foods that are dangerous during pregnancy

5 Top Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

The surprising 5 foods to stay away from during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, everyone is ready to give you advice. But how do you know what is right? What is the current scientific nutritional knowledge?

For years people have been telling pregnant women to stay away from:

  • Fish
  • Runny Eggs
  • Soft Cheeses
  • Etc.

You’ve probably heard many of those, but are those really what you need to stay away from during your pregnancy? Or could that advice drive you away from how you should be eating during your pregnancy and toward unhealthy choices?

In this article you will learn about 5 of the most dangerous foods to eat while pregnant that you’re doctor won’t be telling you but absolutely should!

This post may contain affiliate links to items I own and love and am confident will benefit you immensely. Please read full disclosure here.


pin of what foods to avoid during pregnancy


Why are we even told to avoid these foods during pregnancy and is that outdated information?

Sorry to say the answer to that question is yes. Keeping you away from fish and eggs is going to compromise your baby’s nutritional needs immensely.

It is true that some fish contain high levels of mercury. The specific fish to avoid during pregnancy are:

  1. tilefish
  2. swordfish
  3. king mackerel
  4. shark
  5. tuna (limit to 6 oz. per week.)

Other than those few fish you should definitely be consuming fish during pregnancy to get enough DHA from a natural food source to grow your baby’s brain.

Read more at the best 5 foods to grow a healthy baby.

Also in that article, you will learn the huge importance of consuming eggs during pregnancy. Do not be scared off by the potential dangers of runny eggs.

You can fully cook your eggs to make sure your baby gets enough of the very important nutrient, choline. Choline has now found to be just as important as folate to a baby’s growth in utero.

So now that we know that the typical old-aged recommendations for what to avoid during pregnancy are far too generalized and actually scare new moms away from eating the way they should to grow a healthy baby.

But that’s not the half of it.

Related: Step by Step Prenatal Nutrition Guide with the Most Up to Date Info in 2020 so you can Grow the Most Healthy Baby Possible



the perfect pregnancy plan prenatal nutrition and fitness program


The Most Informative Prenatal Nutrition Plan

Maybe you have religiously followed this blog through your pregnancy and already know this, but more likely you landed here on a Google or Pinterest search.

I’m the creator of the prenatal nutrition and fitness program known as the Perfect Pregnancy Plan. You see, about 1 1/2 years ago I took a course and got certified in Nutrition and Lifestyle During Pregnancy and what I learned blew my mind.

I became a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer over a decade ago so I knew the benefits of nutrition and exercise in our daily lives. I knew the secrets to having a fit bump only pregnancy.

But I had no idea about everything we’ve discovered through epigenetics about how your diet and exercise during pregnancy directly affects your child’s genetic expression!

That what we eat while pregnant, which nutrients, the amounts, and when can change how our baby’s genes are expressed, directly affecting their predisposition to a multitude of diseases, their metabolism, and their cognitive abilities.

So I continued studying everything we now know in 2020 about nutrition during pregnancy to grow the healthiest baby possible and put it all into an online course for moms. 

Because as mothers we all deserve to have that information at our fingertips in an easy to understand and apply format.

This information isn’t compiled anywhere before now like this.

Breaking down every macronutrient you need to increase, what it does for your baby’s development, and how to source it… even tricks to increase the mineral absorption of your foods.

Giving you guidelines of how much protein you need, how much of each macronutrient, and great printables to help along the way.

I’m super passionate about this subject so could keep going but if you want to learn more about the Perfect Pregnancy Plan you can check it out here. You can see what other moms are saying about it right here.


how to eat and exercise during pregnancy


Top Foods to Avoid While Pregnant that You Never Knew

There are lots of foods that are absolutely terrible for you, that your doctor really should be advising you to stay away from to grow a healthy baby that there’s a good chance they’ll never mention.

Things like white bread and sugar. But you never hear someone tell a pregnant woman, “Be careful to monitor that sweet tooth you’ll probably get, it could be dangerous to your baby.”

Instead, we hear, “Be careful, don’t eat any fish!” which foolishly would direct you away from vital nutrients that aren’t available in nature anywhere else in such a large quantity.

Let me preface this list of foods to avoid during pregnancy by stating that I in no way want you to think that if you enjoy a bowl of ice cream, survive on crackers and cheese through a week of nausea, or scarf down a pizza one night that you are endangering your baby.

Cravings happen. (Be wary that might just be your body’s way of telling you it is lacking a certain nutrient.) Life, food, family, parties, and enjoyment happen. Food and enjoying it are a part of life.

I do not expect your diet to be perfect after reading this list. I’ll be the first to admit there was a good portion of my second pregnancy that I survived on a heck of a lot of ice cream and bean and cheese burritos because everything else caused severe nausea.

Make wise healthy choices as often as you can, indulge occasionally, and balance those sweet or carb loaded indulgences with healthy fats and protein to help metabolize them and keep you full.

