What to avoid during pregnancy
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What You Need To Avoid During Pregnancy

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew there were things I couldn’t do anymore. You know, obvious stuff like no heavy lifting. What I didn’t realize was that there are a lot more things to avoid during pregnancy!

If you have recently found out you’re pregnant, you probably can relate when I say you are already willing to make sacrifices for your new little one.

Some of the items on this list might be hard for you to stop doing, but keep in mind that it’s only for nine months, and it’s what’s best for your baby. Once your pregnancy is over, you will realize how fast those nine months go by!

Keep reading to find out more!

This post contains affiliate links to products I have used and enjoyed. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. To find out more, you can read my disclaimer here. Also, I am not a doctor or medical professional. As always, consult your doctor with any questions you may have.

Why Skip These Foods?

It’s recommended to skip these foods because they put you at a higher risk of getting an illness. Some of those illnesses include:

  • Salmonella – A bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated foods and has symptoms similar to food poisoning.
  • Listeria – Also a bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated food but is more severe for pregnant women.
  • Toxoplasmosis – A parasitic disease that comes from undercooked meat or infected cat poo.

When you are pregnant, you can’t take certain medications, including certain antibiotics. This makes it harder for you to get better if you contract one of the illnesses above.

Even if the chance of getting sick is small, it’s best to avoid the risk altogether. It’s better to be safe than sorry, in my opinion!

What To Avoid During Pregnancy: Foods

1. Soft Cheeses/ Unpasteurized Dairy

You should avoid soft cheese and unpasteurized dairy during pregnancy. If you are unsure of what counts as soft cheese, examples would be brie, chevre, and gorgonzola.

When dairy is pasteurized, it is heated and then cooled to kill any harmful bacteria. This process is the reason it’s safer to choose over raw products.

In conclusion, consuming soft cheese or unpasteurized, raw milk can put you at risk of getting listeria.

2. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs should be avoided while pregnant because of the risk of salmonella. Make sure to thoroughly cook your eggs, both the egg white and yolk.

Sadly, this means no raw cookie dough. 🙁

3. Raw Seafood/ High Mercury Fish

If you love eating fish, you will be glad to hear that many kinds of fish are still ok to eat while pregnant.

You will want to steer away from fish with high mercury. Fish that contain high mercury levels are swordfish and marlin. They should be cut out of your diet completely.

Canned tuna is a fish that should be limited during pregnancy. A general guideline is that you shouldn’t eat more than 12 ounces of light tuna a week.

As for raw seafood, you will want to avoid it as it can carry bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

4. Caffeine

When it comes to caffeine, you don’t necessarily have to cut it out completely. The general guideline is to stay under 200mg of caffeine a day, which is about 1-2 cups of coffee, depending on how it’s prepared.

The biggest reason to cut caffeine out of your diet is that as your baby is developing, they don’t have the metabolism to process it, which causes it to stay in their bodies longer.

While I was pregnant, I found that the first couple of weeks I wasn’t drinking caffeine were the hardest. After those initial weeks, it does get easier not to have it.

5. Cold Deli Meat

When it comes to eating deli meat while pregnant, you might hear a lot of different opinions. The reason that you shouldn’t eat cold deli meat is that it can carry listeria.

If you don’t want to give up lunchmeat, make sure you warm it up first. You can either microwave the meat separately or grill the sandwich on the stove to kill the bacteria.

Because I prefer to have meat in my sandwiches and wanted to skip using lunch meat, I started using chicken breast.

I would do one of two things. The first option I would do is buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco (because they are huge and cheap!) and shred the meat.

Besides buying a whole chicken, I would cook some chicken breasts in the crockpot and shred them. Both options are so easy, and you get the benefit of still having protein!

What to avoid during pregnancy - Pregnant woman eating in kitchen

6. Raw/ Undercooked Meats

During pregnancy, you will want to make sure all of the meat you eat is cooked to the proper temperature. If you eat raw or undercooked meat, you can be at risk of getting salmonella or toxoplasmosis.

7. Unwashed Produce/ Raw Sprouts

Pregnant or not, you should always wash your produce before eating it! Who knows how many dirty hands touched that apple before you bought it! 😉

Washing your produce is super simple. This article from the FDA reminds us to rinse produce before peeling so your knife doesn’t transfer dirt into the fruit.

It’s also recommended to scrub the produce under plain running water with either your hand or a produce brush. Then dry your produce with a towel, and that’s it!

8. Alcohol/ Smoking

I feel like this is one thing to avoid during pregnancy that most people know already, but there is no safe amount of alcohol that you can drink while pregnant.

The same goes for smoking.

What To Avoid During Pregnancy: Activities

9. Hot Tubs/Saunas

Hot tubs and saunas are things to avoid during pregnancy because they raise your body temperature. You don’t want to have a temperature above 101 degrees because it can be harmful to your baby’s development.

