15 Food And Beverages Including Asian Items You Must Avoid When You Are Pregnant

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

From the moment you conceive, the first thing that worries you is what to eat and what food not to eat during pregnancy. There are certain foods including Asian foods that should be consumed rarely, while there are some that should be avoided completely. The fact is that some of these foods when consumed during pregnancy can not only put your life at risk but also affect your baby’s health.

To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you can make some minor changes in your dietary routine. Let’s look at some food options including Asian foods that mums be avoided during your pregnancy journey.

What Food Not To Eat During Pregnancy Including Some Asian Items

High mercury fish

As you know, mercury is a highly toxic element. In higher amounts, it can harm your nervous system, immune system, and even kidneys. It may also cause serious developmental problems in children, with adverse effects even in lower amounts.

Some fishes with high amounts of mercury that you must avoid include shark, swordfish, king mackerel. Note that all fishes do not have mercury. In fact, consuming fish with low mercury levels and fatty acids are considered extremely healthy for your pregnancy.

Undercooked or raw fish

Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections. Some of these infections may only affect you, causing dehydration and weakness. But these infections may be passed on to your baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences.


It’s natural for most Asian mums to consume tea on a regular basis. And if you are addicted to tea and/or coffee, you need to change your routine with immediate effect.

Be sure to limit caffeine to 200 mg a day (one 12-ounce cup of coffee). High caffeine intake during pregnancy can restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery.

Raw eggs

what food not to eat during pregnancy
what food not to eat during pregnancy

Raw eggs or undercooked eggs like watery poach may have salmonella bacteria (Photo Courtesy: Flickr)

Cook your eggs properly as raw eggs may also have Salmonella bacteria. Some major symptoms of infection from salmonella bacteria can be fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea.


what food not to eat during pregnancy
what food not to eat during pregnancy

Alcohol should be strictly avoided when you become pregnant (Photo courtesy: Flickr)

This is not limited to Asia, of course. But you need to forget alcohol the moment you come to know that a baby is growing inside you. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioural, and intellectual disabilities.

Remember that all types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.

Processed junk food

Again, this is not limited to Asia as well. Junk foods are consumed globally consumed but must be cut down to bare minimum when you are pregnant. Instead, try to have home-cooked meals so as to avoid the chance of getting any infection.

Unpasteurised milk

When you are pregnancy it is not advisable to consume unpasteurised milk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Foods and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also recommend that pregnant women not eat foods made with unpasteurised milk.

This is because raw milk can carry disease-causing microbes. One of the most worrisome of these is the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes that can cause an infection called listeriosis. This infection can be harmful to pregnant women and also to unborn babies.

Unripe papaya

The results of a recent study suggest that normal consumption of ripe papaya during pregnancy may not pose any significant danger.

However, the unripe or semi-ripe papaya (which contains a high concentration of latex that produces marked uterine contractions) could be unsafe during pregnancy. It can lead to preterm birth and health complications in the baby.

Raw meat

what food not to eat during pregnancy
what food not to eat during pregnancy

Avoid consuming raw meat during pregnancy | Image Courtesy: Flickr

Many Asians do consume raw meats in the form of hot pots, but they are not safe to consume during pregnancy. Strictly avoid eating rare cuts and undercooked meats. You can eat cold cuts, deli meats and other ready-to-eat meats after heating or steaming them. Better yet, cook them through and through.

In the case of raw meat, you stand a chance of getting an infection from several bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.

This type of bacteria may also threaten the health of your baby, possibly leading to stillbirth or severe neurological illnesses, including intellectual disability, blindness, and epilepsy.

Raw sprouts

We all know that raw sprouts are extremely healthy. However, the reason you can keep them off your plate is raw sprouts like radish, mung bean sprouts, may be contaminated with Salmonella.

However, sprouts are completely safe to eat when they are cooked.

Unwashed vegetables

Don’t we all love going to the local vegetable vendor auntie and picking up those seemingly ‘fresh’ fruits and vegetables! But beware. Consuming fruits and vegetables during pregnancy is important, but not when they are unwashed.

Harmful bacteria present in the soil or water where produce grows can come in contact with fruits and vegetables and contaminate them. It is therefore important to wash your vegetables and fruits properly.

Canned foods

While canned foods are extremely convenient, but they should be avoided when you are pregnant. They may contain preservatives and food additives for the long shelf-life of the product. But these may affect your health during this time and cause health concerns such as preterm pregnancy.

Spicy food

Add and consume spices in moderation. During pregnancy, the chance of acid reflux and heartburn is a lot higher, and consuming spicy food will only aggravate it.

Excessive sugar

Asian families love their sweets, but be careful if you have a sweet tooth. Pregnancy can be the time when you crave ice creams and chocolates. However, you need to keep a check on the sweet items. Excessive intake of desserts could increase the sugar level in your blood causing gestational diabetes, which could affect foetal health, too.

Unprescribed medicines

You may experience some discomforts during your pregnancy, but never Google the symptoms and pop a medicine. For instance, vitamins are surely a good source of nourishment for pregnant women, but they can be harmful when consumed in excess.

Always consult your doctor before taking any medicines or changing your diet plan, as it may affect the health of your unborn and can complicate the pregnancy.


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