There have been so many updates and changes on foods to avoid during pregnancy that the information may seem surprising or overwhelming. However, there are some foods that have continually stayed on the “no list” because of their potentially harmful ingredients. On this #BumpDay, we put together a list of foods that can be contaminated with bacteria or viruses, and should definitely be avoided during pregnancy.

  • Raw foods: Raw foods can carry a host of disease-causing bacteria, including mainly coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.
      • Meat: Raw or undercooked meat can also carry the bacteria E. coli. Exposure to these bacteria can harm your baby and cause serious health problems.
      • Shellfish: Raw shellfish should always be avoided during pregnancy, as the majority of seafood-borne illness is caused by undercooked shellfish. Examples include sushi, sashimi, and raw oysters, scallops or clams.
      • Eggs: Raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of their risk of salmonella. This includes cookie dough and some homemade dressings or ice cream. Make sure to cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm.
  • Pate: Refrigerated pate or other meat spreads can contain listeria, which can cause miscarriage. However, canned or shelf-safe meat spreads can be eaten!
  • Unpasteurized milk: Unpasteurized milk may contain listeria, and drinking it could lead to foodborne illness. Drink only pasteurized milk and juices to be safe.
  • Smoked seafood: Refrigerated smoked seafood should be avoided, as it can contain listeria. Smoked seafood should be cooked to 165 degrees, so canned or shelf-safe smoked seafood is usually safe to eat.
  • Deli meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria and should be avoided. If you choose to eat deli meat, make sure to heat it until it is steaming to avoid contamination.
  • Soft cheeses:  Avoid cheeses such as brie, feta and camembert, unless they are clearly labeled as being pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can interfere with the healthy development of your baby. You should also continue to avoid alcohol during breastfeeding.
  • Unwashed vegetables and fruit: If unwashed, produce can contain E. coli or toxoplasmosis bacteria. Make sure to rinse your fruits and veggies before eating them!
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