24/02/2016 7:07 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Foods To Avoid When You're Pregnant

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nutrition and diet during pregnancy. Pregnant woman standing near refrigerator with fruits and vegetables

For many women, pregnancy is a wonderful blessing. Yet at this physically challenging time, (think fatigue, hormones and the stress on the body of growing an adorable little human), when you might be wanting to treat yo'self on the food front, the pantry door is slammed if your face.

Of all the changes that happen when a woman is pregnant, one major change is her dietary requirements and, unfortunately, not always for the better.

“A pregnant woman is at a greater risk for foodborne illnesses, so it is important that she avoids certain types of foods during pregnancy,” accredited practising dietitian and DAA spokeswoman Kate Gudorf told The Huffington Post Australia.

She said when a woman is pregnant, her immune system becomes suppressed, making it more difficult to fight off infection.

“The foods she needs to avoid are the ones that would carry the biggest risks of being contaminated -- particularly with listeria, campylobacter or salmonella,” Gudorf said.

“If a pregnant woman catches some of these bugs it’s really dangerous to the health of the baby,” Gudorf said. “Worst case scenario is the baby could potentially not survive -- so it is something to be aware of.”

Here is a list of foods to avoid while pregnant:

Raw fish and deli meat

“Women while pregnant should avoid meats that are raw or undercooked -- so unfortunately no sashimi, no sushi, no deli meats and no prepackaged ready-to-eat meats,” Gudorf said.

Food from food bars

“So that would be things like salads bars, buffets, sandwich bars -- things where foods have been sat out,” Gudorf said.

Prepackaged produce

"Also avoid prepackaged, preprepared fruits and veggies -- those things are a no-go because they could contain foodborne illnesses.”

Soft cheeses

“No soft cheeses -- no brie, camembert, feta, ricotta,” Gudorf said, “Definitely no unpasteurised milk products.”

Look away, mums-to-be -- stay tuned for a great soft cheese swap.


“Pate is another big one,” Gudorf said. “These really carry the risk of being contaminated with listeria.”

Mayonnaise, aioli and raw cookie dough

“These are definitely ones to avoid because they have raw egg -- so anything with a raw or undercooked egg,” Gudorf said.

“Even for something like a poached egg, you want to be aware of.”

Prepackaged lettuce and salad leaves

“I err on the side of caution -- prepackaged lettuce is something that could potentially carry the risk,” Gudorf said.

“Particularly if it gets that slimy look about it, or it looks like it's been bruised, then it could potentially carry that risk.”


“I would say avoid sprouts during pregnancy,” Gudorf told HuffPost Australia. “Sprouts are risky -- they can easily be contaminated so it’s best to avoid them.”

And, not that you were planning on eating it anyway, but if you are pregnant, try to avoid cleaning your cat’s litter box.

Toxoplasmosis -- an infection caused by a parasite -- is also a risk when pregnant.

“Toxoplasmosis contamination often comes from scooping cat litter, so if you have a cat just be aware -- have your partner clean the litter box when you’re pregnant,” Gudorf said.

Steer clear of sprouts like alfalfa, mung bean and radish sprouts.

Although it might seem as though you can’t eat ANYTHING during pregnancy, use these great swaps for your off-limits favourites.

Swap soft cheese for hard cheeses

“Hard cheese is great, it’s absolutely fine,” Gudorf said. “So something like a tasty or a cheddar.”

Swap undercooked eggs for well-cooked eggs

“Enjoy your eggs scrambled, or have a frittata or an omelette during pregnancy,” Gudorf said.

Swap leafy salad for Greek salad

“If you really enjoy salads, make salads with veggies that aren’t leafy,” Gudorf told HuffPost Australia

“Try Greek salads or more veggie-based salads rather than leafy green salads.”

Swap raw and deli meat for lean meat

“Great lean protein sources include beef, lamb, chicken,” Gudorf said.

“For fish, you just want to be aware that some fish does have a higher mercury content, but you can have two to three serves of low mercury fish every week.”

Swap mayonnaise for yogurt

“You could try something like yogurt in place of mayonnaise -- depending on what you’re using the mayonnaise for,” Gudorf said. “If you’re making something like a pasta salad you can swap out yogurt for that.”