10 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

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What should you eat when you are pregnant? Research has shown that alcohol and caffeine are not good for expectant mums. The African lifestyle is a bit centered around food. So we focus more on what a woman should eat. So you might have heard a lot of advice on how you are ‘eating for two’ and what sort of food you should be eating.

But do you know what foods are dangerous to eat while you are pregnant? There are certain foods that can actually trigger the loss of the baby growing inside of you, particularly in the first trimester. We list those below.

Before you read further though, you might be interested in these posts below:

5 Common Pregnancy Myths

Am I Ovulating? How to know


Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

An expectant mum might get away with eating these foods, but they often cause more harm than good. So if you are in the first trimester of your pregnancy, you are strongly advised to avoid them.


Raw or Partially Cooked Meat


Always make sure that your meat is very well cooked; there should be no trace of red or pink on your meat. This goes for poultry too. Whether you are eating beef or chicken, cook it very well.

pregnancy foods to avoid - raw meat

Raw or under cooked meat often contains bacteria which can cause infection and is harmful to the baby. If you buy already-made or packaged meat like Corned beef, sausages and the like, make sure you read the label to know whether the meat is fully cooked or under cooked.


Raw or Partially Cooked Eggs

Raw or partially cooked eggs should also be avoided. This is because they can cause salmonella food poisoning. If you want to eat eggs, make sure they are thoroughly cooked.

pregnancy foods to avoid - raw eggs

If you make your own mayonnaise or ice cream and you use raw eggs, stay away from them during the period of your pregnancy. For ice cream, you can get around the raw egg problem by adding the raw eggs to the mixture and then heating it thoroughly. You can then allow the mixture to cool down before making your ice cream.

If ice cream helps you relax, then you should read these other posts about ways you can relax during pregnancy.

How to relax when you are pregnant

4 Safe exercises for pregnant women



Too much caffeine is not good for your baby. This can cause miscarriage, still birth, premature birth, low birth weight and other serious problems in an unborn baby.

pregnancy foods to avoid - caffeine

Caffeine has been linked to birth defects in infants. A certain amount of caffeine is okay, but is should not be more than 200mg a day. Caffeine can be found in coffee, cola products and some other drinks.

If you are planning to get pregnant any time soon, you should limit your caffeine consumption as studies have shown that pre-pregnancy caffeine consumption in either parent can lead to a miscarriage.


Unwashed Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and are often recommended for expectant mothers. However, always make sure you wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming.

pregnancy foods to avoid - unwashed fruits

Some of these contain topsoil, which could lead to the risk of toxoplasmosis when consumed. It should be noted though that the incidences of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women are extremely low.


Some Types of Fish

Some fish contain mercury which can be very harmful to your unborn baby. Mercury is so dangerous to your baby that it can damage the developing nervous system. These fish include Marlin, Swordfish and Shark, among others.


Some other types of fish you should avoid (or eat very little of) are those that are oily such as fresh tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. These are safe to eat, but you should not eat too much of them.


Raw Shellfish


Actually, raw fish of any kind should be avoided. So if you are a Sushi fan, say bye-bye to that for the months you are pregnant. Raw shellfish in particular can contain harmful bacteria and viruses, which can lead to food poisoning.

raw shellfish


Vitamin A /Fish Oil Supplements

Stay away from supplements and fish oil products that contain high levels of Vitamin A. This can be harmful to your baby.




Avoid liver and liver-based products at all costs when you are pregnant as they are high in Vitamin A, which can be harmful to your baby.




There is a total and complete embargo on alcohol during pregnancy. Do not drink alcoholic beverages when you are pregnant. There is no way around this, just stay away from alcohol.


The potential damage caused by alcohol to the unborn baby is just tragic. It can affect the development of the baby and even lead to what is known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Birth disorders can also be traced to exposure of the fetus to alcohol.


Fruits with High Acidic Makeup


This is one you donโ€™t hear about very often, but it is a real threat to pregnancy especially in the first trimester. Most of us already know that lime and lemon can be harmful to the baby and can in fact, lead to a forced abortion, but how many of us are aware that pineapple has the same effect?


Pineapple is high in acidic content, which can affect the unborn baby and force an abortion. If you are in your first trimester, please stay away from Pineapples and pineapple-based products.


In Conclusion

That is it on what you should not eat while you are pregnant. This list is not exhaustive as there are certain cheeses you should avoid, unpasteurized milk and yogurt and stuff like Pate. But as long as you focus on eating healthy meals, you should be fine.

ALSO you need to remember that you are NOT eating for two; that is a myth. How big is the baby inside you that it would eat as much as you do? Sure, you can eat a little more than your regular portion, but do not use your pregnancy as an excuse to overindulge; itโ€™s only going to make shedding the baby fat after deliver much harder.








Pregnancy Photo Credits:

Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID




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2 thoughts on “10 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • March 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    You are wrong about lemon but right with Lime. Though acidic but it’s an alkaline in the body. Women that have difficulty conceiving or nearing menopause are often advised to take lemon water first thing in the morning. Nigerians don’t know about lemon, please read up health benefits of lemon.

    • September 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you for your tip about lemon. It truly is a great fruit.


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