Foods to avoid during pregnancy


To eat or not to eat?

Most foods are safe to enjoy during pregnancy, however certain foods carry risks to your or your baby’s health.

Unpasteurised Dairy Products & Cheeses

You should avoid any dairy products made from unpasteurised cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk as this contains an increased risk of listeria. This slightly increases the chance of stillbirth or miscarriage as well as make a newborn baby quite unwell. Click here for more information from the NHS regarding listeriosis.

Pasteurised milk, icecream and yoghurt are all safe to consume.

Hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Stilton and Parmesan and soft cheeses such as Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Mozzarella, Paneer and Feta are also perfectly safe too.

Mould ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, and blue cheeses such as Danish Blue and Roquefort should be avoided unless they’ve been cooked through until they’re steaming hot.

Mould ripened cheeses contain more moisture, therefore carry more risk of increased growth of bacteria.


Poultry and beef are safe to consume as long as they are cooked through thoroughly until there is no pink or blood showing. Raw meat contains an increased risk of toxoplasmosis.

Cured meats such as pepperoni and salami haven’t gone through the cooking process which carries a higher chance of toxoplasmosis which can cause some serious problems. Click here for more information from the NHS on toxoplasmosis.

Avoid liver and pate, these contain high levels of Vitamin A which is harmful to your baby. Game meats such as pheasant and partridge should be avoided as these can contain lead.


Look out for eggs that have the British Lion stamp, these are safe to consume runny, hard or in mayonnaise. If they are not lion stamped, please ensure the white and the yolk is completely cooked through until solid before eating. The same goes for duck and quails eggs.

British Lion stamped eggs contain a lower risk of salmonella and while salmonella will not harm your unborn baby it can make you quite unwell.

Fish & Shellfish

Both fish and shellfish are safe to consume once they have been cooked thoroughly and not eaten raw. Shellfish also includes prawns, mussels and clams so as long as these are cooked through, they are absolutely safe.

We recommend limiting oily fish to 2 portions a week such as salmon or mackerel. As well as no more than 2 tuna steaks or 4 cans of tuna a week as they are quite high in mercury.

Sushi is safe as long as it has been frozen first but we do recommend avoiding marlin, swordfish and shark. Smoked fish such as smoked salmon and trout are fine to eat during pregnancy


When it comes to caffeine, it’s best to avoid consuming over 200mg of caffeine per day. Instant coffee contains approximately 100gm and green tea around 75mg per cup. Beware that your coffee shop coffee will probably have a higher level of caffeine compared to the instant coffee you may have at home so please take care.

Don’t forget that caffeine can be found in energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster too. Milk chocolate contains approximately 10mg of caffeine for every 50g of chocolate.

We recommend avoiding alcohol during pregnancy as it can contribute to developmental problems for your unborn baby.

We do recommend lots and lots of fruit and veg, this is really good for your growing baby and your health too. Make sure you wash your produce thoroughly to get rid of any soil. 

FREE Baby Care Workshop

Are you expecting your first baby? Sign up to our FREE Workshop!

Our Midwife-led classes contain the most up-to-date and evidence-based information available for expectant parents.