented, whether or not uncooked or cooked. Sushi made with cooked, decrease mercury fish is taken into account secure throughout being pregnant.

top down view of sushi pieces on a plate


What meals or vitamins are good for a wholesome being pregnant?

The highest vitamins embody omega-3, iron, protein, calcium and vitamin D. Try my article to study the top 5 nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.

Can pregnant ladies eat almond milk?

Almond milk is secure to drink throughout being pregnant. It’s significantly better for you if it’s each unsweetened and with out added thickeners or synthetic flavorings. Many ladies select a vegan various (like almond milk) to actual milk due to both a dairy allergy or intolerance. Almond milk doesn’t have the identical diet as common milk (it doesn’t have practically the identical quantity of protein for instance), however it’s fortified with issues like calcium, vitamin D and magnesium and is completely secure to eat throughout being pregnant.


[i] Carolyn Tam, Aida Erebara, and Adrienne Einarson, “Meals-borne sicknesses throughout being pregnant: Prevention and remedy,”

Wondering which foods you should avoid when you’re pregnant? In this detailed post, registered dietitian Sarah Remmer shares pregnancy nutrition advice.