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15 Foods To Avoid In First Month Of Pregnancy

by Aiswarya Shibu

Updated on :  
15 Foods To Avoid In First Month Of Pregnancy

Choosing the right foods during the first month of pregnancy is paramount, as it sets the stage for healthy fetal development and maternal well-being. Not only do the nutrient-rich foods during this time of pregnancy provide essential vitamins and minerals crucial for the formation of the baby’s organs, bones, and tissues, but they also help prevent birth defects such as neural tube defects.

At the same time, there are certain foods to avoid in the first month of pregnancy. Some foods could harbor harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, listeria, and heavy metals, which can lead to serious complications during pregnancy.

Here is the significance of taking pregnancy precautions. By avoiding these specific types of foods during the first month of pregnancy, expectant mothers can minimize potential risks to themselves and their developing babies, promoting a healthier pregnancy and ensuring optimal fetal development.

15 Foods To Avoid In First Month Of Pregnancy

Developing healthy eating habits from the start sets the stage for a nourishing diet during pregnancy and beyond, which has long-term advantages for both the mother and the baby. Although there is not a complete rundown of what to avoid eating at this time, there are some broad recommendations.

Following are 15 foods to avoid in the first month of pregnancy:

1. Raw seafood (sushi, sashimi)

Avoid raw seafood during pregnancy to avoid heavy metals, bacteria, and parasites that could harm the mother and developing fetus. Cooking seafood thoroughly eliminates these risks and makes pregnancy diets safer.

  • Raw seafood can contain harmful microorganisms such as listeria, salmonella, or toxoplasma. Consuming this product during pregnancy can result in severe infections and complications like miscarriage or preterm birth1.
  • Some raw seafood, especially big predatory fish such as tuna or swordfish, can have elevated levels of mercury. Consuming this fish during pregnancy may adversely affect the developing nervous system of the fetus2.

Related Reading: Causes, Signs And Remedies For Food Poisoning During Pregnancy

2. Raw eggs and foods containing raw eggs (unpasteurized eggnog, homemade Caesar dressing)

Avoiding raw eggs and foods with raw eggs is crucial during the initial month of pregnancy. Consumption of these foods can lead to complications such as miscarriage or birth defects. 

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  • Raw eggs may contain salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, leading to dehydration and other complications during pregnancy3.
  • Raw eggs have a higher risk of contamination compared to cooked eggs. The process of cracking open an egg can transfer bacteria from the shell to the egg’s interior.

3. Deli meats, liver, and cold cuts

Here are the reasons why it’s important to avoid deli meats, liver, and cold cuts during the first month of pregnancy:

  • Deli meats and cold cuts may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause listeriosis. It is a serious infection that can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn4.
  • Liver and liver products are rich sources of vitamin A. This may pose risks to a developing fetus5.

4. Unpasteurized dairy products (soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk)

Due to alterations in their immune systems, pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. Therefore, they need to steer clear of foods that are prone to contamination.

  • Unpasteurized dairy products may contain listeria bacteria, which can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe illness in newborns6.
  • In women who are pregnant, the risk of contracting listeriosis is twenty times higher7.

Related Reading: 9 Types Of Cheeses To Avoid During Pregnancy

5. High-mercury fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel):

High-mercury fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel)

Avoiding fish with high levels of mercury is crucial during the first month of pregnancy:

  • Because mercury builds up in fish over time and as they move up the food chain, big predatory fish are more likely to have high mercury levels.
  • High levels of mercury in certain fish can interfere with the development of the fetus’s nervous system, potentially leading to developmental delays or cognitive impairments8.

6. Foods with excessive salt

While some salt is necessary for bodily functions, pregnant women need to avoid excessive salt intake during the first month and throughout pregnancy.

  • Excessive salt consumption can lead to elevated blood pressure.
  • Elevated blood pressure in the initial month of pregnancy may raise the likelihood of complications like preeclampsia, posing risks for both the mother and the baby9.
  • Consuming too much salt can disrupt the body’s fluid balance, leading to fluid retention and swelling10.

