What should a pregnant woman avoid?

To eat or not to eat? This question often worries pregnant women. A woman with hope worries not only about herself, but also about the baby’s health. However, nutrition must still be complete and balanced, so you should not limit yourself. We have prepared for you some good advice from a doctor. Therefore, read this list for yourself and eat deliciousness that is allowed for your health.

What is not recommended for pregnant women

Fish and seafood

In general, pregnant women need to eat fish.
After all, it is a source of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for the development of the child’s brain.

However, some fish contain mercury, which is dangerous for the child and the development of his nervous system, immune system and kidneys. The heavier and older the fish, the greater the potential risk of high mercury content. That is exactly why there are recommendations for pregnant women from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

However, it is better to refuse:

Bigeye tuna
Royal mackerel
Hoplosthete of orange or Atlantic deep sea bass
Shark meat

Instead, it is worth including in the diet:

• Anchovies
• Catfish
• Cod
• Herring
• Light canned tuna
• Pacific oysters
• Pollack
• Salmon
• Sardines
• Shrimps
• Trout

However, limit your intake of albacore tuna to 168 grams per week.

An important nuance: proper preparation. It is best to use fish baked in the oven at a temperature of 200 – 220ᵒC. Heat-treated fish meat is easily separated from the bones and splits into layers, and it also becomes opaque.

Cook shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they are milky white. And clams, mussels and oysters until their shells open. Discard anything that doesn’t open.

Canned fish sold in stores is also considered safe. Detailed information about the fish must be indicated on the label.

Remember that undercooked fish and seafood can be infected with viruses, bacteria or parasitic infections such as norovirus, vibrio, salmonella or listeria.
Some of these infections are mild, appearing only in pregnant women, causing dehydration and weakness. However, infections that can be transmitted to your baby can cause serious and sometimes even fatal consequences. For example, listeriosis is a serious danger for pregnant women and children.

Therefore, eating sushi during pregnancy is not a very good option.

Insufficiently heat-treated meat, poultry or eggs

During pregnancy, the risk of developing food poisoning, intoxication and food-borne infectious diseases increases. That is, ordinary minor poisoning in pregnant women can manifest as a serious condition. Mostly, food poisoning does not harm the child. However, it is important to consult a doctor in time, to carry out treatment, to prevent the development of complications, for example, acute dehydration or intoxication of the body.

Products that contain raw eggs:

Soft-boiled egg
poached eggs
hollandaise sauce
homemade mayonnaise
homemade ice cream
homemade cake frosting

Unpasteurized products

Many low-fat dairy products, namely skim milk, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, can be part of your healthy diet. However, anything containing unpasteurized milk is absolutely not suitable. After all, these products can lead to foodborne illnesses.

Avoid soft cheeses such as brie, feta and blue cheese unless they are clearly labeled as pasteurized or made from pasteurized milk. Also, avoid drinking unpasteurized juice.

Unwashed vegetables and fruits

Wash all raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove harmful bacteria.
Avoid eating unwashed raw sprouts of any kind — including alfalfa, clover, radishes and beans — which can also contain disease-causing bacteria.

Coffee and caffeine

Caffeine can cross the placenta. Therefore, to be safe, your doctor will recommend that you limit the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day during pregnancy. If necessary, for example, high blood pressure – exclude coffee entirely.

For information:

a 240 ml cup of brewed coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine
a 240 ml cup of brewed tea contains about 47 mg of caffeine
360 ml of cola contains about 33 mg of caffeine

Herbal teas

Medicinal plants contained in herbal tea have different effects on the body of a pregnant woman. Therefore, it is better to ask your doctor whether you can use a certain tea and in what quantity.
Chamomile tea is considered mostly safe.


Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy, as no minimum level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy.

However, drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Alcohol consumption can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, manifested by facial deformities and intellectual disabilities.
If you drank alcohol before you found out you were pregnant, or if you think you need help to stop drinking, talk to your doctor.

Highly processed food

Heavily processed food, the so-called junk food, is depleted of nutrients: vitamins, minerals, etc., which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
Instead, everything – burgers, chips, french fries contain a lot of calories, the so-called “empty” calories, which carries the risk of gaining extra weight during pregnancy.
Physiologically, a woman should gain only an additional 10 kg during pregnancy. In fact, the daily need for calories increases by only 350 kcal.

And the saying “a pregnant woman eats for two” is not so much about calories as about micronutrients, i.e. vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, excessive weight gain can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes, complications during childbirth, etc.

How to prevent food poisoning and infections

Always cook meat and poultry, following the cooking technology. Monitor the required temperature.
Cook hot dogs and lunches until they are done. They can be sources of listeria – a serious food infection.
Avoid chilled pates, meat cuts. However, canned, shelf-stable foods are safe.
Cook the eggs until they are fully cooked, until the yolks and whites are firm. Raw eggs can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. Avoid foods made with raw or partially cooked eggs, mayonnaise, freshly made or homemade hollandaise sauce, and Caesar salad dressing.

Do not eat meat offal: liver, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, saltisone, jelly, etc.

Olga Letnyanchyk, doctor