pregnant

It can be tough to know what to eat when you’re pregnant, especially when you get cravings, but it’s important to be aware of what you definitely shouldn’t eat while expecting.

While this list of banned foods may seem depressingly long, you’ll be thankful later on – and you don’t have to avoid these foods forever, after all.

Mercury Contaminated Fish

Shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish have been found to have high mercury levels, so they are firmly on the list. Mercury converts to methylmercury in the body, which has been linked to brain damage and developmental problems.

Try eating salmon, catfish, cod and light tinned tuna instead, as they have low mercury levels.

Smoked Seafood

Smoked and refrigerated seafood, such as lox, jerky nova style and kippered seafood should be avoided, as they contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This bacteria has been linked to illness and miscarriage.

Raw Shellfish

shellfish

This includes oysters, clams and mussels, as they can carry seafood-borne illnesses and food poisoning. Cooked ones are safe to eat, so you can still enjoy them.

Fish Exposed to Industrial Pollution

Fish from local streams, lakes and rivers could contain polychlorinated biphenyls, which could lead to low birth weight, smaller head size, memory problems and learning disabilities in babies.

Raw Meat and Poultry

lean-meat

Raw meat and poultry can contain the Toxoplasma parasite, which can lead to toxoplasmosis. It can also cause flu-like symptoms that can cause miscarriage.

Raw or Undercooked Eggs

You probably know not to eat raw eggs, but did you know you should avoid undercooked or soft-boiled eggs too? These eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning.

Unpasteurized Milk

Unpasteurized milk can contain bad bacteria, such as Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli and Cryptosporidium.

Deli Meats

You should give up your favorite deli and ready-to-eat meats, as they can contain Listeria bacteria which can cause fetal death.

Soft Cheese

Don’t eat cheeses like Camembert, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, brie, feta, blue cheese, queso fresco, queso blanco and panela unless you are sure they’ve been pasteurized.

Raw Sprouts

Avoid eating raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, mung bean, radish, broccoli, sunflower, onion, soybean, and snow pea. These sprouts are highly prone to harboring bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella and E.coli.

Unwashed Fruit and Veg

Always wash your fruit and vegetables, as unwashed ones can carry the Toxoplasma parasite.

Some Fruit and Vegetables

Papaya, black grapes, cabbage, lettuce, and eggplant should be avoided, as they can have harmful effects on the unborn baby.

Allergy-Causing Foods

Wheat, soy, cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, shellfish and tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. shouldn’t be eaten if you’re allergic to them – which is kind of self-explanatory, really!

Restaurant Salads

Some restaurant salads can carry harmful microbes, such as ones with pre-made meats, seafood salads and salads with Caesar salad dressing.

Herbal Teas and Supplements

The most unsafe herbs are those which can cause uterine contractions. On that list are: ephedra, angelica, kava kava, yohimbe, black and blue cohosh, dong quai, pennyroyal, borage oil and mugwort.

Other unsafe herbs include: aloe, ginseng, and evening primrose. Also avoid green tea and wheatgrass juice.

Canned Foods

Canned foods can contain a toxic substance called bisphenol A, which can affect fetal endocrine activity, as well as cause other health problems for pregnant women.

Excess Caffeine

coffee

Try to limit your coffee to 200mg a day, as higher amounts could increase the chance of miscarriage.

Nitrate-Rich Foods

Surely not bacon, too?! Yes, sadly, bacon is on the bad food list for pregnant women, along with sandwich meats, sausages, salami and hot dogs due to the cancer-causing nitrates.

Sugary Foods

If you can’t give them up completely, try to cut down on desserts, candies, chocolates, ice creams, biscuits, cakes and sweetened drinks. These foods can make pregnancy discomforts worse, and cause weight gain.

Street Foods

Some street foods carry the risk of infections, stomach problems, and food poisoning.

Fat-Rich Foods

Trans and hydrogenated fats are bad for everyone, but you should particularly steer clear if you’re pregnant. Foods containing these fats include: processed foods, fast foods and takeaways, cookies, fried foods, crackers, margarine and frosting. These fats can cause preterm labor and increase fetal growth.

Artificial Sweeteners

There’s a controversy over whether artificial sweeteners are harmful or not, so it’s probably best to steer clear.

Homemade Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

Yes, even homemade cookies are out of bounds for pregnant women. This is because the raw cookie dough could harbor harmful bacteria.

Licorice

There’s a substance in licorice called glycyrrhizin, which has many health benefits, but unfortunately it can cause several fetal development issues, as the component impairs the placenta.

Leftovers

Hot or cold leftovers could have harmful bacteria in them, so best avoid until after the baby comes.