Foods To Ditch During Your Pregnancy

Written by Jillian Lai Mei Siew on Tue, 01 August 2023

Key Highlights

  • Your diet during pregnancy directly impacts your young one's well-being.
  • Having the wrong foods during pregnancy invites conditions like morning sickness, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes.
  • Having a proper diet goes a long way in having a stronger pregnancy.
  • Consult your doctor to make a proper meal plan!

We can't begin to describe the joy every expecting mother feels when she sees that baby bump in the mirror. All the love, attention, and pampering she gets during this wonderful time puts a different glow on her face.

Despite all the love and care, some aspects of pregnancy well-being go unnoticed. There are some things to avoid in early pregnancy itself. Your nutrition plays an important role in the development of your baby and the maintenance of your health. It is of utmost importance to know about the foods to avoid during pregnancy.

At this point, you're wondering what to have and what to avoid? Fret not for we've got the answers to your concerns! But before we look at the foods to ditch during your pregnancy, let's understand why your nutritional needs require extra care during your pregnancy.

Energy for two

During your pregnancy, you are nurturing another human being inside your body! So, you will need more energy and calories to sustain your health as well as the well-being of your little one. However, not all calories are good. Consuming the wrong type of calories can make you more prone to conditions such as morning sickness.

The struggle of variable immunity

We don't have to tell you that your body undergoes major anatomical, physiological, and chemical changes to accommodate your tot. Among these, your immune system also takes a hit! Research shows that throughout your pregnancy, there is a decrease in adaptive immunity during the second and third trimesters.

This could explain the fact that pregnant women are at risk of more severe infections. So, it is very important to be mindful of the things to avoid during pregnancy that cause miscarriage, or can put your little one's health in jeopardy!

Hormones haywire

Throughout your pregnancy, your hormone levels behave erratically. Fluctuations in hormonal levels produce all sorts of effects on your body! Did you know? The nutrients you consume can have a direct impact on the production and the release of hormones. Hence care needs to be taken before eating any kind of food that affect the hormonal levels!

Inflammation and pregnancy-what are the links?

Did you know? Excessive inflammation during pregnancy hurts your and your little one's health. During pregnancy, you are more prone to inflammation than other folks. The exact cause behind this remains unknown.

However, experts believe it is because of an increase in inflammatory cytokines that circulate in your blood. Eating foods that promote inflammation can lead to complications and negative pregnancy outcomes.

Pregnancy: Conditions Apply

Similar to all good things in life, pregnancy also comes with conditions apply asterisk! During your pregnancy, you are susceptible to health conditions such as gestational diabetes, morning sickness, or eclampsia.

A lot of these conditions are linked to having bad eating habits and other risk factors. Knowing what not to eat during pregnancy can help effectively manage pregnancy-related health conditions and help ensure a stronger gestational period!

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

We hope that you recognized the need and importance of having a healthy and well-balanced diet during your pregnancy. That being said, let us take a look at some foods that can be detrimental to your maternal health and some alternatives for you to try:

1. Sugar- A Delight Or A Dismay?

No, we aren't talking about the natural sugars found in honey or jaggery! Moderate consumption of such foods can boost your immunity and provide you with the benefits of antioxidants. We are referring to refined sugar that is abundant in processed foods like sodas, brownies, and ice cream!

For those of you who don't know, refined sugar is pro-inflammatory! Constantly consuming foods that contain copious amounts of sugar during your pregnancy can not only be harmful to your health but also your little one's well-being.

Research suggests that excess inflammation disrupts the development process of your baby. So, avoid the risk by ditching inflammatory foods like these! Still craving dessert? Satisfy your cravings by having some fruits with honey!

2. S For Spice S For Sickness

Almost all mothers, at the beginning of their pregnancy, suffer from morning sickness. This unpleasant condition causes nausea and vomiting and ruins their well-being. Studies suggest that meals containing the strong aroma and flavor of spices can trigger morning sickness.

Furthermore, foods packed with spices increase acidity in the stomach. Gastric reflux and heartburn are major complications of morning sickness. A hyper acidic stomach coupled with heartburn and morning sickness is a recipe for an unpleasant pregnancy. Moderate your consumption of spicy foods for having a gut-friendly pregnancy!

3. Processed Meat- Bane To Your Gut Microbiome

Did you know? The well-being of your gut microbiota is directly linked to your pregnancy health! Research suggests that a healthy gut directly contributes to a healthy pregnancy. In addition, the good bacteria in your gut positively influence the development of your little one!

Gorging on processed meats that have been chemically for taste and life adversely affects the well-being of your gut microbiome. Such foods are prime examples of 'bad' calories. So, avoid consuming foods like bacon, sausages, and steaks for a stronger and healthier pregnancy!

4. Slam The Brakes On Salt

High Blood pressure has become a booming problem for people with the advent of processed foods and the shift of lifestyle to a sedentary type. But did you know? High blood pressure during pregnancy can predispose the mother and her baby to pregnancy complications!

Preeclampsia, eclampsia, stroke, and preterm delivery are some of the complications that may occur due to high blood pressure. Frequently snacking on salty foods like chips and fries promote water retention in the body. This causes a spike in your blood pressure levels!

Limiting your intake of salty foods can help you keep such complications at bay. If you are prone to snacking on junk snacks, try switching to nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews which will help you feel satiated faster and give you the benefits of proteins and healthy fats.

5. Close The Lid On Your Coffee Cup

Are you a coffee lover who cannot function without your morning cup of coffee? We hate to break it to you, but you might have to put a lid on your coffee can while you're pregnant with your little one!

There have been countless studies that state that women with high caffeine consumption have a higher chance of having pregnancy complications. Furthermore, a recent study reported that women who consumed more than 200mg of caffeine per day were more likely to have babies with low body weight and lean muscle mass.

