Foods to Avoid While Pregnant or Nursing

      Foods to Avoid While Pregnant or Nursing

      We’ve compiled a list of specific foods to avoid while pregnant that may cause harm to your baby as well as ones to help them grow during your pregnancy and beyond. We've also provided foods to avoid while nursing so you can keep your little one safe. 

      Overall Precautions

      A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods with “extras” in them. “Extras” can be considered anything with added sugars and fats, like desserts, candy, soft drinks, and other sweetened beverages. Fried foods, fatty meats, and certain cheeses should also be avoided if possible.


      Foods with Chemicals

      These foods contain, or may contain, harmful substances that can be dangerous to your baby’s health due to chemicals and bacteria found in the foods.

      • Alcohol: Alcohol, including hard liquor, wine, and beer
      • Caffeine: Limit caffeine to 1–2 servings per day to reduce the chance of dehydration
      • Mercury: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish contain levels of mercury that may harm your unborn baby

      Foods with Possible Bacteria

      These are important foods to avoid while pregnant, as they can potentially cause foodborne illnesses that are harmful during pregnancy.

      • 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

      Foods to Add to Your Diet

      There are also plenty of foods that are beneficial to add to your diet during pregnancy and while nursing. The list of foods below are rich in important nutrients that you and your baby both need during pregnancy and beyond.

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

      Curious about a certain food? Ask your doctor for more information about how to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy, as well as foods to avoid while nursing. You can also visit the FDA website to find out more about what foods to avoid while pregnant.