Foods to avoid when pregnant

Pregnancy does some weird and wonderful things to your body. OK, mainly just weird. Apart from things growing, getting bigger, swollen or suddenly sticking out, you might discover a love for new food and interesting food combination. Peanut butter and sardine pizzas, anyone?

While a little of what you fancy is often a good idea, there are still some things that are best avoided when you’re pregnant.


Rich in calcium it may be, but some cheeses are fundamentally dangerous during pregnancy. Specifically avoid mould-ripened soft cheeses likes brie, camembert(I love these two and it was so hard to not have them when pregnant), goats cheese or soft blue-veined cheeses like Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort.

These types of cheeses are made with mould, and as a result can contain the listeria bacteria. Admittedly a listeriosis infection is rare, but even in its mildest form it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn. Avoiding the cheese and biscuits for 40 weeks is definitely the safer option.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Hard blue-cheeses such as stilton are regarded as safe, and it is also OK to eat cooked soft-cheeses, for example, a creamy blue-cheese sauce, as the heating process will kill the bacteria.

Raw eggs

When it comes to eggs, it’s best to be on the safe side during pregnancy. Raw eggs, such as used in home-made mayonnaise, creates a risk of salmonella.

It does mean if you’re a fan of runny eggs for breakfast you might have to go hard boiled for a few months, but you might develop a taste for them.

Raw meat

Make sure any meat you eat is fully cooked, with no traces of pink. If you usually like your steak raw, then we’re sorry to say that’s another thing you should cross off the menu for the next few months. Take special care with mince, burgers and sausages.

Recently guidelines have also suggested extra care should be taken with cured meats such as chorizo, Parma ham and pepperoni as these may contain parasites that cause toxoplasmosis. Such risks can be reduced by freezing such meats for four days before consumption, as the freezing process will kill any parasites present.

Though, whether you’ll ever want to eat chorizo again after reading this, is another matter!


In an ideal world we’d all be able to give up caffeine for the whole 40 weeks. However, we’re already dealing with sleep deprivation, heartburn, morning sickness and hormone surges, so it’s probably best not to go cold turkey. People could get hurt.

Current guidelines suggest you should limit your intake to 200 milligrams per day. To put that in perspective, the average 8-oz cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams, and a shot of Espresso is on average 63 mg. However, if you switch to decaf, your cup will runneth over at only 3 mg per cup.


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