7. Alcohol

It is crucial to refrain from consuming alcohol during the first month of pregnancy and throughout the entire pregnancy for several important reasons, including:

  • Alcohol during this crucial period can harm fetal development and increase the risk of birth defects, particularly in the brain and central nervous system11.
  • Drinking alcohol paves the way to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), causing lifelong physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments.
  • Alcohol can impair placental function12. This reduces fetal oxygen and nutrient supply and complicates pregnancy.
  • Alcohol consumption, especially early in pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage13.

8. Excessive spicy food

Stay away from excessively spicy food during the first month of pregnancy: 

  • Excessively spicy foods can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.
  • Some people have allergic reactions to spicy foods, especially those with chili peppers. Allergies during pregnancy can harm both the mother and the unborn child.
  • Women experience nausea during their first month of pregnancy. Consuming spicy foods can worsen feelings of nausea and contribute to queasiness14.

Related Reading: 6 Spices To Eat And 6 Spices To Avoid During Pregnancy

9. Excessive sweet dishes

Battling sweet cravings during pregnancy? Eating excessive sweets can lead to sudden increases in blood sugar levels. It is crucial to limit the intake of sweets in the initial stages of pregnancy for various reasons:

  • Overeating sweets, especially refined sugars, can cause gestational diabetes mellitus15.
  • Too much sugar during pregnancy can cause weight gain, which is harmful to the mother and baby. Weight gain increases the risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia16.
  • High sugar intake causes tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Consuming too many sweets can displace more nutrient-dense foods from the diet, leading to deficiencies in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

10. Unwashed fruits and vegetables

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for pregnant individuals to obtain essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants necessary for their health and the healthy development of the embryo. However, it’s important to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking them.

  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables may harbor harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses that can harm pregnant women and developing embryos.
  • Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause toxoplasmosis, can be found in unwashed fruits and vegetables17. Toxoplasmosis rarely affects healthy adults, but it can harm a fetus if contracted during pregnancy as per this source.
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables may contain agricultural pesticide residues. It is advisable to minimize exposure to pesticides during pregnancy as a precautionary step.

Related Reading: How To Cope With Late-Night Hunger During Pregnancy

11. Excessively caffeinated beverages

It is important to be mindful of your consumption of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks during pregnancy to avoid potential complications.

  • Proper sleep supports the physical and emotional needs of pregnant women, ensuring their health and well-being. Excessive caffeine consumption can interfere with sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep18.
  • Excessive caffeine consumption can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as calcium and iron19. These are important for supporting maternal and fetal health during pregnancy. 
  • Caffeine crosses the placenta and reaches the developing fetus. High levels of caffeine intake during pregnancy have been linked to low birth weight and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)20.

12. Herbal teas

Herbal teas

Identifying safe herbal teas for pregnancy, especially in the early stages, is difficult without enough safety data. Several herbal teas lack sufficient research on their safety during pregnancy, especially in the crucial first month when fetal development is at risk. 

  • Many factors affect the potency and composition of herbal tea. Plant species, growing conditions, processing, and brewing all play a role in the outcome.
  • It can be difficult to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of herbal teas during pregnancy without standardized preparation and quality control measures.
  • Some herbs in herbal teas, like chamomile, are thought to possess uterine-stimulating properties21. While these effects may help prepare for labor later in pregnancy, excessive consumption in the first few weeks may cause miscarriage.
  • Plant materials used in herbal teas may contain pesticides, heavy metals, or other environmental toxins. Herbal products may also contain unidentified ingredients or contaminants, endangering maternal and fetal health.
  • Herbal teas may contain teratogenic herbs that may affect fetal development and cause birth defects. 