Enjoy that piece of birthday cake! Then finish your night with a balanced meal and just skip the carbs at dinner instead. That makes sense right?




What are the Top 5 Foods to Not Eat During Pregnancy?

1. Sugar

sugar is bad while pregnant

To put it blatantly sugar is horrible for you. It is called the “white killer” for a reason. Learn about how sugar destroys your body from Dr. Axe.

Sugar increases the calories in your food and leaves those consumed calories absolutely empty of nutrients.

Sugar consumption during pregnancy can:

  • add on excess pregnancy weight
  • increases the chances of contracting gestational diabetes
  • can predispose your child to diseases, attention problems, and set them up for the preference of sweet foods.

Do not be fooled by foods claiming to be low-fat. Typically, low fat means higher in sugar.

When the naturally occurring fats are removed from our foods in order to make them “low calorie” those fats are replaced with sugars and chemicals.

Always read the nutritional labels on your prepackaged foods and be smart about it! The food companies surely are clever about hiding additional sugars in their foods. They even may add many multiple types of sugar into the same product so that they can place it lower down on the ingredients list, implying that there is less of that ingredient in their product.

Sugar spikes your blood sugars. Giving you a burst of energy and then a feeling of fatigue or a “come down.”

Sugars are addictive. They activate the same pleasure centers and hormones in your brain that drugs do. It is no wonder we get hooked on sugar so easily!

How to end your sugar addiction.

There are two very different ways to stop your sugar addiction.

  1. The first is slowly weaning yourself off. One meal at a time. No sugar with breakfast, then no sugar at breakfast and lunch, then no sugar at breakfast lunch and dinner, and finally removing those sugary snacks and don’t forget the sugary drinks. This can be done over a period of weeks.
  2. The second is to cut it out cold turkey. Though it sounds harder, some people actually work better that way. (I am one of them.) It’s a lot easier for some people to know in their minds that now something is completely off limits, end of story.

Next find delicious sugar free alternatives to fill that void like:

The Perfect Pregnancy Nutrition Plan is built with sugar cravings in mind. We all have them during pregnancy and they can be huge!

In the PPP program you’ll get handfuls of delicious guilt free dessert recipes and learn how to replace sugar and still feel like you’re indulging every day while you satisfy your cravings with mouthwatering but healthy alternatives.


2. Refined Carbohydrates / Refined Grains

dangerous foods to avoid during pregnancy

Refined starches are another food that is absolutely empty in nutrients and high in calories. Sugars and refined carbohydrates are known as “empty calories.”

They are referred to as empty calories this because they dilute the contribution of essential nutrients and beneficial non-nutrient substances in your foods. Essentially, they lower the density of essential nutrients in food.

Your nutritional needs are so high to grow a healthy baby, there’s not much room left over for empty calories. It has been found that the intake of refined grains during pregnancy was the best guide toward identifying a diet lacking proper nutrition to sustain a healthy pregnancy.

Refined carbohydrates that you should avoid during pregnancy are:

  • Anything made from white flour or “enriched flour”
  • White rice
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Instant grains

While whole grains are much better for you and do include some fiber, know that there are still lower nutrients and fiber levels in those grains than there are in many other healthy choices.

Meats and leafy greens are much more nutrient dense than even whole grains. Chia seed and raspberries have much more fiber than a slice of bread. Be aware of these different nutritional options can help you make the best choices to fuel your body and your growing baby during pregnancy.


prenatal nutrition and fitness


3. Vegetable Oils

don't eat vegetable oil while pregnant

We all use vegetable oils in the kitchen for greasing our pans and frying our foods. Why wouldn’t you? It’s ridiculously cheap compared to healthier oils like virgin olive oil and unrefined coconut oil.

Vegetable oil and canola oil are a huge group of oils including:

  • corn oil
  • soy oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • peanut oil
  • cottonseed oil
  • safflower oil.

These are all heavily processed oils that are also very unhealthy.

Fat is very important to consume enough of during pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

Healthy fats give you energy, help keep you full, and actually help you to process the nutrients in vegetables.

It is vital however that you consume the correct types of fats and vegetable oils are not it! Vegetable oils are extremely high in omega-6s which causes them to be very inflammatory to the body.

You need to consume a balanced portion of omega-6 to omega-3 fats; being about a 1:1 ratio. A typical western diet (due to prepackaged and heavily processed foods being the main foods we consume) has a ratio of more like 10:1 of omega-6’s to omega-3’s on average.

This type of unbalanced consumption of omegas may prevent absorption of DHA (which your baby really needs to grow a healthy brain and may even negatively affect your baby’s metabolism and weight throughout their lives.

How to avoid vegetable oils?

Always check your food labels for vegetable oils. You can pretty accurately assume that all fried food is fried in vegetable oils. Don’t forget they are hidden in lots of our processed foods like dressings, mayonnaise, and many snack items.


