Prohibited foods during pregnancy, what they are and why

As mothers know, the period of pregnancy is divided between what are known as the ” pregnant woman’s cravings “, i.e. the desire to eat something, which is also a food that one has never tasted in one’s life, and the prohibition of eating some other things to avoid risks for themselves but above all, for the child who develops and grows in the belly.

There are general recommendations, such as avoiding the abuse of caffeine due to the risk of hypertension and the consequent risk of preeclampsia , avoiding an abuse of salt for similar reasons, avoiding excesses of sugars and carbohydrates in order not to gain excessive weight and risk gestational diabetes .

Then there are very serious pathologies that could occur following the consumption of certain foods or categories of foods or through insufficient or inadequate cooking methods or due to incorrect food storage . These pathologies are serious because they can have serious repercussions on the child.

Fetal acholic syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome or , better, the spectrum of fetal alcohol disorders, is a group of pathologies, mainly of a neurological type, but not only, which are often diagnosed in those people whose parents (pregnant and breastfeeding mother, but both parents in the preconception period) used alcohol.

Attention, as well specified also by the Ministry of Health (but also by numerous scientific studies), ” any quantity of alcohol ingested by the mother reaches the fetus directly, the risk of damaging it is in any case possible “, therefore there is no quantity ” safe” that you can drink during pregnancy (no, not even “the occasional shot that doesn’t hurt so much” is allowed). The only safe quantity is ZERO.


Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite, belonging to the kingdom of protists (therefore it is neither a virus nor a bacterium) which, in terms of food, can be present in raw meat and vegetables. Very often the infection is asymptomatic, even in pregnant women, which is why negative toxo test women must repeat it periodically during pregnancy. A possible toxoplasma infection during pregnancy exposes the fetus to the risk of miscarriage or malformations.

To prevent Toxoplamosis in pregnancy, it is necessary to avoid eating raw, undercooked, smoked, carpaccio meat; raw salami (salami, raw ham, bresaola, speck, etc); wash raw fruit and vegetables very well with abundant and energetic washings under running water and a passage of about 15 minutes in a solution of water and Amuchina or water and bicarbonate (with bicarbonate you can be calmer in case of residual bicarbonate on vegetables because it is not toxic to humans).


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can be found in raw, badly stored or stored for too long foods. The consequences on the baby can be miscarriage, preterm birth or congenital listeria infection. So you must avoid eating raw, soft and moldy cheeses (e.g. brie, gorgonzola, etc.), over-the-counter seasoned salads, preserves, mainly homemade ones, unpasteurized milk.


Salmonella is a genus of bacteria that can be found in raw, undercooked and poorly stored foods. The infection is of the orofecal type, because they are released through the feces of infected individuals. The symptoms are high fever and gastrointestinal discomfort and these symptoms, if the infection is contracted during pregnancy, can cause poor oxygen supply to the placenta and metabolic problems for the fetus. In severe cases it can lead to miscarriage or premature birth.

Avoid raw, undercooked eggs, especially unpasteurised eggs, sauces prepared with raw eggs and stored for a long time or in an unsuitable way, raw meat and derivatives, raw milk and derivatives.

Chemical contaminants

Today, unfortunately, we are already very subject to chemical pollution in our homes, through the products and objects we use every day, but often also through the food we eat.

Most of the chemical contaminants tend to accumulate in the fatty tissues, so the foods most at risk are milk and cheese, especially the less treated and seasoned ones and the fattest fish.

In recent years, with the increase in the rigidity of food safety regulations at European level and greater food awareness, fortunately the quality of the food that arrives on our tables has significantly improved, but it is still important to pay particular attention to the fish we consume.

For example, swordfish, dogfish, tuna and salmon are among the fattest fish on the market and are also large in size , so it is advisable to reduce the consumption of this type of fish during pregnancy, perhaps making it more occasional. Instead, it is advisable to eat small-sized and/or low-fat fish, such as the species belonging to oily fish.

A few years ago Ce.IRSA, the Interdepartmental Center for Research and Documentation on Food Safety of Turin , published a booklet on food safety in pregnancy, from which the following table is taken, an excellent summary to keep in mind to understand what can be eat while pregnant.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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