Eating balanced meals is necessary at all times, but it is more important during pregnancy. Most foods are safe, but there are some foods you should not eat when you’re pregnant because they might harm your baby and make you ill. You must know the important facts about which foods you should not take or take extra care with when you’re pregnant. However, the best foods to eat are freshly prepared food or freshly cooked. There are some foods you shouldn't eat while pregnant:

Alcohol: Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy as there is no amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy. Mother’s exposure to alcohol can intervene with overall development of the baby. Alcohol consumption can lead to fatal alcohol syndrome or other developmental disorders. Consumption of alcohol during breastfeeding can poses harmful risks to an infant and alcohol in the mother's blood can pass directly to the baby through the umbilical cord. Heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy can develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that can include physical problems as well as behavioral and learning difficulties in babies according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fish with high levels of mercury: Fish with high levels of mercury such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy and tilefish should be avoided during pregnancy. Consumption of mercury during pregnancy has been linked to development delay and brain damage. Methyl mercury found in some fish is a toxic chemical that can pass through the placenta and can be harmful to an unborn baby's developing nervous system, kidneys and brain.

Unpasteurized food: Unpasteurized milk contains listeria which may cause preterm labor, miscarriage, stillbirth, illness or death in newborns. To avoid listeriosis, it is recommended to avoid following foods during pregnancy:
• Unpasteurized milk and foods made from it, such as blue-veined cheeses, camembert, feta, brie, queso blanco and queso fresco.
• Hot dogs, cold cuts and luncheon meats unless heated to steaming hot before eating to kill any present harmful bacteria.
• Store-bought deli salads, such as seafood salad, ham salad, tuna salad and chicken salad.
• Unpasteurized refrigerated meat spreads or pates.
• Unpasteurized goat’s or sheep’s milk or eating food that is made out of them such as soft goat’s cheese.

Raw meat: Raw fish, such as sushi, sashimi, ceviches and carpaccio or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided, as they carry the risk of contaminating with coliform bacteria salmonella and toxoplasmosis which can cause problems such as blindness and mental disability later in life of the baby.

Energy drinks: Energy drinks are also not recommended for pregnant women as they may contain high levels of caffeine and other ingredients not safe for pregnant women.
Raw shellfish: Raw shellfish contains harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning and also have a higher risk of listeria contamination.

Raw Eggs: Raw eggs or any food that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of the potential risk of salmonella. Commercially manufactured dressings, ice cream and eggnog are made with pasteurizes eggs and do not carry the risk of salmonella.

Author's Bio: 

SCI Healthcare, Founder & Director Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour has experienced more than 10years in fertility services. Dr. Shivani Gour completed her graduation and speciality training in Gynaecology and Obstetrics from Mumbai.