Surprising Foods to Avoid if Pregnant

Pregnant women face many changes from physical and lifestyle changes, to changes in what they eat. Some may not realize that pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning. During pregnancy your immune system is weakened while your growing baby’s immune system is undeveloped, making it much harder for both of you to fight off harmful pathogens.

Being more vulnerable to food poisoning, pregnant women should be cautious of the following foods:

Raw or Undercooked Eggs

Be sure to cook foods with raw eggs or egg mixtures thoroughly to 160°F, and avoid raw or undercooked eggs, such as:

Soft-cooked eggs or poached eggs if runny

  • Unpasteurized eggnog

Avoid homemade foods with raw or undercooked eggs (unless made with pasteurized eggs or a liquid egg substitute), such as:

Caesar salad dressing

  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Some puddings and custards
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Tiramisu
  • Cookie dough, cake batter

Raw Dairy Products

  • Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheeses
  • Some fresh soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, blue-veined varieties, Mexican-style queso fresco

Raw Fish and Shellfish 

  • Sushi, sashimi
  • Ceviche
  • Tuna carpaccio
  • Raw molluscan shellfish: raw clams, oysters, mussels, scallops
  • Refrigerated smoked fish: lox, jerky, kippered and nova-style

Raw or Rare Meat or Undercooked Poultry 

  • Raw or rare hamburger
  • Carpaccio (thin shavings of raw beef filet)
  • Beef or steak tartare


  • Unpasteurized, refrigerated pate or meat spreads (these are safe if canned or cooked to 165°F)
  • Deli salads specifically ham, chicken and seafood salad
  • Raw sprouts including alfalfa, clover and radish sprouts
  • Unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juice
  • Hot dogs (unless first cooked to 165°F)
  • Deli meats (unless first cooked to 165°F)

NOTE: Most pre-made foods from grocery stores, such as Caesar dressing, pre-made cookie dough or packaged eggnog are made with pasteurized eggs.

HERE is more information on food safety during pregnancy.

Food & Nutrition Magazine
Food & Nutrition Magazine publishes articles on food and diet trends, highlights of nutrition research and resources, updates on public health issues and policy initiatives related to nutrition, and explorations of the cultural and social factors that shape Americans’ diets and health.