Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Food Safety During Pregnancy

What Foods and Drinks Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

Foods that are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria or to contain heavy metals are ones to skip or limit during pregnancy. They include:

  • soft, unpasteurized cheeses (often advertised as "fresh") such as some feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican queso fresco. Soft cheeses labeled as “pasteurized” usually are OK, especially if they're individually packaged and not cut at the deli counter from a larger piece.
  • unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
  • raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, including mousse, tiramisu, raw cookie dough, eggnog, homemade ice cream, and Caesar salad dressing
  • raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or meats
  • paté and meat spreads
  • processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats (these should be well-cooked before eating)

What About Seafood?

Fish and shellfish can be a healthy part of a pregnancy diet because they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat. But avoid the kinds that can have high levels of mercury, which can damage the brain of a developing fetus. Fish to avoid:

  • shark
  • swordfish
  • king mackerel
  • tilefish
  • tuna steak (limited amounts of canned, preferably light, tuna is OK)

When you choose seafood, eat a variety of fish and shellfish and limit the amount to about 12 ounces per week — that's about two meals. Common fish and shellfish that are low in mercury include canned light tuna, catfish, pollock, salmon, and shrimp. Albacore (or white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna, so it's best to eat no more than 6 ounces (or one meal) of albacore tuna a week.

What Else Should I Know?

You may have to skip a few foods during pregnancy that you normally enjoy. But just think how delicious they'll taste when you can enjoy them safely again.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: Jan 1, 2023

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.