Nutrition Experts Warn: Foods Women Should Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant

Food to Avoid While Trying to Conceive

Nutrition experts caution against the consumption of certain foods by women who are trying to get pregnant and have children.

Consultant Nutritionist’s Recommendations

Consultant nutritionist Roe Huntress, based in London, shares the foods she suggests skipping or reducing consumption of when trying to conceive.


If you are pregnant or aiming to become pregnant, it is possible for alcohol to pass to your fetus, according to the British National Health Service.

Huntress emphasizes that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in long-term harm to the baby, with the risk increasing as the amount of alcohol consumed goes up.

“Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which can cause mental and physical problems in your baby,” warns Huntress.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that alcohol consumption is linked to a lower chance of pregnancy even for women who are not yet pregnant, says Huntress.


Limiting caffeine intake is recommended when trying to conceive, as excessive consumption is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, according to Huntress.

She suggests that women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day when attempting to conceive. This is equivalent to two cups of instant coffee, with each cup containing approximately 100 mg of caffeine.

Oily Fish

While oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in nutrients, it may come as a surprise that nutritionists recommend not overeating them when trying to conceive.

“Although they are excellent sources of nutrients, including iron, iodine, and omega-3, they should be limited to two servings per week due to the contaminants they contain, which can accumulate in the body and harm the fetus,” explains Huntress.

These fish also contain pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls, which may jeopardize the health of the fetus, as stated by the NHS.

In addition, pregnant women should avoid ready-to-eat, cold-smoked, or processed fish, as they could be contaminated with Listeria bacteria, which can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or serious illness for the newborn.

Foods High in Vitamin A

Experts advise against consuming foods such as eggs, beef liver, and fish oil when attempting to conceive due to their high vitamin A content.

“When taken in excess, vitamin A can be harmful to the fetus,” warns Huntress.

Vitamin A is produced in the body when beta-carotene, the pigment found in red, yellow, and green leafy vegetables, is broken down.

Taking too much vitamin A can result in fetal deformities, including abnormal development of the spine, small or absent eyes, cleft lip and palate, deformed ears, and deformities of the limbs, kidneys, reproductive organs, heart, and thyroid, according to the Food Standards Agency’s toxicology committee.

Trans Fats

Avoid trans fats found in margarine, cakes, biscuits, and fast food if you are trying to conceive.

“Consuming trans fats is associated with increased infertility and can affect the length of pregnancy, potentially resulting in developmental defects and miscarriage,” warns Huntress.

Source: Daily Mail

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