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Health & Pregnancy

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Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

When you're pregnant, everything that goes into your mouth gets shared with your growing baby. Even though some types of foods and even some types of food poisoning may not hurt you, they may harm your little one.

To avoid food poisoning, be careful not to eat any food left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours (or more than one hour in hot weather).

Be sure to limit caffeine to 200 mg a day (one 12-ounce cup of coffee). And, as you probably know, forget alcohol while your baby is growing inside you.

To stay safe, also avoid these foods during your pregnancy.


  • Cold cuts, deli meats, hot dogs, and other ready-to-eat meats. (You can safely eat these if they are heated to steaming and served hot.)
  • Pre-stuffed, fresh, turkey or chicken
  • Steak tartare or any raw meat
  • Rare cuts of meat and undercooked meats
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads. (Canned and shelf-safe meat spreads are OK.)


  • Locally caught bluefish, pike, salmon, striped bass, trout, and walleye
  • King mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish, which have high levels of mercury
  • Smoked cod, smoked salmon or lox, smoked mackerel, smoked trout, smoked tuna, and smoked whitefish, or other smoked fish
  • Sushi or any raw fish or raw shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels)


  • Raw eggs
  • Raw cookie dough. (It has eggs in it.)
  • Caesar salad dressing, bearnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, and any homemade dressings and sauces made with raw eggs
  • Mousse, meringue, tiramisu, and any homemade desserts made with raw eggs

Milk and Cheese

  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Any cheese made from unpasteurized milk. (Very few cheeses made from raw milk are sold in the U.S. But some are, so always check the labels. Soft cheeses such as brie, blue cheese, feta, panela, queso blanco, and queso fresco are more likely than hard cheeses to be made from raw milk.)

Fruits and Veggies

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on July 09, 2014

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