Foods to avoid eating during pregnancy – you might be surprised by what’s on this list

Pregnancy Health 17 May 21 By

Advice from a fertility and prenatal nutritionist.

By Kat Keough

During pregnancy, raw fish, soft cheese, alcohol, processed meats and undercooked eggs are all known things that should be avoided for the safety of soon-to-be mini-mes. However, there are other foods that should be avoided too.

Pregnancy is an absolute blessing, so it is absolutely critical that soon to be mothers fuel their bodies with foods that are safe for their little ones. Determining what to ditch from the pregnancy diet shouldn’t be a labyrinth to navigate, however, unfortunately there are a number of incredibly harmful foods that aren’t being circulated in public discourse.

It is well known that it is important to eat well during pregnancy, but there is no doubt it can be confusing. In order to make it easier, and to eliminate any added stress, I have put together a comprehensive list of all of the foods to avoid during pregnancy that you may not have heard about.

Getty Images

During pregnancy fuel your body with foods that are safe for bub.

Pre-packaged salads

Pre-packed salads, vegetables and fruit have a higher risk of listeria contamination, which can lead to devastating outcomes for pregnant women and unborn babies. Swapping pre-packaged ingredients for whole fruits and vegetables may add some extra minutes onto your prep-time but is certainly worth it in the long term.

If you’re pregnant you should also avoid buffets and salad bars where the salads have been sitting for a while, where listeria has had time to grow.


Liver, and its household counterpart, paté, should be limited to very small amounts during pregnancy. While you do not need to limit your liver intake entirely, consuming no more than 50 grams in a week is an important measure because it contains high levels of Vitamin A that can be harmful to a baby’s development.

Getty Images

Avoid pre-packaged salads and choose fresh fruit and vegetables.

Fish high in mercury

Mercury can build up to high levels in the bloodstream causing problems for your unborn baby’s nervous system.

Limiting your intake of high mercury fish, including flake, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy, barramundi, catfish and southern bluefin tuna, is crucial during pregnancy.

Choosing fish with low mercury levels, like salmon, sardines, cod or tinned tuna, and other types of fresh seafood such as shellfish and crustaceans, contain lower levels of mercury and don’t pose a risk.


Similarly to pre-packaged salads, store-bought sushi has a higher risk of listeria contamination. If your pregnancy craving is screaming out for sushi, however, you can absolutely make your own from home.


If you’re craving sushi, making it at home is the safest option.

Rockmelon and bean sprouts

Rockmelon and bean sprouts aren’t usually lumped into the same category, however both of these fresh produce items have a high risk of listeria contamination, which are best to avoid during pregnancy.

Fermented foods

Sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha are all fermented to encourage the growth of good bacteria, however they have the potential to contain bad bacteria as well. Avoiding fermented foods during pregnancy is a safe measure you can take to be your healthiest self during pregnancy.

Supplements containing Vitamin A

It is important to make sure you’re taking a multivitamin that’s specialised for pregnancy. A supplement that isn’t made with pregnancy front-of-mind, means that it could contain substances that are harmful to your baby, including Vitamin A.

Every vitamin, mineral and antioxidant in Ovitae Pre-Conception Support is there to support you and your baby. It provides essential ingredients in appropriate quantities, so you don’t overload your system – or your baby’s.

Keep Reading

Australian mum Clare Foreman at home with husband Stu, baby Isabel and dog Frances.jpg
Photo of a young pregnant woman getting ready in the bathroom for the upcoming day; applying moisturiser as a part of her daily routine.
Happy pregnant woman looking at ultrasound scan at home
Pregnant woman taking pill at home