Specific Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy


Are you pregnant and looking for more information on what foods to avoid during pregnancy? It’s important to eat well during pregnancy, so knowing what is safe to eat and drink during pregnancy, can be a complete minefield. Often, there is so much conflicting information. But, we know that what you eat during pregnancy is crucial for you and your baby’s development, so what is fact from fiction.

I recently connected with Doctor Harriet Holme, an experienced paediatrician, Registered Nutritionist, who also has a PHD in genetics. She has written a fantastic ebook about what you can eat during pregnancy, including scientific backed nutritional information and practical tips of what to eat. This book is a great source of information. It is separated into easy to read sections of what to eat and avoid, giving you a great insight into how to eat healthily during pregnancy. I would highly recommend to anyone that is pregnant. You can get a copy at Amazon here

Specific Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

So what are the specific foods to avoid during pregnancy? It’s important to be aware of these, as they can risk your baby’s health. All this advice is taken from the book, written by Dr Harriet Holme, ‘Healthy Eating During Pregnancy’



  • Soft and Unpasteurised cheese, as they are more likely to contain a bacterium called Listeria. Listeria infection in pregnancy is extremely serious and can have a harmful effect on your baby.

  • Certain soft cheeses, such as Brie, may contain Listeria.


  • Some semi-soft and soft cheeses are still safe, such as:

mozzarella, cottage cheese, feta, cream cheese, paneer, halloumi, ricotta and any cheese that has been cooked throughly and is steaming hot all the way through, as this will kill harmful bacteria.

  • All hard cheese, even those that are unpasteurised or have blue veins such as stilton, are safe. This is because they contain less water, meaning bacteria such as listeria are less likely to grow.



  • Raw or uncooked eggs that do not have the British Lion stamped on them. As this symbolises the strict hygiene and welfare standards these eggs are produced under, including vaccination against Salmonella. Hence, raw eggs without this stamp have a higher risk of having Salmonella.
  • Raw or uncooked duck, quail or goose eggs.
  • Eggs that are not produced in the UK – these are often found in freshly made mayonnaise, mousses, some ice cream and souffles.
  • Home made ice-cream with eggs (if they do not contain the British Lion stamp)
  • Soft serve ice-cream from machines, vans or kiosks as these have an increased risk of containing the bacteria, Listeria.


  • Eggs with the British Lion Stamp. You can enjoy these eggs lightly cooked or raw as well. So a runny boiled egg, mousse, fresh mayonnaise, salad dressings and home made ice cream are all fine, as long as the eggs have the British Lion stamp.
  • Ice-cream purchased from supermarkets is mostly pasteurised, reducing the risk of Salmonella, and therefore safe to eat during pregnancy.
  • Pasteurised mayonnaise found in the supermarket is safe to eat.



  • Raw, uncooked or cured meat, such as chorizo, salami and prosciutto. (It may contain a parasite called toxoplasmosis gondii. Thoroughly cooking cured meat or freezing it for 4 days first, can reduce the risk, by killing most of the parasites, making it safer to eat).
  • All types of pate, even vegetarian ones.


  • Cooked meat that has no pink or blood left. Burgers, sausages and meatballs, where mince is used, all pose a greater risk, so cook throughly.
  • Cold cooked meat such as chicken, beef, pre-packed ham and turkey are safe to eat.



  • Swordfish, shark and marlin because they are high in mercury.
  • Limit intake of tuna to no more than two fresh tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans per week (because of the mercury levels, you do not want too much).
  • Raw or lightly cooked wild fish or shellfish. (due to chance to food poisoning. If items are frozen first, this substantially reduces the risk)


  • Thoroughly cooked oily fish, as Omega fatty acids, is essential for your body. Aim to eat one portion a week but limit to maximum of two.
  • Thoroughly cooked white fish or shellfish.
  • Sushi can be enjoyed if the fish has been frozen first to kill of any potential parasites. Sushi sold in supermarkets will have been ready-made in a factory where any raw fish is frozen beforehand.



  • If you are not allergic to nuts, there is no reason to avoid during pregnancy.



  • A compound called glcyrrhizin is found at high levels in liquorice roots and this may be harmful to your baby.


  • Liquorice sweets are safe, but mostly high in sugar.
  • Liquorice teas are also safe.

This is just a short overview of the specific foods to avoid during pregnancy. Doctor Harriet Holme, covers useful information like what you can drink, and minerals and vitamins during pregnancy in this ebook. For further information regarding this ebook or to purchase, you can get a copy at Amazon here. Its clear and concise and definitely worth a read.

I would also suggest following her on instagram here, as she has a wide source of nutritional advice for everyone, not just those that are pregnant.

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