What Can You Not Eat Or Do While Pregnant?

Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD

Written by China Logarta · Updated May 14, 2022

    What Can You Not Eat Or Do While Pregnant?

    When you’re pregnant, nutrition becomes a key priority for your health as well as baby’s. A general rule of thumb, you might be following is increasing your greens, fruits, and grains. What we probably neglect to consider, however, is that there are things that could affect you and your baby – and not in a good way. Here, we will be discussing what can you not eat or do while pregnant.

    In this article, we will be discussing why it’s important to steer clear or at least minimize these activities and foods, as well as what could happen if we fail to do so.

    Minimize These Foods

    Mercury-rich seafood

    Although this is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the mercury content of certain fish may be high enough to cause damage. Generally, there’s more mercury in larger and older fish. Polluted waters cause fish to contain mercury, which could poison the brain, nerves, kidneys, eyes, skin, and other organs.

    For this reason, this is top on the list of what can you not eat or do while pregnant. Different kinds of fish have different levels of mercury. It’s generally safe to eat dilis, hito, galunggong, sardines, tilapia, salmon, bangus, shrimp, squid, and crab. What you should avoid are marlin, ahi tuna, swordfish and shark.

    Raw, undercooked or contaminated meat, poultry or eggs

    Your risk for bacterial poisoning gets higher when you’re pregnant. In fact, its effects might be worse than if you weren’t. Make sure that you are eating these foods fully cooked.

    Unpasteurized foods

    Soft cheeses such as brie, feta, and blue cheese are not to be eaten unless they are labeled as pasteurized.

    Unwashed fruits and vegetables

    This is also important on the list of what can you not eat or do while pregnant. Avoid raw sprouts like alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean as these can contain pathogenic bacteria.

    Excess caffeine

    Too much of it can cross through the placenta, although the full extent of effects is not yet known.


    No amount of alcohol is safe when you’re pregnant. Drinking puts you at higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. It can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome that results in facial deformities and intellectual disability.

    Avoid These Activities


    You should avoid getting your abdomen massaged in the first three months of pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor before undergoing any kind of therapy.

    Cat litter

    If you’re a proud cat mom, cleaning litter or even going near it is not allowed during pregnancy. Cat feces can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause toxoplasmosis. The risk may be low, but if you get it, you are at higher risk for miscarriage, and blindness and brain damage to the baby.

    Cleaning products

    Handling strong chemicals can damage blood cells and lead to serious conditions.


    This is included in the list of what can you not eat or do while pregnant because in some cases, you might have health problems in which it isn’t advisable. Otherwise, regular exercise can work to your advantage by helping maintain your weight, de-stress, lessen back pain, and varicose veins.

    Hair dyes

    It’s OK to dye your hair after your first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as the risks of chemical substances harming the baby are lower. If you would like to avoid chemical dyes altogether, henna and vegetable dyes will work.

    Paint fumes

    Though the risk due to inhaled chemicals is low, it’s hard to know exactly how low. If you’re renovating your home, know for sure if there is lead in the paint, because lead dust can get in the air and you might inhale it. Lead raises the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and brain, kidney, and nerve damage, and learning or behavioral problems in the child.

    Sauna or jacuzzi

    You should avoid these owing because you might get overheated, dehydrated, or faint. During pregnancy, you may expect to feel warmer. Hormonal changes can also result in you feeling faint. Using a sauna or jacuzzi prevents you from cooling down through sweating, causing your core temperature to rise. Any rise in body temperature can affect your baby’s development, especially in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


    As much as possible, avoid getting an X-ray due to the radiation you’re exposed to in certain stages of pregnancy.

    Reminders on What You Can Not Eat or Do While Pregnant

    Knowing what to avoid when you’re pregnant is just as important as what you should be doing and eating. Certain foods and activities pose risks to your unborn child. To ensure that your baby has a healthy start, make the necessary adjustments to your eating habits and lifestyle. It’s also always a good idea to talk to your doctor so you are fully informed about your pregnancy journey.

    Learn more about Pregnancy here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by China Logarta · Updated May 14, 2022


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