We all know there are lots of dietary restrictions when we’re pregnant.
And we know what we’re supposed to absolutely avoid: caffeine, alcohol, and medications.
But when it comes to a lot of our favorite foods, it’s hard to tell what’s safe to eat and what isn’t. You might be surprised at what is and isn’t safe to eat during your pregnancy!
I’ve compiled a list of over 35+ common food questions pregnant women have.
I hope this makes it a lot easier to dine during those 9 pregnant months!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Hotdogs & Deli Meat?
Yes, you can eat hot dogs or deli meats, but you have to be careful.
Hot dogs and other cold, processed meats contain bacteria that’s only killed with extreme temperatures: at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any processed meat can potentially be infected with Listeria in the packing phase. This bacteria can potentially be passed to the fetus, resulting in miscarriage.
The Listeria bacteria is killed by cooking properly, so just be careful with that and they should be fine to eat.
Of course, these meats aren’t really the best choice of foods nutritionally. It’s fine to indulge in a hot dog or two this summer, but make sure to balance it out with a healthy amount of fruits and veggies.
Source: Pregnancy Magazine
Can Pregnant Women Have Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is supposed to have a plethora of positive health effects, including helping with heart burn, which is a common problem during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, apple cider vinegar has to be unpasteurized to retain any of the supposed positive health benefits, and it’s not safe to ingest anything unpasteurized during pregnancy.
If you have heart burn, I’d personally recommend using something else to help alleviate it.
The bottom line is: you should be fine to use pasteurized apple cider vinegar, but avoid anything raw or unpasteurized.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Tea?
It’s good to avoid caffeine and during pregnancy, and in doing so, you might be tempted to switch to herbal teas.
For the most part, you should be safe to drink herbal teas, but keep it to small amounts.
Herbal teas (and supplements) are not regulated by the FDA the way medicines are, and therefore it’s not entirely sure whether or not some of them are safe in high quantities during pregnancy.
Of course, some teas are awesome during pregnancy: for example, ginger tea does wonders as a natural cure for morning sickness!
To stay safe, avoid any herbal teas that act as stimulants, and think about asking your doctor about specific teas before you try them.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Honey?
Yes, you can!
To make a long story short, honey is perfectly safe to eat during your pregnancy. There are no studies showing that it’s unsafe to eat for pregnant women.
To be safe, eat only pasturized honey, and avoid the unpasturized or raw variety.
Also, be sure to buy honey from trusted brands, so you know it’s gone through thorough processes to avoid contaminants and bacteria.
So, go ahead and indulge in a teaspoon of honey in your tea!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Peanut Butter?
There’s no evidence to prove that eating peanuts during pregnancy is a bad idea.
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended avoiding peanuts, believing that eating them would increase the chances of your child developing an allergy to them.
But, experts now believe that this was based on the false idea that exposing kids to allergens at an early age would increase their risk. The belief now is that it does the opposite, and may actually decrease their risks.
However, if you have any direct relatives with a peanut allergy, it’s best to consult with your doctor before you break into the peanut butter jar.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp?
Yes, shrimp is safe to eat when you’re pregnant!
The seafood you should avoid are those high in mercury, but that doesn’t include shrimp. Shrimp are a good source of protein along with low fat content, making them great for pregnant women.
Just make sure that the shrimp you eat is well-prepared and cooked properly.
Sources: American Pregnancy
Can Pregnant Women Eat Calamari?
Calamari, or squid, is safe to eat during pregnancy.
Being a seafood low in mercury, you are fine to eat it once or twice a week, along with other safe forms of seafood!
It has a lot of protein, iron and zinc, which are all things your pregnant body needs. It is, however, high in cholesterol.
Feel free to eat it, but keep your total seafood intake to 2-3 meals per week.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Oysters?
You should avoid raw oysters when you’re pregnant.
Oysters can contain bacteria that’ll make you sick, even if you’ve never gotten sick from it before. Because your immune system is surpressed when pregnant, you’re more susceptible to it.
However, if they’re fully cooked, they should be safe to eat. Being low in fat, high in protein and low in mercury, they’re a great pregnant snack. They also have a lot of zinc, which is a vital nutrient for pregnant women.
Like most other seafood, make sure it’s cooked well before eating it.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Shellfish: Lobster, Crab, Mussels & Clams?
Yes, you can eat crab, as long as it’s well-cooked.
Shellfish in general has much less mercury than other seafood, so there’s no worry there.
It also has a lot of great vitamins and nutrients you need! It has a ton of vitamin B-12, protein, calcium and magnesium.
Just make sure it’s well-cooked and never raw, and you’re totally fine to eat it!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Fish Like Tuna & Salmon?
It’s safe to eat some fish, like tuna and salmon, in moderation.
