Pregnancy can be a daunting period for women, especially for first time mothers to be.

With so many different types of advice pouring in from your family, friends or the Internet, whom should you listen to?

pregnant woman with various types of food

Foods to eat and avoid during pregnancy are very commonly asked questions amongst my patients.

While eating well and maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet is important, here is a list of 10 types foods that you should stay away from while you are pregnant!

  1. Alcohol

    pregnant woman saying no to alcohol

    This is a big NO NO during pregnancy! Not even in the smallest amounts. There have been no studies that show any safe levels of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy.

    Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to several problems during the pregnancy and to the unborn baby as well. Problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome can lead to severe physical and mental birth
    defects.

    Alcohol can also lead to growth restriction or pre-term labour.

  2. Raw Fish

    raw fish and sashimi

    Raw food can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites such as toxoplasma or salmonella. Yes, this includes raw food such as sashimi as well.

    Toxoplasma infection can potentially lead to serious birth defects, miscarriage or complications in the pregnancy.

    Opt for well-cooked dishes or vegetables to minimize this risk.

  3. Unpasteurized Cheeses Or Milk

    various types of cheese

    Unpasteurized cheeses include soft cheeses such as Feta or Brie. Unpasteurized cheeses or milk are best avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of Listeriosis.

    The Listeria bacteria is most commonly found in unpasteurized dairy products, and getting an infection while pregnant can lead to serious birth defects, miscarriage or complications during the pregnancy.

  4. Refrigerated Smoked Seafood

    smoked salmon

    This includes food such as smoked salmon, trout, or cod, which are commonly found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.

    Refrigerated and preserved products can also have the potential of carrying the bacteria Listeria, which can cause problems during the pregnancy.

  5. Deli Meat And Pate

    deli meat and pate

    Another favourite amongst many people, deli meat is also not safe to be consumed in pregnancy! This includes products such as ham, salami, turkey or even sausages. Pate or other types of meat spreads should also be avoided.

    This is because these products also carry the risk of containing Listeria.

  6. Oysters And Raw Shellfish

    oysters

    Uncooked products such as oysters or shellfish should be avoided as they have the potential to contain bacteria or toxins.

    If you wish to consume oysters or shellfish, make sure they are well cooked in a dish instead of consuming them raw.

  7. Raw Eggs

    raw and semi cooked eggs to be avoided

    Partially cooked eggs such as soft boiled eggs, or Japanese sukiyaki with a raw egg dipping sauce should be avoided.

    Raw eggs carry the risk of being contaminated by bacteria such as Salmonella, which can lead to serious infections during pregnancy.

  8. Unwashed Fruits And Vegetables

    raw vegetables

    Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables are essential in providing a nutritious and well balanced diet during pregnancy.

    While consuming fruits and vegetables during pregnancy is safe, please ensure that these products are washed well before you eat them!

    This is because unwashed fruits and vegetables may contain harmful pesticides or fertilizers that can be harmful to a pregnant woman. They may also still carry some of the soil particles, which can also be a source of Toxoplasma infection.

  9. Raw Or Undercooked Meat

    raw beef

    Raw or undercooked meat have a high risk of carrying bacteria such as Salmonella or parasites such as Toxoplasma.

    This includes dishes such as beef tartare, rare steak etc.

  10. Caffeine

    pregnant woman with cup of coffee

    Coffee! The one drink that most people struggle to give up.

    Don’t get me wrong, coffee in pregnancy is not totally unsafe. But this has to be taken in moderation.

    It is best to limit your caffeine amount to 1 to 2 cups per day at most.

    This is because overdosing on caffeine has been found to potentially lead to an increased risk of miscarriage.