10. Heavy Lifting

When I was pregnant, my doctor advised me to lift no more than 25 pounds at a time. You won’t want to lift too much because you are at a greater risk for injury while pregnant.

What to avoid during pregnancy- pregnant woman sitting on a bed with a notebook

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11. Cleaning The Cat Litter Box

As I stated above, cat poo can carry toxoplasmosis. If you have a cat in your household, it’s best to let someone else change the cat box. If nobody can take over this chore for you, it’s best to wear gloves and a mask while cleaning.

12. Some OTC Medications

You will need to check with your doctor about any medications you are taking, over-the-counter ones or not. Some OTC medications are entirely out of the question, like Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

As you already know, you should be taking a prenatal vitamin! I took these throughout my pregnancy and during 18+ months of breastfeeding, and they never made me nauseous as some other brands have.

13. Wearing High Heels

As your pregnancy gets farther along, you might find that your balance is a little off. That is because as your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts.

I had never thought of this when I was pregnant. Therefore, I wore a pair of shoes with a somewhat higher heel to work every day for most of my pregnancy.

One morning when I was six months pregnant, I heading out of the house to go to work, and I fell in my garage. Nobody else was home, and I was pretty shaken up! Thankfully, everything was totally fine.

After that scare, I immediately bought these flat shoes and wore them every day for the rest of my pregnancy. (And after!) They are so comfortable, and I felt much more safe wearing them.

Whatever shoes you choose to wear, make sure they are comfortable and feel very secure walking in them. You don’t want to risk your shoes causing an accident, especially when you are a little more clumsy while pregnant.

14. X-Rays

X-ray beams give off small amounts of radiation. That is why it’s best to skip any X-rays during pregnancy.

As a reminder, tell your dentist that you are pregnant! During routine teeth cleanings, your doctor will skip doing your X-rays until after you have your baby.

15. Sitting Or Standing For Long Periods

You will want to make sure you are not in one position for too long while pregnant.

Sitting or standing for extended periods can cause blood clots or restricted blood flow. Not to mention, if you are starting to feel achy, moving around will help ease the pain.

You won’t want to sit for too long because pregnant women are more at risk for hemorrhoids. If you experience hemorrhoids, having a pillow like this to sit on can help take the pressure off of your bottom.

What to avoid during pregnancy - Pregnant woman sitting on a bed looking at ultrasounds

16. Certain Chores

This might be great news if you hate doing chores! You should consider having your partner pick up more responsibilities around the house for the next nine months!

If that is not an option, you will want to switch to cleaners without toxic fumes. A great example of a non-toxic cleaner is this one!

You will also want to avoid painting. When you do decide to have someone paint your nursery, choose paint with no/low VOCs.

Lastly, gardening is another chore you should hold off on. This is because you can risk exposure to toxoplasmosis from the soil. You will also want to avoid any pesticides.

17. Sleeping On Your Back

Sleeping on your back is ok to do while in the first trimester. Once you are in your second and third trimesters, you should start sleeping on your side.

It’s best to sleep on your side during pregnancy because your growing baby will put pressure on one of the central veins in your back.

If you have difficulty getting comfortable and sleeping while pregnant, I highly suggest this pregnancy pillow. It will offer support for basically any part of your body, which is excellent as you get farther along and start to get sore joints.

18. Extreme Sports/ Heavy Exercise

If you are into extreme sports or hefty exercise, you will need to put a hold on it.

As far as exercise goes, please talk with your doctor about what they are comfortable with you doing. I generally tend to stick with activities like walking and yoga.

When it comes to sports, you will want to avoid anything that could involve getting hit or knocked down.

19. Flying Late In Third Trimester

If you are in your last month of pregnancy, you should hold off on taking any flights. The reason for this is that your circulation isn’t as great while pregnant, and sitting for long periods and aggravate that.

If you have any pregnancy complications, you will not want to be away from your doctor if you need them.

Before you go check out these related articles:

What was the hardest thing for you to avoid during pregnancy? I would love to know in the comments below!

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  1. Wonderful reminders! I CRAVED lunchmeat so badly with my daughter, and the microwave tip was such a relief when I learned about it.

    1. That’s funny how we tend to crave things like that during pregnancy! It’s a good thing that there are usually good alternatives out there haha

  2. Wow, thanks for such an insightful post. I didn’t know about many of the foods mentioned above that are not good.

  3. What a great reminder of all the things to avoid to during pregnancy to make sure baby grows well. The hardest for me was the caffeine (especially when pregnant with my second). I love my coffee, and let’s be honest, mom life is tiring!

    1. Caffeine was the hardest for me as well! I can only imagine how tough cutting out caffeine would be during a second pregnancy!

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