While it’s recommended to avoid fish that are high in mercury, tuna and salmon are generally low in it, and canned tuna has even less.
You should keep your fish intake to about 2 servings per week, of up to 12 ounces. That includes all seafood, not just tuna and salmon.
The reason for this is that not only do they have mercury, but oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and herring can contain pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
The good news is that tuna is awesome for you: it’s chock-full of omega 3’s, B vitamins, iodine, selenium and vitamin D. However, fresh tuna is more nutritious than canned tuna, so you should go with fresh if possible.
Canned tuna is also higher in sodium, so you might want to rinse it in cold water before eating to get rid of some of it.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are safe to eat when you’re pregnant.
Make sure you wash them thoroughly before eating, because they could contain dangerous bacteria.
Also beware that you should never eat wild mushrooms you find outside. Many mushrooms are poisonous, so you should only eat those you find at a reputable store or market, and never eat those you find outside yourself.
Different mushrooms have various levels of vital nutrients, like riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Many are known to contain helpful antioxidants.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Tofu & Soybeans?
Tofu & Soybeans are safe to eat while pregnant. In moderation.
Tofu is widely considered one of the best and healthiest foods you can eat. It’s full of protein, along with omega 3s, along with copper and iron, as well as calcium.
Unfortunately, there are some downsides for those of us who are pregnant.
Soy is known to lower cholesterol levels, which is usually a good thing. However, when you’re pregnant, your body needs that cholesterol in order to produce estrogen and progesterone.
It can also block the absorption of minerals like magnisium, iron and zinc, which are all things your pregnant body needs.
In short, soy is fine to eat, but keep it in moderation.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pineapple?
Yes, it’s safe to eat pineapple.
And it has a ton of great health benefits! Pineapple is full of vitamin C, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium. It’s excellent for you!
However, you may have heard the myth that eating pineapple can induce labor.
There’s no real evidence go support this. According to BabyCenter, pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is known to soften the cervix and induce labor. However, you’d have to eat a ridiculous amount of it in one sitting: about 7 full pineapples.
And you’d have a pretty nasty stomach ache by then.
Go ahead and eat your pineapple up!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Grapefruit?
Yes, grapefruit is safe to eat!
You may have heard that you aren’t supposed to eat grapefruit if you’re taking medication.
Therefore, you might think that it’s bad to eat if you’re pregnant, too. However, if you’re on any kind of medication, you should find out if it will interact with it or not.
The fact is that it’s not only totally fine, but it’s a really awesome and nutritious fruit to eat during pregnancy, chock full of vitamin C and A.
Not only that, but there are a ton of great benefits to eating grapefruit when you’re a pregnant momma!
Just make sure to wash it thoroughly before eating! Yes, even fruits with rinds need to be washed well before you eat them.
Source: American Pregnancy
Can Pregnant Women Eat Chia Seeds?
Yes, you can eat chia seeds.
And they’re an awesome superfood, especially for pregnant moms!
Chia seeds are a wonderful source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for your growing baby. Many moms take fish oil supplements to get their recommended amount of Omega-3s, but chia seeds are a great alternative.
Not only that, but they’re high in essentials like calcium, zinc, copper, niacin, and magnesium.
Go ahead and eat them up!
Sources: Dr. Axe
Can Pregnant Women Drink Cranberry Juice?
Yes, cranberry juice is safe!
And it’s really good for you, too.
It can help prevent urinary tract infections, and cranberries are also an antioxidant. They’re also loaded with vitamin C!
The only thing to take into consideration is that cranberries can interact with some types of medications, particularly blood thinners or aspirin.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Liver & Pate?
No, you shouldn’t eat liver or pate when you’re pregnant.
Liver is full of retinol, which is a form of vitamin A. This might sound good, but too much retinol can actually harm your baby.
While you do need vitamin A, it’s best to get it from sources like eggs, butter or oily fish.
Also, if you’re taking supplements, make sure they don’t have retinol. Avoid any that are sourced from liver, like cod liver oil supplements.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Spicy Foods?
Yes, it’s safe to eat spicy foods when you’re pregnant.
They’re perfectly safe for your baby, and the only real risk is that they’ll give you discomfort. Indigestion and heart burn are common while pregnant, and spicy foods are one of the main triggers for it.
Like pineapple, there are some myths regarding spicy foods and their possibility of inducing labor. The fact is that this is completely untrue, and there’s no need to worry about it.
Feel free to eat your spicy foods, but you should try to eat them in smaller quantities are first to see if their aggravate any heart burn problems you might have.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Seaweed?
Yes, you can eat seaweed when you’re pregnant.
Seaweed is found in many Asian dishes, and depending on the variety, it has a lot of great nutrients. It’s an excellent source of vegetable protein, and has a lot of vitamin B-12.
