Soft cheeses, raw eggs and alcohol are something most of us would know are unsuitable for pregnant women, however, it seems that there are many more foods to be wary of.

Public health nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire has revealed to the Daily Mail the surprising snacks that should be avoided by all pregnant women.

From the pizza topping that could harm a developing baby to the sweet treat that could increase the risk of still birth, Dr Derbyshire talks us through the foods to be avoided.

Unpasteurised fruit or vegetable juice

Whilst you may think you are doing yourself and the baby good drinking fruit and vege concoctions, the unpasteurised variety could be doing more harm than good.


Unpasteurised fruit and vegetable juice can contain bacteria that can be harmful to those with weakened immune systems which includes pregnant women.

This includes fresh-squeezed juices sold at farmer's markets, juice bars or at roadside stands. So take care to avoid these.

Pate (even the vegetable variety)

If pregnant, you should avoid spreading pate on your toast. This can contain bacteria known as listeria monocytogenes.

Eating up these can lead to listeriosis (typically flu-like symptom, sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea) which is potentially dangerous in pregnancy, driving up miscarriage and even stillborn risk, as well as general illness in a newborn baby.

I swapped this instead to smoked salmon as that's okay to eat in the UK.

Alfalfa sprouts

Avoid sprinkling these into your stir fry in pregnancy. The alfalfa seed is another great host for bacteria.

Salmonella, listeria, and E. coli, in particular, like to fester in these sprouts.

No amount of cooking is guaranteed to kill these so they are best avoided. Full stop.

Cantaloupe melons

Cantaloupe is a type of muskmelon that has been cultivated.

Whilst these are typically 90 per cent water, nine per cent carbohydrates and one per cent protein and fat, unfortunately the dreaded listeria monocytogenes bacteria can also invade their somewhat bumpy rinds.

So, not washing the rinds or nibbling on the rind unintendedly can pose a risk and increase miscarriage risk.

Pre-cooked hot dogs

These sausages can be another source of listeria monocytogenes. Photo / Getty
These sausages can be another source of listeria monocytogenes. Photo / Getty

If you are out and about and fancying one of those pre-cooked hot dogs with a blob of ketchup and mustard, think twice if you are pregnant. These sausages can be another source of listeria monocytogenes.

They need to be reheated to high temperatures, around 72C in order to kill off festering listeria.

Quite often, heating methods just don't cut it, so it's not worth the craving.


Whilst lean red meat is an important source of high-quality protein, well-absorbed iron and vitamin B12, pregnant women are advised against eating salami or pepperoni meats.

These are quite different in that they tend to contain preservatives called nitrates which could be harmful to the developing bay.

Their salt levels are also exceptionally high which can be harmful for mother and baby. So if you are fancying that spicy dried sausage, perhaps think again.

Hollandaise sauce

This Dutch sauce may be great over asparagus tips but it's not great to eat in pregnancy.

Typically made with raw eggs this yellow runny sauce poses a risk of salmonella so could be potentially dangerous to a pregnant woman.

Eggnog, homemade ice creams and mayonnaises can also be made with raw eggs so watch out for these, too.


Speaking of raw eggs and salmonella risk, these can also be found in popular desserts, too. Tiramisu is one of these, along with meringues and mousses.

So if you are off for a meal out with a baby bump look out for other options on the dessert menu.


Tuna can contain mercury which can harm the baby's developing nervous system. Photo / Getty
Tuna can contain mercury which can harm the baby's developing nervous system. Photo / Getty

Tuna can be eaten in pregnancy but just not too much. Ideally no more than two tuna steaks (140g per steak) or four 140g cans per week should be eaten.

This is because tuna can contain mercury which can harm the baby's developing nervous system.

Ideally, if you are going to eat tuna when pregnant try to eat the fresh variety as this has more omega-3 fatty acids which the canning processes can remove.


Be it in the chewy black sweet form or in tea liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) contains the active ingredient glycyrrhiza.

Studies suggest that taking this in pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth. It's not exactly known why but its not worth the risk.

So, that box of liquorice allsorts will just have to go on hold for nine months.