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Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Healthy Alternatives


See which foods experts recommend avoiding during pregnancy to minimize the chances of contracting food-borne illness that could affect you or your baby.

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Healthy Alternatives. This comprehensive guide will help you make the best decision for you and your baby AND give you an alternative if you find one of your favorite foods on the list.

Congrats–you’re pregnant! Next come a lot of questions about your diet: What foods are best for my baby? Are there foods I should avoid? What happens if I eat “risky” foods?

This is a great conversation to have with your healthcare provider. Certain foods are unsafe to consume during pregnancy, and others MAY be unsafe or may be safe in moderation, so you’ll have to use your doctor’s advice and own comfort level as a guide.

To help you stay informed, I turned to the pregnancy health experts at the Mayo Clinic, foodsafety.gov, and other trusted sources (see them all at the bottom of the post) to compile the clearest information possible as to which foods may pose a risk during pregnancy.

And since nine months can be a long time to avoid some of your favorite foods, we included safe alternative options right in the chart! We hope this is helpful to you in the coming months. And we wish you a healthy pregnancy!

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Healthy Alternatives

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Healthy Alternatives. This comprehensive guide will help you make the best decision for you and your baby AND give you an alternative if you find one of your favorite foods on the list.

Mayo Clinic Guide to A Healthy Pregnancy

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Healthy Alternatives. This comprehensive guide will help you make the best decision for you and your baby AND give you an alternative if you find one of your favorite foods on the list.

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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A slightly cooked egg can be very tempting because of its very appetizing look plus the foretold nutients and minerals it has. However, thanks for letting us know that uncooked eggs can be dangerous to pregnancy. I would love to share this post to my friends as well.

really nice and awesome article man.. i like this so much and also agree with your reasons.. in the time of pregnancy you have not only your care but the child which is born in you that also your responsibility.. this article really help you to take care both of you..

Does it mean that it even one glass of wine can be dangerous during pregnancy? A lot of women drink some alcohol, for example, in the very beginning of their pregnancy when they do not know about it and don’t have any problems. I don not doubt that drinking alcohol on a regular basis is harmful, but what about one-time occasion?

This is the recommendation from the CDC: CDC urges pregnant women not to drink alcohol any time during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink and no safe kind of alcohol. Personally, I would just avoid it altogether during pregnancy. For me it just isn’t worth the risk.

I have talked to some women who have children and they have never heard of not eating any deli meats, packaged cold cuts or poultry. They all ate finger sandwiches, regular sliced deli meat sandwiches etc and never had any problems. Has it been proven that it may contain Listeria?

Marie –

While it is definitely true that not deli meats will be contaminated with listeria, yes it has been proven that they may contain listeria. According the CDC (Center for Disease control) Listeria has been found in uncooked meats, uncooked vegetables, un pasteurized milk, foods made from un pasteurized milk, and processed foods. Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking. There is a chance that contamination may occur in ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs and deli meats because contamination may occur after cooking and before packaging. They estimate 1,700 persons become seriously ill each year in the United States and among these, 260 will die. Although the CDC states that pregnant women are 20 times more likely to become infected than non-pregnant healthy adults, the number of cases of listeriosis in pregnant women is about 17%. It is definitely something for you to decide for yourself an to discuss with your doctor. Hope that helps!


That is really great info about Listeria! That number of infected person is quite scary. If you heat the deli meat on a pan, should it safe enough to eat if it is browned? I am not sure how to determine the temperature of the deli meat. What do you think?

Hello Natalie,

First off, thanks a lot for sharing such an awesome resource with us especially who are now pregnant. I am also a happily pregnant now. And I really try to be safe and eat safe and healthy to keep my unborn safe.

Recently, I have found another article here- http://www.thetwoangles.com/foods-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/. They also shared some nice stuff but I am not sure if their information is trustworthy or not.

Wish us luck (for me and my unborn)!


Hi Natalie,

Being pregnant surely gave a mother some extra responsibilities to make sure the baby is safe and healthy. So thank you for putting up this list and I’m sure that a lot of moms will find use this reference as their check list.


For my daughters school we toured a local dairy and they are one of the biggest producers of feta cheese. It is made in the US and is pasteurized. Know where your food is coming from! Many of the big names and cheeses in food chains can be traced back to this dairy.

I realize this is an older post but I just stumbled across it and wanted to propose a correction to some factually incorrect information. Feta cheese is listed as cheese to avoid due to unpasteurization, however ALL commercially produced Greek cheeses, whether imported or not are pasteurized. Having lived and had a child in Greece, I can assure you, doctors there do not tell you to avoid it. In addition to it being pasteurized, it is also packed in brine, so the higher salt content also helps to hinder bacterial growth. You actually cannot find Greek cheese in Greece that unpasteurized (it’s the law) unless you literally go to a guy with a goat herd and ask him to make you something from his kitchen. But I constantly see feta listed in North American sites as forbidden due to this reason. It’s not mold ripened either, so it should be no more dangerous than any other ‘ok’ cheese on your list.

Hi M. We really appreciate your feedback and perspective. I scoured the post and I’m not seeing feta cheese listed anywhere on our list of foods to avoid. Do you mind pointing out where you’re seeing that?

Calcium is best obtained through food sources. Yet a calcium supplement can help the mother in meeting nutrition needs during pregnancy. Sufficient Vitamin D intake also helps in calcium absorption.

Excellent article!! It was very useful to learn about the foods to avoid while pregnant. Thank you for spreading the word about the article. It was beneficial.