Brown seaweed also has iodine and iron, both of which are great. However, “Food Standards Australia New Zealand” recommends pregnant women keep their intake of brown seaweed to one serving per week, stating that the amount of iodine could be detrimental.
Most seaweed varieties also have calcium, sodium, copper, potassium and zinc.
The one thing you should consider is that most seaweed has a lot of sodium. Other than that, it’s pretty good stuff!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Eggs?
Eggs are safe to eat, as long as they’re well cooked.
Uncooked or soft-boiled eggs can harbor the bacteria salmonella, which causes salmonella poisoning. It’s pretty nasty, and can give you severe nausea and diarrhea.
However, well-cooked eggs are great for you! They’re high in protein, omega-3 fats, and they’re simple and easy to cook.
Eggs sometimes get a bad rap because of cholesterol, but the fact is that foods that have natural cholesterol won’t do much to raise your cholesterol levels.
Make sure to store the eggs properly and keep them well cooled, and don’t eat any that could possibly be too old or have something wrong with them.
Other than that, feel free to enjoy them!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Bacon?
Bacon, strictly speaking, is safe to eat.
But you should do so in moderation. Bacon is full of nitrates, salt, fats and other additives. It’s not the healthiest of things to eat, but I’m sure you knew that already.
If possible, try to find bacon that’s labeled nitrate-free. Nitrates are linked as being a possible carcinogen, so you might as well try to avoid it if possible.
The only health risk is that of listeria, which is the same with all meats. Make sure your bacon is well-cooked and kept preserved properly.
Feel free to indulge in some bacon once in a while as a treat, but try to balance it out with lots of healthy foods.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Chinese Food?
Chinese food is okay in moderation.
There’s nothing inherently dangerous about eating it when you’re pregnant. However, a lot of Chinese food contains MSG and sodium, both of which you should limit your intake of as much as possible.
A craving for Chinese food is actually one of the most common ones for pregnant women, so if the hunger strikes, going out for Chinese once in a while won’t do you harm.
But you should try to stick to the non-fried foods. Easier said than done!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni & Cured Meats?
Pepperoni (and other cured meats like salami) are a lot like bacon in terms of being safe for pregnant eating.
It’s fine to eat it, but it should be hot and well-cooked before serving to make sure all the harmful bacteria are killed.
It’s not that nutritious, but it’s not going to kill you if you have a slice or two of pepperoni once in a while.
It can, however, cause heart burn because it’s so spicy, and it’s full of nitrates, which aren’t good for you at all. It also has a lot of saturated fat.
If possible, find pepperoni that doesn’t have nitrate salts used in the production.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Cheese?
Sure, it’s safe to eat cheeses during your pregnancy. As long as they’re pasteurized.
Unpasteurized cheeses carry the risk of Listeria bacteria that causes Listeriosis, a form of food poisoning.
Since your immune system is surpressed when pregnant, you’re up to 20x more susceptible to it than normal, healthy non-pregnant adults.
Pasteurization is basically the process of heating milk until all of the bad bacteria: that which causes spoilage and sickness. Any pasteurized cheese should be safe for you to eat!
Virtually all cheeses sold in supermarkets in North America will be pasteurized, and it will say so on the label.
Some moms are concerned about eating mould-ripened cheeses like blue cheese, feta cheese and brie. As long as they’ve been pasteurized, they’re fine.
Cheeses like mozzarella and ricotta are safe, too. And yes, it’s fine to eat cream cheese if you’re pregnant!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Yogurt?
Yes, it’s safe to eat yogurt!
Like all dairy products, make sure to eat only pasteurized yogurt. Most yogurt is pasteurized, so just check the label to make sure.
Yogurt is an awesome and healthy snack to eat. It’s full of calcium, which is essential for proper development of your baby. Not only that, but it has a lot of probiotics, which not only keeps your digestion more regular and helps you feel better during your pregnancy, but helps in the development of your child, too.
Eat as much yogurt as you please!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Sour Cream?
Yes, you can eat sour cream, with the same caveats as yogurt.
It’s healthy, and you just need to make sure that it’s pasteurized to kill all of the harmful bacteria. Be sure to check the label to make sure.
Ideally, eat it all within 48 hours of opening the container.
If you can’t, let someone else finish it. Your reduced immune system is much more susceptible to bacteria than a non-pregnant person!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Ice Cream?
Sure, you can eat ice cream when you’re pregnant.
But just keep it to a minimum. It’s fine to indulge once in a while, but ice cream is obviously not the most nutritious of foods. It’s high in fat and sugar, and doesn’t have much positive going for it.
Except that it’s damn good.
Feel free to get into the ice cream once in a while if the craving strikes!
Can Pregnant Women Eat Mayonnaise?
Yes, you can eat mayonnaise, as long as it has pasteurized eggs.
Most store-bought mayo will use pasteurized eggs, so it’s perfectly fine to eat.
