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6 Foods and Drinks to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy comes with so many changes it can be hard to keep track. You constantly have to be worried about what is entering your body through your pregnancy.

There are a variety of foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy. Once you know what these are, you can take steps to avoid them. 

Foods And Drinks To Avoid During Pregnancy And Why

It can seem overwhelming to identify foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy. Here, we have provided seven items to stay away from. Ask our midwives at City of Oaks Midwifery if you have questions about these items.  

1. Seafood 

Seafood That Is High In Mercury 

The Mayo Clinic advises against seafood high in mercury because it can harm your baby’s developing nervous system. They list out the fish with the highest levels of mercury to avoid as: 

  • Bigeye tuna 
  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Tilefish

Raw, Undercooked, and Contaminated Seafood

This also applies to raw, undercooked, and contaminated seafood. Avoiding these is due to the bacteria and viruses present in those types of seafood.

This also means paying attention to local fish advisories for the contaminated seafood. Water pollution would be a significant reason not to consume seafood from specific areas. 

2. Unpasteurized Foods 

While many dairy products can be an excellent part of your pregnancy diet, those that contain unpasteurized milk can be harmful. Those that contain unpasteurized milk can hold foodborne illnesses.

Unless the packaging clearly states that the product contains pasteurized milk, it is best to avoid it. Not only can this be centered on dairy products but also unpasteurized juices. 

3. Certain Meats

Raw Meat 

This may seem like one of the easiest foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy.

Similar to the effect of raw seafood, the chance of bacterial issues in raw meat is high. During pregnancy, there is an increased risk for bacterial food poisoning. This can even lead to a worse reaction than you would have when not pregnant. It is rare; however, that food poisoning would affect the baby. 

Even though it would not affect the baby, it could make you ill during a time that is already taking a lot of energy.

Deli Meat  

According to the American Pregnancy Association, deli meat can often contain listeria. Listeria can cause a miscarriage. It can cross the placenta and infect the baby. This can lead to infection or blood poisoning.

You must reheat the deli meat to steam it if eating it during your pregnancy. This is an easy way to still consume the deli meat that you want. 

4. Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables 

Harmful bacteria can live on unwashed fruits and vegetables. By thoroughly washing these, you can reduce the risk of bacteria. It is important to note that foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy could be more about how they are prepared than what they are.

This also relates to avoiding raw sprouts, as they can also contain bacteria. Stick to sprouts that have been thoroughly cooked. When they have been cooked, there is no reason for concern.  

5. Excess Caffeine 

Caffeine is always up for debate. This is often one of the hardest foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, the discussion becomes even more important to consider. There are often many opinions on how much caffeine is acceptable during pregnancy.

While the answer is unclear, it can be helpful to avoid it as much as possible to be safe. Especially in the first trimester, avoid caffeine to avoid the risk of miscarriage at that stage. 

This is not just coffee, chocolate, tea, and energy drinks that could all contain caffeine that you do not even realize. Be careful of which foods containing caffeine you usually consume and avoid them or find a non-caffeinated alternative. 

6. Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy that is no debate.

There has been no level of alcohol that has been deemed safe to consume during pregnancy. Various factors can stem from drinking alcohol while pregnant.

The chance of stillbirth, miscarriage, and fetal alcohol syndrome all increase with the consumption of alcohol. With these concerns in mind, it is essential to realize how easily alcohol could affect a baby during pregnancy. 


There are many reasons behind the variety of foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy. The first step in ensuring they are avoided is recognizing them. Once you know what to avoid, your diet can become normalized to lack those foods and drinks.

Do you have a question about one of the items on this list? Contact us through our website or give us a call at (919) 646-6252.  We will be happy to give you more information regarding these foods and any more you may have questions about. 

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