Pregnancy and your diet

There are certain foods you should avoid when you are pregnant since you are at greater risk of food poisoning.

You should prepare and store food carefully.

Foods to avoid while pregnant

If you are pregnant you should avoid:

  • food that may contain listeria bacteria like soft cheeses (brie, camembert, ricotta, feta and blue cheese), sandwich meats, bean sprouts, pre-prepared salads, pate, caviar, smoked seafood and raw seafood
  • soft serve ice cream
  • raw eggs - they may contain salmonella
  • food such as nuts, if you are allergic to the food - avoiding these foods has no impact on the infant's risk of developing allergy symptoms.

You should also avoid drinking alcohol.

For more information about healthy eating go to the Australian Government eat for health website.


Listeriosis is an infection that can occur if you have eaten any of the foods listed above. It can cause fevers and make you feel quite ill.

If you think you may be experiencing listeriosis during pregnancy, you should go to hospital and be treated with antibiotics.

Mercury in fish

You should limit your intake of high mercury foods if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Read more about mercury in fish and how much you should eat.

Weight gain in pregnancy

You should monitor your weight during pregnancy. You should not lose weight during pregnancy.

If your pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) was:

  • below 18.5 - aim to gain between 12.5 and 18kg
  • between 18.5 and 25 - aim to gain about 11.5 to 16kg
  • between 25 and 29.9 - aim to gain about 7 to 11.5kg
  • above 30 - aim to gain between 5 and 9kg.

Go to The Heart Foundation website for a BMI calculator.

Last updated: 13 May 2016

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