4. Soy

don't eat soy while pregnant

The nutritional benefit of soy has been quite controversial over the past couple of decades. While it was once touted to be a wonderful new health food, low in calories, high in protein and plant-based… quite the opposite has come to light in recent years.

Most soy is genetically modified and high in pesticide residue. Even if you get a soy product with the non-GMO seal it is still not one of the better choices you could make to consume during pregnancy.

Soy has high levels of phytoestrogens which as you may guess, act like estrogen in the body. During pregnancy, your hormonal balance is very important to be telling your body what to do during each stage of pregnancy. Things like phytoestrogens and endocrine inhibitors should be avoided at all costs so that your hormones remain balanced and your baby’s hormones remain balanced as well.

RELATED: Toxins to Avoid for a Healthy Pregnancy

Soy inhibits the absorption of minerals within the body! It is absolutely essential during your baby’s growth while in your belly that they get enough nutrients. During pregnancy, your vitamin and mineral needs are increased and you don’t want to mess with their absorption in any way!

Soy specifically hinders absorption of zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium. Your iron needs increase during pregnancy to help build baby’s brain, and calcium and magnesium are vital to building healthy bones.

It is best to avoid soy products entirely during pregnancy. If you use a soy protein powder, make the switch to a nutritionally dense pregnancy-safe protein powder at this time.


5. Chemicals Disguised as Foods

chemicals in food to avoid for a healthy pregnancy

Many of our foods aren’t even foods anymore. If it’s created entirely in a laboratory, it isn’t food. It bears no nutritional value, and are usually unhealthy and addictive.

One example of chemicals disguised as foods to stay away from while pregnant are artificial sweeteners. This includes:

  • Sucralose
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharin

While these products activate the pleasure centers in your brain associated with sweetness, they are actually laboratory-created chemicals. Adverse effects of each of these products have been discovered throughout the years including links to cancer and other diseases.

Everything sweet is addictive. The more sweets you eat, the more you will want to eat them. In contrast, the fewer sweets you eat, the less you will crave them.

This typically holds true unless you are lacking in certain nutrients. Occasionally sugar cravings are due to a lack of adequate amounts of magnesium or healthy fats. Try adding these into your diet if you are craving sweets.

Another possible reason you may be craving sweets in candida overgrowth. Candida (yeast) feeds off sugars and can make you crave them. It doesn’t have to be a vaginal yeast infection to have an overgrowth of candida within your body. Candida can be combated with probiotics, either in food forms such as sauerkraut and kefir or in supplement form.

Artificial sweeteners are more than just bad in the long run. They actually kill your healthy gut flora. Once again lowering your level of probiotics, and making you crave even more sweet things!

Eliminate sugars and artificial sweeteners from your pregnancy diet as much as possible.

That being said, you still might have sweet cravings! Try a juicy fruit, a fruit smoothie, stevia, or monk fruit as a healthy sweet alternative.

A second example of chemicals disguised as foods to avoid during pregnancy is artificial flavorings.

For some of our products, it is easy to identify artificial flavorings as it will be written right on the front of the product. But locating chemical flavorings are not always so simple.

Monosodium Glutamate, also known as MSG is an artificial flavor enhancer that is added to many of our delicious tasting foods. It used to be in virtually all Chinese food but since we have discovered the potentially harmful effects of MSG Chinese restaurants have removed it from their foods, and they are still just as delicious!

However many processed foods still contain MSG. And even worse, since the product manufacturers now know that we are on the lookout for MSG in their ingredients lists, they now have many other names for the exact same chemical!

The dangers of MSG during pregnancy:

Monosodium glutamate causes free glutamate to form and float throughout your body. This can be extremely harmful to your fetus as it can break down the placental barrier for their food supply, according to an article on Mom Junction.

Meaning that the placenta has less of an ability to regulate what passes from you to the baby. That includes germs, diseases, and more.

The good and the bad chemicals and nutrients will be able to cross the placenta easier! Not what we want.

MSG also contains lots of sodium, adding unhealthy sodium to your diet and causing bloating and water retention.


Wrapping up the top 5 foods to avoid during pregnancy.

While being told to stay away from raw fish and alcohol is good for baby’s growth and overall health, your doctors should REALLY be warning you about:

  • sugar
  • refined carbohydrates
  • vegetable oil
  • soy
  • artificial sweeteners
  • MSG

These foods can directly affect your baby in very negative ways. They are dangerous and should be avoided as much as you can to grow the healthiest baby possible and set it up for a long life of health ahead of them.

If you loved this post the Perfect Pregnancy Plan is exactly up your alley. It has all the prenatal nutrition and fitness information you seek and teaches you how they are both directly connected to your baby’s health so you can learn to enhance your child’s genetic expression in this quick but vital 40 weeks.

Posts Related to Having a Healthy Pregnancy:

  1. The Top 5 Foods to Eat to Grow a Healthy Baby
  2. Toxic Chemicals to Avoid to Grow a Healthy Baby


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The top 5 foods to stay away from during pregnancy.

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