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10 Foods You Should Avoid During Pregnancy and Why

Here are the top 10 foods you should avoid during pregnancy and why you should not eat them. The old adage says “You are what you eat”, but in the case of a pregnant woman, what she eats doesn’t only shape her, it shapes her baby too.

Babies get their nutrition from their mothers, however, not in the same hard form that the mother swallows, but these nutrients go a long way in affecting a child’s development and growth. In the state of pregnancy, the average woman’s immune system is weakened, and she is therefore more susceptible to bacteria and virus attacks.

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You might observe that when you are pregnant, you become more prone to some illnesses that your body was previously able to fight. In the real sense of it, the woman’s immune system is not actually weakened… It just becomes more tolerant, even though it does much more work.

Take this for example. Your security man at home on a normal day would stop individuals at the gate and even some times harass them and act scornfully towards them. This is not because of his nature, but because he wants to ensure that you are safe – and that’s his job.

However, if you have a birthday party in your house and you do not have a specific list of invitees, your security man would have to be more tolerant with the numerous people that troop into the house. This is because the conditions have changed. Your security man is your immune system.

Pregnancy generally alters the normal functioning of your body and your system has to make a lot of changes in order to adapt to the new life that is coming.

Your immune system becomes more tolerable to accommodate these changes. Also, these bacteria and viruses are smart enough to pretend like they are part of the changes that are occurring. Hence your immune system might be late to spot them.

So how do you keep yourself safe during this pregnancy phase? How do you boost immune system to fight bacteria and viruses, and reduce it’s work load? You can help yourself by knowing what foods might be dangerous or risky to you during pregnancy.

You should know that your immune system is responsible for your baby’s health while it is in your tummy. It is possible that you do not feel sick, but your baby has been infected by Listeria and Taxoplasma or other food borne illnesses, and these could pose serious health issues for your baby.

I hope you are having a good read. Let’s proceed.

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I had to start with this because a large majority of Nigerian women are obsessed with “Suya”. Your “hunnie, buy me suya” attitude must come to an end once you get pregnant.

At least wait till after delivery before your mouth begins to water for suya again. Pregnant women are usually more susceptible to the risk of food poisoning from raw or undercooked meat due to microorganisms like Listeria and Salmonella that are present in these foods.

Taxoplasma can also be found in raw or undercooked meat and even poultry which might cause mental retardation and blindness for a baby. You dont want that for your child, do you? Being a good parent starts from when your kids are in the womb.

– Number Two (2) ALCOHOL
When you are pregnant, alcohol is a complete No No! There is no reason at all why you should take alcohol. To those women that say “I feel a worm-like movement in my throat, maybe a little alcohol would burn it”, or “I am so stressed out.

I think I should have very little alcohol “, or “I am pregnant! Let’s drink to it!”… Stop that now. If you are a heavy drinker, even if it means going to sleep in your church for entire nine months, then please, do it.

No quantity of alcohol is allowed, please. The effects that alcohol might have on a baby is way too damaging. Birth disorders and a condition known as Foetal Alcohol Syndrome are real risks.

Mental retardation, facial deformities, congenital heart defects, are not conditions you want to joke with. All husbands should read this and help ensure that their wives stay away from alcohol during this period.


All pregnant mothers should cultivate the habit of washing their fruits and vegetables before consumption. Fruits and vegetables are foods that pregnant mothers should eat much of during their pregnancy period.

They are very nutritious, and help the development of both mother and baby, however, when they are consumed unwashed, they pose a tremendous threat to both mother and baby.

Please was your fruits and vegetables. At times, you might be in situations that make it difficult to wash. Other times, you might go to the market and buy vegetables, and request that the sellers cut them into pieces for you.

Please request that they wash it before they begin cutting, and you should ensure you wash them at hone before use or immediate consumption.

– Number Four (4) CAFFEINE
Caffeine is dangerous for you and your baby. Caffeine is contained in chocolate, coffee, tea, energy drinks and even some soft drinks.

Be aware of the quantity of caffeine contained in these products before consumption, as too much caffeine is dangerous for pregnant women. Make sure you do NOT consume above 200mg of caffeine per day.

Raw or undercooked eggs can be easily infected by microorganisms like salmonella. This might not be dangerous to the average person, but as a pregnant woman, you should be more concerned because raw or undercooked eggs pose a huge threat of food poisoning since you are more susceptible.

Cook your eggs properly and avoid consuming raw eggs. Also avoid products that were made with raw eggs, even home made ice cream.

– Number Six (6) SEA FOODS
During the period of pregnancy, h avoid seafood. Seafood are usually not prepared under very high temperature, and typically do not stay under heat for a long time.

Microorganisms can easily survive in seafood that can be dangerous for your baby, plus a variety of them contain high mercury.

Most people think that only ulcer patients or people with GERD should stay away from these kinds of fruits.. but I tell you today that even pregnant women should stay away from them.

These include lemon ( criminally acidic), oranges and other citrus fruits, pineapples, carbonized drinks, etc. They can have serious effects on the development of a baby.

– Number Eight (8) SPECIFIC FISH
Some kinds of fish are dangerous to pregnant women, and they should therefore stay away from them. This especially includes fish that have high concentration of mercury.

Fish with high concentration of mercury are sometimes risky to the average person, and disastrous to pregnant ladies.

Mercury can damage a baby’s nervous system. You should avoid swordfish, shark, sardines, mackerel, tuna, trout, and Marlin.

These are the common ones that you are likely to come across. Even if you must eat, ensure you do not take too much of them. Avoid any from of raw fish, such as sushi.

– Number Nine (9)
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that your child would need for proper development, but during the pregnancy period, it is advisable that you and your baby stay away from Vitamin A supplements and products that are very rich in it. Liver and liver related products are rich in vitamin A. Stay away from them during the pregnancy period.


It won’t make much sense of I make a list of foods that shouldn’t be eaten by pregnant women without mentioning this.

Even the best foods to eat, when left exposed, can be infiltrated by microorganisms and cause serious food poisoning. Even if you were the one that left the food, please make sure you heat it up before you eat it up. Don’t leat left overs by others, no matter how enticing the food might look.

Before I go, it is important to remember that expiry dates should be checked on canned foods and other specially packaged foods. Dont take expired food or drugs. Also check the level of caffeine in the composition. Stay safe and have a healthy baby.

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Eric Arthur

Arthur is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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