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What foods should pregnant women avoid?

There are certain foods that you should avoid when you’re pregnant, because they might make you ill or harm your baby:

Some types of cheese
Avoid cheeses such as Camembert, Brie or chevre (a type of goats’ cheese), or others that have a similar rind. You should also avoid soft blue cheeses.

These cheeses are made with mould and they can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that could harm your unborn baby.

Find out more about listeria

Pâté
Avoid all types of pâté, including vegetable. This is because pate can contain listeria.

Raw or partially cooked eggs
Avoid eating raw eggs and food containing raw or partially-cooked eggs. Only eat eggs cooked enough for both the white and yolk to be solid. This is to avoid the risk of salmonella, which causes a type of food poisoning.

Raw or undercooked meat
Make sure you only eat meat that has been well cooked. This is especially important with poultry and products made from minced meat, such as sausages and burgers. Make sure these are cooked until they are steaming hot all the way through and no pink meat is left.

Always wash your hands after handling raw meat, and keep it separate from foods that are ready to eat. This is because raw meat contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Liver products and supplements containing vitamin A
Make sure you don’t have too much vitamin A. This means you should avoid eating liver and liver products such as pâté and avoid taking supplements containing vitamin A or fish liver oils (which contain high levels of vitamin A). You need some vitamin A, but having too much means that levels could build up and may harm your unborn baby. Ask your GP or midwife if you want more information.

Some types of fish
You can eat most types of fish when you’re pregnant. But there are a few types you should avoid and some others where you should limit the amount you eat. See the Eating fish section on this page for more information.

Undercooked ready meals
Avoid eating ready meals that are undercooked. Make sure you heat them until they are steaming hot all the way through.

Raw shellfish
Avoid raw shellfish when you’re pregnant. This is because raw shellfish can sometimes contain harmful bacteria and viruses that could cause food poisoning. And food poisoning can be particularly unpleasant when you’re pregnant.