Avoid this risk by limiting your coffee consumption to less than 2 cups a day or switching to decaf coffees or soothing teas!

6. Buy A Stroller And Stay Sober

Are you used to enjoying an ice-cold beer after giving it to you're all in the office? Give up this habit before it's too late! There have been tonnes of studies conducted on the negative effects of alcohol on a baby's development.

The findings suggest that women who consume alcohol during their pregnancy are at risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or having a baby with low birth weight. Drinking while being pregnant also leads to a complication called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

FASD interferes with your child's ability to lead a normal and peaceful life. Here are some of the issues that are associated with FASD:

  • Problems in learning and behavior
  • Weak joints, bones, muscles, and organs
  • The trouble with managing emotions and developing social skills
  • Hyperactivity and impulse control
  • Poor communication skills, such as problems with speech

So, stay sober and complication-free throughout your pregnancy!

7. Licorice-The Root For All Your Problems

Nothing like the fragrance of herbal teas first thing in the morning! But did you know? Not all herbal teas are safe for consumption during pregnancy. Researchers believe that high consumption of licorice root products during pregnancy is associated with negative pregnancy outcomes.

Studies have shown that excessive consumption of licorice increases the risk of premature birth and development problems in your child! Although the number of studies done on this root is limited, it is best to avoid products containing high levels of licorice root.

As mentioned earlier, not all herbal products are beneficial for your pregnancy. Apart from licorice, here are some herbs and their products to avoid during pregnancy

  • Goldenseal: This herb can potentially cross the placenta affecting the health of your baby
  • Saw palmetto: Upon consumption, this herb can cause hormonal problems in your body
  • Ephedra: Unsafe during pregnancy
  • Blue cohosh: This particular herb can stimulate the uterine muscles and can induce labor prematurely

So, limit your consumption of herbal products during pregnancy. Experts recommend that pregnant women should not have more than 4 cups of herbal tea per day.

8. Steer Clear From Gluten

Did you know? The foods that you consume during your pregnancy have a direct effect on the development of your little one's immune system.

Recent research has suggested that kids whose mothers had a high consumption of gluten during pregnancy were more likely to develop celiac disease during their childhood.

Celiac disease is when a person has an immune/allergic reaction to gluten. People with celiac disease suffer from inflammation, bloating, or diarrhea upon consumption of gluten. So, it's best to avoid foods like pasta, white bread, and rice during your pregnancy.

Furthermore, foods like these most likely contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates which are also pro-inflammatory! Another reason to steer clear of gluten-containing foods like bread, pasta, and rice!

9. Smoking Is Injurious To Health

Apart from actual smoking, consuming smoked fish during your pregnancy is associated with negative outcomes. Experts believe that the consumption of smoked fish during pregnancy puts women at risk of getting a listeria infection.

A listeria infection during pregnancy poses a great threat to your little one's health. This infection endangers your child's life in the womb and can potentially terminate your pregnancy. So, it is best to stay away from smoked fish throughout your pregnancy!

10. Choose Quality Over Convenience

Ready-to-make foods like instant cup noodles might look like a convenient choice because they can be made in a jiffy and are flavorful and spicy. However, are they the best choice? Packaged foods like instant noodles contain harmful preservatives which can affect the well-being of your baby.

Apart from this, such types of foods are also really high in sodium content. Having high sodium foods continuously during your pregnancy invites a lot of other complications. Excess sodium can raise the blood pressure in your body and give rise to health conditions like preeclampsia, eclampsia, or stroke. Hence, try and avoid such packaged foods during your pregnancy!

Tips To Keep Track Of Your Diet

We hope that the article has successfully reached out to you and informed you about the various harmful effects of a wrong diet. Most experts recommend following a well-balanced and nutritious meal plan for having a stronger pregnancy.

However, you may stray away from your meal plan and end up gorging on gooey brownies, creamy pasta, or some spicy ramen. It is important to stay disciplined and mentally focused to keep your health in check. Here are a few tips and tricks you can employ to not get distracted from your goals!


Pregnancy and your diet are interlinked. We hope that the blog so far has convinced you about this fact. During your pregnancy, the body has an increased burden of nourishing two souls. Depriving yourself of essential nutrients is just like hitting a hammer on your foot.

Furthermore, during pregnancy, your body functions go into overdrive. Eating food not good for pregnant women will just predispose you and your little one to danger. Try to give support to an already taxed body by ditching those junk foods that aggravate conditions like inflammation or blood pressure.

This is why having a solid diet plan, and considering the foods to avoid during pregnancy, can go a long way in ensuring the strength and vitality of your little one. Most family planning doctors will recommend a diet abundant in healthy carbs and proteins along with rich amounts of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Furthermore, ask them about the things to avoid in early pregnancy, to ensure you are off to a good start.

So consult a doctor to get a clearer idea of what foods to eat and what foods pregnant women should not eat. We wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

Keep reading to know more about health conditions in pregnancy and how to manage them with the right diet and healthy food.


Jillian Lai Mei Siew

As the Product Consultant Manager of Mega BiO-LiFE, Jillian Lai Mei Siew, has the role of providing a productive team spirit among all Product Consultants to equip them with the right health nutritional information. Jillian is a BSc in Nutrition and Community Health, and a MSc in Nutritional Sciences an from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Affiliated to the Professional Affiliation Languages & Dialects Nutrition Society of Malaysia, NSM, Jillian can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay.

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  6. Moderate daily caffeine intake during pregnancy may lead to smaller birth size. Available from: NIH
  7. Licorice root. Available from: NCCIH
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Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Aug, 01 2023

Written By

Jillian Lai Mei Siew