To reduce the risk of getting a foodborne illness during pregnancy that may harm your baby or lead to miscarriage, there are certain things that you will need to give up when you’re pregnant.

What should I avoid when pregnant?

Meat and fish
  • Pâté (all types) can, on rare occasions contain listeria bacteria, which are harmful to your baby.
  • Raw or undercooked meat, including cured meat for example parma ham (prosciutto) and salami. These can carry bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. Meat should be cooked thoroughly with no pink meat or blood left. You should also avoid contact of raw meat with foods that are eaten raw, such as vegetables.
  • Liver contains very high levels of vitamin A, which can harm your baby.
  • Avoid certain types of fish - shark, marlin and swordfish as they contain mercury and other pollutants that can harm your baby’s developing nervous system.
  • Raw shellfish should not be eaten as it carries a risk of food poisoning.
  • Oily fish is great for the development of your baby’s nervous system and eyes, but you should not eat more than two portions (1 portion = 140g, cooked weight) a week because they can contain pollutants, which can harm your baby. The same goes for tuna, so don’t eat more than 4 cans or 2 medium sized steaks per week.

Cheese and dairy

  • Cheeses with a soft rind like Brie and Camembert, and blue veined cheeses like stilton. You should also avoid unpasteurised soft cheeses such as goats’ cheese. These types of cheese can contain listeria bacteria, although this is rare.
  • Unpasteurised milk and milk products can also contain bacteria that are harmful to you and your baby.

  • Raw or partially cooked eggs, as well as products containing raw eggs such as homemade mayonnaise and salad dressings. Raw eggs might contain salmonella which can cause food poisoning. Most shop-bought mayonnaises and dressings contain pasteurised eggs so are safe to eat, but check if you are eating out at a restaurant as they may make their own.


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