Foods To Avoid In Pregnancy

Foods To Avoid In Pregnancy

December 2013

Not sure what you should and shouldn’t be eating throughout your pregnancy?  There are some foods that can make you ill or can be harmful to your baby.  There is so much information to take in when you are pregnant, it can be hard to remember those to avoid!  Luckily the NHS has got some great guidelines to follow!  See our summary of what foods to avoid below:


Some types of cheese

Do not eat mould ripened soft cheese, such as brie and camembert, or any soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort.  These cheeses should be avoided as they contain more moisture making them an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to grow in.

If you are a big cheese fan, don’t worry - there are plenty of other cheeses that you can still eat!  Hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan and stilton are fine to eat and cheeses such as mozzarella, feta, halloumi and cream cheeses are ok too so long as they are made from pasteurised milk. 



ALL types of pate should be avoided, even vegetable ones, as they can contain listeria.


Raw or partially cooked eggs

To prevent risk of salmonella, ensure eggs are thoroughly cooked until all of the egg white and yolk is solid. Also avoid foods that contain raw and partially cooked eggs such as homemade mayonnaise.


Raw or undercooked meat

Ensure that all meats and poultry are steaming hot when cooked with no traces of pink or blood.  Sorry if you enjoy a juicy rare steak but rare meat should be avoided while pregnant- this is to prevent toxoplasmosis infection which can be harmful to baby. 

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly when handling raw meat and make sure all surfaces and utensils are washed too! This will help to avoid the spread of any harmful bugs.


Cold cured meats

These include salami, parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni. Currently in the UK, pregnant women aren’t advised to avoid these products, however other countries do advise not to eat them as there is a small risk of these meats harbouring listeria or the toxoplasma parasites. It is up to you, but if you are concerned by these risks you may choose to avoid them.


Liver products

Liver and liver products such as liver pate or liver sausage shouldn’t be eaten as they may contain lots of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can be harmful to your baby.


Supplements containing vitamin A

Do not take any supplements containing vitamin A. It can often be found in high-dose multivitamin and fish liver oil supplements so avoid these too.


Some types of fish

Avoid shark, marlin and swordfish while you are pregnant. You should also limit the amount of tuna you eat too, to no more than two steaks a week.  These types of fish contain high levels of mercury that can be damaging to your baby.

Also, do not eat any more than two portions of oily fish, such as fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout, a week.


Raw shellfish 

Avoid eating raw shellfish as they can contain harmful bacteria. If you enjoy shellfish make sure it is thoroughly cooked!



Love sushi? Although it is often made with raw fish it can be fine to east so long as the fish has been frozen first.  Freezing the fish kills any harmful worms that could make you ill.  If you aren’t sure whether the fish has been frozen, it is safest just to stick to fully cooked or vegetarian varieties.


Unpasteurised milk

If you have milk, be sure to only drink pasteurised or UHT (long life) milk.



Too much caffeine when you are pregnant can result in the baby having a low birth weight, which increases the chance of health problems in later life.

Caffeine can naturally be found in lots of foods and drinks such as coffee, tea and chocolate, as well as added to some soft drinks such as cola.  You don’t have to cut out caffeine completely but you should limit your amount to 200mg a day.

For more information on foods to avoid please visit the NHS website.