Foods to Avoid When You Are Pregnant

foods to avoid when

You may be getting all sorts of strange cravings now that you are pregnant! However you may not know that your immune system now is not as strong.

Having a suppressed immune system keeps your body from fighting off your baby, which may otherwise be seen as a ‘foreign agent’ to your body. This lowered immune system also means that you are that bit more vulnerable to bacteria, germs and viruses in foods.

Many doctors and sources provide a guideline for certain foods that should be avoided during pregnancy, or that pregnant women should take extra care with. This is to protect you from illness, as well as protect your growing baby.

The best foods to eat are those that are freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.

Below is a guide relating to some of the foods to avoid or take care with, but it is not medical advice. If you have questions or concerns, we recommend that you enquire with a medical professional or a food authority in your state or territory for more information.

AVOID raw eggs and non-refrigerated raw commercial products that includes egg (eg aioli, mayonnaise).

Eggs carry some risk of being contaminated with salmonella. Make sure your eggs are not runny, and are cooked thoroughly or ‘well done’. You may want to try scrambled instead of sunny-side up for example, which won’t have a runny yolk centre.

You should also avoid making your own homemade aioli, mayonnaise, chocolate mousse, or other foods and condiments that involve including raw egg. 

AVOID unpasteurised milk, soft cheeses, soft serve and fried icecream.

These items carry a risk of being contaminated with listeria, which is a bacteria that can trigger food poisoning. Because of a lowered immune system, pregnant women tend to be at a higher risk of becoming infected with Listeria and the outcomes for a fetus can be fatal.  

Ensure that your milk is pasteurised and always check the ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ date. Avoid soft and semi-soft cheese such as brie, camembert, ricotta, fetta, blue cheese. Soft serves and fried ice creams also carry a risk of contamination.  

AVOID raw, processed and chilled meats.

This means avoiding raw meat, raw chicken or other poultry, beef, pork and other meats. Also, it is best to avoid processed meats such as salami, ham, chicken meat, processed turkey meat etc.

Cold chicken or turkey such as that used in sandwiches at sandwich bars also carries risk of contamination.

AVOID meat pâtés.

Avoid all types of meat pâté, as they may be contaminated with listeria.

AVOID raw seafood and chilled seafood.

You should avoid raw seafood, including sushi dishes. Also avoid chilled seafood such as chilled peeled prawns.

AVOID pre-packaged or pre-prepared salads that may not be adequately washed.

It is best to avoid prepackaged or pre-prepared salads such as fruit salads from salad bars or smorgasbords, which may not be washed properly and be contaminated.

AVOID eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts.

Also, because bacteria can get into sprout seeds, it is also best to avoid eating raw and lightly cooked sprouts such as alfalfa sprouts, snowpea sprouts,  mung beans and soybean sprouts, onion sprouts, sunflower sprouts, broccoli sprouts, clover sprouts, radish sprouts.

AVOID vegetable pâtés.

It is best to avoid vegetable pâtés, as there is a risk that they may be contaminated with listeria.

AVOID buying foods with stuffing from chicken and poultry.

Stuffing may not be fresh or may not have been cooked separately and may be contaminated.

TAKE CARE with leftovers.

Make sure leftovers are properly refrigerated. It is generally recommended to eat leftovers within a day. It is always best to eat freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.


This article should not be considered medical advice. For specific medical or nutritional advice, diagnosis or treatment plans please consult your doctor, specialist or physician.

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