Healthy Pregnancy – Healthy Baby: Foods to Limit During Pregnancy

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
During pregnancy, the needs of the unborn baby should always come first. Due to this significant change in your life, you will have to avoid and limit certain food groups during pregnancy.

Eliminating certain foods from your diet will keep both you and the baby happy and safe throughout the pregnancy until the baby arrives. Limiting these foods can also help you avoid harmful bacteria infections like listeria and salmonella, which cause illnesses and sometimes miscarriages.

Foods to Limit during Pregnancy

Foods to Limit during Pregnancy


Unfortunately, you are going to have to take a step back from that grande latte you love so much because your baby won’t enjoy it as much as you do.
Caffeine, being a stimulant, can affect your baby's normal movement patterns and cause a change in the baby's sleep. Caffeine consumption can cause premature labor, congenital disabilities, and an increased risk of low-birth-weight babies.

Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day; you would rather be safe than sorry. Caffeine is also found naturally in coffee, chocolate, and tea. It is also added to some energy drinks, soft drinks, as well as cold and flu remedies.
Drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy could also subject your baby to withdrawals from when you're born, which ends up making them irritable.

Herbal Drinks

Pregnant women should have no more than 4 cups of green or herbal tea daily because there lacks enough evidence of their effect on developing babies.
We recommend limiting teas that contain Echinacea or ginseng. Just like herbal teas, the effects it has when you're pregnant aren't apparent.


Even though seafood is a good choice during pregnancy, you should be careful with the type of seafood you consume and where it’s sourced from.

Fish rich in mercury poses a risk to your unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Hence, it’s crucial that pregnant women avoid older, large fish containing high levels of mercury.

To be safe, avoid swordfish, tilefish, shark, king mackerel, and raw shellfish like clams and oysters. When preparing seafood and fish, make sure the internal temperature is 145 degrees F, and the flakes are opaque, a sign that it's thoroughly cooked.

Make sure to cook lobster, shrimp, and scallops until milky white. Cook oysters, clams, and mussels until their shells open. Toss out the shells that remain closed.

Definitely avoid sushi and any raw or uncooked fish and shellfish, as well as refrigerated smoked fish such as salmon, to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria. Luckily, there are many sushi alternatives you can consider, such as sushi rolls or vegetarian sushi made with cooked fish or seafood such as shrimp tempura.

Meat, Poultry, and Pates

Meat and poultry are essential in a healthy and nutritious diet. However, pregnant women should make sure to cook all meat and poultry before consumption thoroughly. To guarantee this, we recommend using a meat thermometer.

It would be best if you also opted for shelf-stable pates instead of the refrigerated one. This will help you avoid foodborne diseases like listeriosis, which is caused by bacteria in the food. Listeriosis can cause premature delivery, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

Deli meats, hot dogs, and bacon also carry bacteria that cause listeriosis. Hence, whenever you are craving bacon, make sure it's thoroughly cooked. It is best to limit hot dogs and deli meats during pregnancy and make sure they are prepared to steaming point at 165 degrees F.


We recommend avoiding alcohol throughout your pregnancy, but if you must, limit the amount you consume. Alcohol consumption, when pregnant, has been linked to increased risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Excessive consumption of alcohol could also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.
An occasional glass of wine every once in a while won't hurt, but it's safe to avoid alcohol for the rest of your pregnancy.

Cheese, Milk, and Eggs

Low-fat dairy products like mozzarella cheese, skim milk, and cottage cheese is healthy to consume, but pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized cheeses and milk during pregnancy. They can cause foodborne diseases like listeriosis.

It is best to avoid foods like unpasteurized feta, brie, queso fresco, queso Blanco, and blue cheeses during pregnancy.

Eggs are also highly nutritious, but pregnant women should make sure they’re thoroughly cooked before consumption. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs because they contain harmful bacteria. You might also have to forgo foods with raw or partially cooked eggs like homemade hollandaise sauce, raw batter, eggnog, and Caesar salad dressing.

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  3. This is such an informative post. Wasnt aware that frosting, moong beans and even butter and biscuits should be avoided during pregnancy!

  4. I was extremely cautious during my pregnancy. I didn't eat sushi or any salad prepared outside. And very little fish. I stopped green tea too. This is an excellent list that all pregnant women should be mindful about.

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