13. Heat-generating food

Expectant women are advised to follow some general dietary guidelines to reduce risks and promote a healthy pregnancy. Here are some reasons why avoiding certain heat-generating foods might be recommended:

  • The embryo develops rapidly in the first month of pregnancy, and excessive heat can disrupt this delicate process. 
  • Certain heat-generating foods may cause diuresis and dehydration. Dehydration during pregnancy can harm amniotic fluid levels and maternal health.
  • Foods that produce heat may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, which can be quite bothersome right now.

14. Food from roadside vendors

Street food is extremely popular in India. However, t is important to refrain from consuming food from street vendors in the initial stages of pregnancy to minimize the chances of food-related illnesses and safeguard the well-being of both the mother and the unborn child.

  • Street food may contain harmful additives, preservatives, or chemicals that harm the mother and fetus.
  • Roadside food may come from unsanitary sources. Unclean utensils, preparation areas, and handwashing can cause foodborne illnesses.
  • Due to immune system changes, pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses. Contaminated food during pregnancy can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, and in severe cases, it could lead to miscarriage or preterm birth.
  • Healthy fetal development requires a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Food from roadside vendors may not always provide adequate nutrition and may be high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium.

Related Reading: Drinking Soda During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

15. Aerated drinks

Aerated drinks are high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine, which can harm maternal and fetal health.

  • Consuming too much sugar can lead to gestational diabetes, which may result in complications for both the mother and the baby.
  • Many aerated drinks contain artificial sweeteners that have been linked to negative impacts on fetal development, such as birth defects and neurological problems22.
  • The caffeine content in aerated drinks poses a concern during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester when the fetus is particularly vulnerable to external influences. High levels of caffeine intake have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight.
What Is Not Good For The First Month Of Pregnancy?

What Is Not Good For The First Month Of Pregnancy?

It is important to prioritize your health and well-being in the initial stages of pregnancy to ensure the proper growth of the embryo. 

Below are some factors to avoid during the first month of pregnancy:

  • Smoking: Smoking during pregnancy can lead to various complications, including low birth weight, premature birth, and birth defects2. It’s best to quit smoking as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which can lead to physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities in the child24. Avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy.
  • Using recreational drugs: Using illicit substances can negatively impact your baby’s growth and result in severe issues throughout pregnancy and delivery. If you’re battling drug abuse, it’s important to get assistance25.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals: Minimize exposure to toxic chemicals, such as cleaning products, pesticides, and solvents, as they can be harmful to the developing fetus26. Ensure proper ventilation when using these substances, and consider using safer alternatives.
  • Consuming certain medications: Some medications, including certain over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications, may not be safe during pregnancy. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy.
  • Stress and exhaustion: High levels of stress and exhaustion can have adverse effects on both the mother and the developing fetus. Taking care of yourself, keeping stress levels down, and getting enough sleep are all crucial in the first month of pregnancy. 
  • Dangerous physical activities: Activities that pose a risk of physical injury, such as contact sports, extreme sports, and activities with a high risk of falling, should be avoided during pregnancy to protect both you and your baby.
  • Ignoring symptoms: If you experience any unusual symptoms during the first month of pregnancy, such as severe abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, or persistent nausea and vomiting, seek medical attention promptly. These could be signs of complications that require medical evaluation and treatment.


Ultimately, the mother and the growing baby must make well-informed dietary choices during the first month of pregnancy to guarantee a healthy outcome.  Fifteen foods have been highlighted in this blog as potential sources of distress or danger during this crucial period. While being pregnant is a wonderful time filled with joy and anticipation, it is important to pay close attention to what you eat in the first month to protect your health and avoid certain activities that could be harmful to your unborn child.  

Wishing you all the best as you begin your pregnancy journey with self-assurance and serenity, building a strong base for a future filled with health and happiness.


The content on parenting.miniklub.in is only for informational purposes and is NOT to be used as medical advice. Your DOCTOR is always the best person to guide you through your medical issues.

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