Mommies-to-be Part 2: Pregnancy Nutrition No-No's

When you’re pregnant, everyone loves telling you what to do and not to do. Friends, family members and even strangers! People are going to tell you all sorts of things that you shouldn’t eat, and if you’re the Googling type you’ll probably find a whole list there too.

Photo credit: @Rachel Andrews Photography


You’re also going to have the other extreme: people saying things like “oh but I ate sushi throughout my pregnancy and my baby turned out just fine.”

It’s good to be be informed by a reliable source, and to understand the reasoning behind WHY you shouldn’t eat/drink certain foods and beverages.

Food poisoning is quite a “common” thing, but when you’re pregnant you’re at higher risk for negative consequences of food poisoning such as miscarriage. This is one of the main reasons for avoiding high-risk foods during pregnancy and ensuring that the foods you eat are safe and at low risk for bacterial contamination.

Some high-risk foods to avoid during pregnancy

  • Raw eggs- eggs should be well cooked (this also means not licking the mixing bowl or spoon when baking with eggs)

  • Raw or undercooked meat or fish (this unfortunately includes sushi and biltong)- meat should be cooked through

  • Unpasteurized milk

  • Soft and moudly cheeses- luckily there are still plenty of others you can enjoy!

  • Processed meats- eg. ham and viennas- if you DO want a hot dog, make sure to boil your vienna first

  • Caution with seafood- cooked and tinned fish is generally okay eg. tuna, but caution with smoked seafood eg. salmon

Other things to avoid/limit

  • Organ meats- if you enjoy liver, limit it to once a week

  • Caffeine- the good news is that you CAN still have your daily coffee (YAY!) but just limit to 1-2 cups daily

  • Avoid smoking and/or second hand smoke

  • Alcohol should be avoided

I know you may be looking at this list thinking about how terrible it’s going to be to not be able to have sushi and wine BUT your and your baby’s health is the number 1 priority and just think- it’s only 9 months out of the rest of your life! Imagine how good that first piece of biltong is going to taste after 9 months. 😉

If you have any questions or concerns regarding food safety during pregnancy, contact a Registered Dietitian for guidance.

-Amber Kelly (Registered Dietitian, South Africa)


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