6 Holiday Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy


November 22, 2023

Wondering what holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy? The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and delicious food. From holiday events in Northern Virginia to family gatherings, there are endless opportunities to indulge in festive treats. However, for pregnant women, the holiday season can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to food choices. 

You’ll want to be extra cautious about what you eat to ensure your and your baby’s health and well-being. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on what holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy and what you can enjoy without worry.

northern virginia maternity session for the blog post holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy

Uncooked Meat and Seafood

One of the most common holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy is uncooked meat and seafood. This includes dishes like sushi, oysters, and rare steaks. These foods can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and listeria, which can cause serious foodborne illnesses. 

Soft Cheeses

While soft cheeses are delicious, they are also on the list of holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy. Soft cheeses such as Camembert, Brie, and blue cheese should be avoided since they can contain listeria bacteria. Opt for safer alternatives like hard cheeses or pasteurized versions of these soft cheeses.

pregnant mother and her male partner standing in a field, holding her stomach shot by a northern virginia maternity photographer

holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy featuring a mom holding her stomach and her male partner walking through a field.

Eggnog and Unpasteurized Beverages

Not only does eggnog contain raw eggs, but it can also be made with unpasteurized milk. Consuming these beverages during pregnancy can put you at risk for salmonella and E. coli infections. Stick to pasteurized versions of eggnog or choose non-alcoholic options like sparkling cider.


While this one seems obvious, it’s worth mentioning that alcohol should be strictly avoided during pregnancy. This includes holiday cocktails and festive drinks. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, birth defects, and developmental issues in the baby.

Foods High in Mercury

Fish such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and mackerel are known to contain high levels of mercury, which can harm the development of your baby’s nervous system. Limit your consumption of these types of fish and opt for lower mercury options like salmon, shrimp, and catfish.

holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy featuring a mom and dad sitting on a blanket in a field

maternity session featuring a pregnant mom and a dad kissing her cheek captured by an expert northern virginia maternity photographer

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

It’s always important to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them, but this is especially crucial during pregnancy. Raw produce can carry harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables with soap and water before eating, and avoid consuming any raw sprouts.

What Can I Eat?

Having to constantly worry about what you can and cannot eat during the holidays can put a damper on your festive mood. But fear not. There are still plenty of delicious holiday foods that are safe for pregnant women to enjoy! Some great options include roasted turkey, cooked vegetables, pasteurized cheeses, and baked goods made with pasteurized eggs.

maternity session featuring a mom sitting on a swing

Conclusion: Holiday Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, it’s crucial to be mindful of what you eat during the holiday season. By being aware of potential risks and making informed choices, you can enjoy the festivities while ensuring your and your baby’s health and well-being. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for any specific dietary concerns or questions you may have. Happy and healthy holidays!

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