Foods to steer clear of during pregnancy

All these foods should be avoided throughout your pregnancy.


Cut this guide out and stick it on your fridge.

  • Ripened cheeses such as Brie or Camembert and blue vein cheeses such as Stilton – there’s a risk of listeriosis, a nasty infection that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or make a newborn baby very ill. However, it’s very rare in the UK. Cheese spreads, cream cheese, feta, mozzarella and ricotta are all fine.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs, which could be found in home-made mayonnaise, dips, or desserts such as chocolate mousse, meringues, tiramisu or ice cream – there’s a risk of salmonella poisoning, which could make a mum-to-be very ill, although it wouldn’t directly affect your baby. Shop-bought versions of these desserts are fine, though.
  • Liver or anything containing liver – it contains high levels of vitamin A, which could harm your baby.
  • Undercooked meat and fish – risk of toxoplasmosis or listeriosis, which could lead to stillbirth or severe health problems in your baby.
  • Undercooked ready meals – there’s a risk of listeriosis. Always make sure your food is piping hot.
  • Unwashed fruit and veg – there’s a risk of toxoplasmosis or listeriosis. Rewash bagged salads.
  • Peanuts, if you or your partner have a nut allergy, hayfever, eczema or asthma.
  • Shark, Swordfish or marlin – they contain mercury, which could harm your baby’s nervous system.
  • Pate (even veggie pâté) – there’s a risk of listeriosis.
  • Shellfish, unless it’s piping hot – otherwise it might harbour bugs that could cause food poisoning.

Finally… Protect yourself by paying attention to ‘best before’ dates; keeping cooked and raw foods covered and apart during storage; and cooking your food so it’s piping hot.

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