If you’re eating at a restaurant or buying from a farm market, it’s worth asking if the eggs they use are pasteurized or not.
However, you should avoid homemade mayo, which uses raw eggs and therefore has a risk of carrying the Listeria bacteria.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Chocolate?
Yes, chocolate is safe to eat.
It does contain caffeine, but it’s a very small amount. Unless you’re eating bag after bag of Hershey’s kisses, it’s not going to be any significant amount of caffeine.
Of course, chocolate is mostly empty calories, which is something you’ll probably want to avoid.
There are several possible benefits of eating chocolate, too: it’s thought to regulate blood pressure and elevate your mood, plus it could help prevent pre-enclampsia (premature birth) and is full of antioxidants that help boost your immune system.
If you’re going to eat chocolate, I’d recommend going with dark chocolate. It’s known to have a lot more of the good stuff! If possible, going organic and without added sugar is even better.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pizza?
Pizza is generally safe to eat.
While the typical pizza isn’t going to hurt you, it’s not exactly the most healthy of foods.
There are a few concerns here in terms of safety, too. If it has cheese, be sure to make sure it’s made with pasteurized milk. Generally, that won’t be a concern if you’re making it yourself, but if it’s from a restaurant, be careful.
The other risk is with the pizza meat being raw or undercooked. Having said that, if you do choose to indulge, just make sure it’s properly cooked and piping hot.
There are obviously healthier choices, but I don’t think there’s any harm in indulging once in a while.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Sushi?
Yes, it’s safe to eat most sushi, but you have to be careful.
The jury seems to be torn on this one. Some people tell you to completely avoid it, while others say it’s safe to eat as long as the fish isn’t completely raw.
The people who say to avoid it tell you that fish can contain parasitic worms that can cause sickness. However, if the meat is smoked first, it will kill any such parasites.
You should also avoid any sushi made with fish high in mercury content, like swordfish, shark, or king mackerel.
If you think about it, Japanese women stuff their faces with sushi throughout their pregnancies, so why wouldn’t it be safe for American women too?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Cough Drops?
Yes, you can eat cough drops, but you should consult your doctor first.
There are two types of cough drops: mentholated and non-mentholated. Mentholated cough drops are meant to numb the pain in the throat, and usually contain a cough suppressant.
In general, mentholated cough drops are safe to use, but please ask your doctor before taking them.
Non-mentholated drops are just meant to sooth the throat and sometimes contain natural ingredients, but you should still ask your doctor before taking them.
Remember though, that cough drops only suppress the symptoms of what could potentially be an illness that’s not going to go away on it’s own. If you have a sore throat that persists for more than a few days, you should go to the doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Tums?
Yes, Tums are generally safe to eat during pregnancy.
Heart burn is a common problem when you’re pregnant, and Tums are a perfectly acceptable way to treat it.
The active ingredients in Tums is calcium carbonate, which is actually sometimes used to supplement pregnant women’s calcium levels.
Make sure the only active ingredient in your Tums is calcium carbonate.
And you should consult your doctor before you take it just to be safe.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Cheese Cake?
Cheese cake is safe, but with caveats.
What could potentially make cheese cake unsafe is if it was made with raw egg, or if it’s an uncooked cheese cake that was made with soft, unpasteurized cheese.
MadeForMums sums it up well:
- Unsafe: Cheesecake made with raw or unpasteurized egg
- Unsafe: Uncooked cheesecake made with unpasteurized soft cheese
- Safe: Cooked cheesecake made with egg
- Safe: Uncooked cheesecake that doesn’t contain egg and contains cheese made from pasteurized milk
Raw egg should be avoided for the same reasons as above in the egg section. Raw eggs could have salmonella, which you are much more susceptible to as a pregnant woman. And unpasteurized cheese has the risk of Listeria.
Luckily, most cheese cakes you find at the supermarket will be safe to eat, using pasteurized eggs and cheese. But if it’s a homemade or restaurant cake, make sure it’s safe to eat first.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Popcorn?
Yes, feel free to eat popcorn!
In fact, BabyCenter actually recommends it as one of their top 10 recommended foods for pregnant moms!
It’s a healthy snack, and if you don’t douse it in butter and salt, it’s perfectly healthy to eat. You can, of course, put a little of the good stuff on it, but try to keep it to a minimum.
However, you should try to avoid microwave popcorn, as it uses Fluorotelomers in the bag linings, which could potentially be unsafe; there are no real studies done.
A Few Final Thoughts
You don’t have to be scared of eating everything when you’re pregnant.
What it boils down to is knowing what types of foods are safe. The real iffy ones are meats, dairy and fish. You need to be careful when it comes to adding any of those to your pregnant diet.
Do you have questions about any other foods and whether or not they’re safe to eat? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list!