Foods to Avoid for Healthy Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

These foods contain, or may contain, harmful substances that can be dangerous to your baby’s health:


  • Alcohol, including hard liquor, wine and beer
  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish - According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these fish contain levels of mercury that may harm your unborn baby.

Possible bacteria:

  • Raw eggs
  • Raw fish and shellfish
  • Raw meat
  • Hot dogs, lunch meats and cold deli meats
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider
  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products
  • Unpasteurized soft cheeses like feta, Brie and Roquefort
  • Untreated drinking water
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables

Ask your doctor for more information about how to diet during pregnancy and foods to avoid while nursing. And visit the FDA website to find out more.

Foods to Limit While Pregnant or Nursing

  • Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, colas and tea
  • Like all adult Americans, you should limit the quantity of “extras” in your diet like added sugars and fats or foods high in sugar and fats. Examples of foods high in sugars and fats are desserts, candy, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, fried foods, fatty meats, whole milk, and cheese.

Foods to Enjoy While Pregnant or Nursing

These foods are rich in important nutrients you and your baby need during pregnancy and beyond:

  • Milk, hard cheese, yogurt
  • Vegetables, especially dark green or leafy greens, and raw colorful ones
  • Avocados
  • Fruits
  • Fruit juices
  • Potatoes, brown rice, pasta
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans
  • Whole grains, wheat germ
  • Fortified cereals
  • Lean meat
  • Liver, kidneys
  • Salmon with bones, mackerel, sardines, herring
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cooked eggs
  • Nuts and seeds