What Foods To Eat And Avoid During Pregnancy

Every woman enters a new world during her first pregnancy – one filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, aches, pains and choices. Advice is always available whether you ask for it or not. Most people provide it based on their own experience. Older women provide it on the wisdom gained from the collective experience of their generation. Some are steeped in tradition like having saffron milk for the baby to get good complexion or avoiding conjoint fruits to reduce the risk of Siamese twins. So what’s the list of edibles available between the possible yeses and definite nos? Here you go:

Good To Eat List

Home Cooked Food: 

Thoroughly washed and freshly cooked home food with a tone down on salt spices and oil is a great addition to your plate any time of the day.

Fresh Fruits And Veggies:

These should be a staple part of your everyday diet so that you get your required intake of vitamins and fiber. Though leafy veggies are a great source of nutrition, do a double wash (even if the packet says triple washed) to avoid a bacterial infection. The keyb here is to have a good variety in your diet. This not only lowers your risk of infection from one source but also helps your taste palette and gives you a variety of nutrients.


The good part is soy is a powerhouse of nutrition. You can have all soy products like tofu, soy milk and soy yogurt as long as the products have followed their storage instruction and the “best before” date is good to go.

Debatable List:

Tea / Coffee:

Caffeine studies are at best “confusing”. While some say moderate amounts are fine, others say that even a small quantity of it increases the risk to the fetus. As per the most recent guidelines, its best to limit to 2 cups / 300 milligrams a day.

Canned Foods:

Most will contain preservative. Check for a “consume-before” date and if the food requires refrigeration after you open it. Better go for fresh than canned


It is best to eat leftovers within a day when it has been stored in the fridge. Always reheat to 60 degrees or more before consuming.


These are a great source of nutrition but doctors recommend a note of caution. Don’t use dirty or cracked eggs. Stay away from them totally even if there is a far flung rumour on the other end of the world on a chicken epidemic. If you choose to have them, cook them well at least 71 degrees C.

Hot Takeaway Chicken:

Though outside cooked foods are to be generally avoided, you can have chicken from takeaways if it is well cooked.

Cooked Seafood:

Eat if it is thoroughly cooked, homemade and can be consumed when hot.

Strict No-No List

Raw Seafood / Sushi:

Sea food from a source near the city can be high on pollutants like mercury that can affect your baby.

Raw Or Processed Meat:

Give a skip to ham, salami and chicken meat outside as there is no way to be sure how thoroughly it is cooked. Also avoid the cold turkey, chicken or meat in sandwich bars as you just don’t know how well they’ve been stored.


Soft and semi-soft cheese were once considered potentially harmful because they can harbor listeria. Listeriosis, an illness caused by the bacteria listeria, can be passed to the fetus, leading to miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth. Some soft cheeses have been allowed in a can-have list as long as it is made with pasteurized milk and is well cooked.


Doctors typically put this in the strict no list. There are debatable studies that say that small amounts of alcohol doesn’t affect the fetus. And women who are used to have a drink here and there everyday want to believe this study. The problem is the side-effects are much more than you can bargain for. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS causes mental retardation and so many other abnormalities that it is simply not worth the risk. If you have a problem staying away, get a support group to help right away.

As always, keep a list armed and ready during your next doctor visit checking if you can eat a particular food or not. No amount of reading or general knowledge substitutes your physician’s tailored advice.

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