Foods to avoid during pregnancy

A mother only wants what’s best for her child and the same goes for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Many pregnant women think they are eating healthily, but could be consuming foods that could be harmful to her and her baby. This article will critically outline the foods to avoid during pregnancy. It is important to maintain a healthy nutritious lifestyle while you are pregnant as your baby eats what you eat.

According to an article by Mayo Clinic 2016, one of the foods to avoid during pregnancy is seafood high in mercury. These foods include; Swordfish, Shark, King mackerel and Tilefish. Avoid raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood. To avoid bacteria or viruses in seafood, stay clear of raw fish, shellfish and uncooked seafood. This would include Sushi. Cook your seafood properly and be very careful when purchasing fish from local suppliers, as you could be eating fish from waters that are contaminated or polluted.

Undercooked meat and poultry could be detrimental to your wellbeing, so avoid eating raw meat so as t to decrease the risk of bacterial infection and food poisoning. Always make sure that your meat is well cooked before eating. Avoid meat spreads and pates. It is essential to cook your eggs until the egg yolks and egg whites are firm. Believe it or not, raw eggs can be contaminated with very harmful bacteria so avoid eating meals that have raw to partially cooked eggs in them. (Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy nutritional: Foods to avoid during pregnancy)

Angela Ayles, 2015, lists 10 dangerous foods to avoid during pregnancy. They are;

  1. Feta cheese
  2. King Mackerel
  3. Caffeinated tea or coffee, herbal teas and supplements
  4. Brie cheese (similar to feta cheese)
  5. Processed deli meats
  6. Liver
  7. Unpasteurized milk
  8. Uncooked eggs
  9. Swordfish (similar to King mackerel)
  10. Blue cheese (made with unpasteurised milk)

Dietician, Sasha Watkins suggests the following foods to give up or cut down on during pregnancy.

  1. Cheese
  2. Eggs
  3. Meat
  4. Fish
  5. Drinks

(Babycentre, 2016)

Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables should be a staple in your diet (especially during pregnancy) as they are rich in vitamins and natural fibre. Always wash your veggies and fruits before serving, even if the packaging says it’s been already washed.(Sally Kuzemchak, 2016)

*Thank you to Dr Andre G van der Westhuizen

Dr Andre van der Westhuizen

Dr Andre G van der Westhuizen is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in private practice at MediClinic Morningside based in Johannesburg. Having qualified as a General Practitioner through the University of the Free State and later achieving his specialist degree through the College of Medicine in South Africa, Dr André takes a holistic approach to women's heath in general. With special focus on the reproductive years of a women's life Dr André brings a fresh and dynamic approach to Gynaecology and Obstetrics through his energetic and personable patient care. He is passionate about making a difference in communities who have difficulty accessing women's healthcare, particularly in the realm of cervical cancer and regularly spends his free time assisting Johannesburg's underprivileged communities. He believes that a nation relies on their children to build a better and brighter future for all of us and a healthy mother creates the foundation for that child to succeed.

  1. Why not Feta? It’s consistently on “allowed” foods during pregnancy, especially since it’s pasteurised.
    Just curious to find out why it’s forbidden here?

    1. Hi Tanya,
      The Doctor was referencing a source (referenced in the article). It isn’t something I have personal knowledge on as a non-feta eater 🙂 Perhaps another of the debated ones? I know many doctors okay things that others swear are harmful. I think the best is to go to a doctor or source you trust, or get a wide range of research and go with what feels right for you.
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

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