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Ten Indian Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Ten Indian Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy: A Guide for Expectant Mothers

| 16 Aug 2023 | 82811 Views |


First things first, congrats on the bun in the oven! It’s an exciting journey filled with new challenges and experiences. But, between all the joy and excitement, there’s also a lot of information to take in, especially when it comes to what’s on your plate. Food can be comforting, but it’s essential to know what’s safe for you and your little one. With the vast culinary landscape that Indian cuisine offers, we’ve zeroed in on 10 Indian foods you must avoid during pregnancy. So let’s take the plunge, shall we?

Foods to Steer Clear From

1. Raw Papaya
  • Why? Raw papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can cause uterine contractions. It’s best to avoid it, especially during the early stages of pregnancy.
2. Aloe Vera
  • Why? Aloe Vera is traditionally believed to cause pelvic hemorrhage, leading to a possible miscarriage.
3. Ajinomoto (MSG)
  • Why? Used in many dishes to enhance flavor, MSG has been linked to birth defects and should be avoided.

Also Read: Can We Eat Jackfruit During Pregnancy – Is it Safe

4. Fennel and Fenugreek Seeds
  • Why? Both can lead to uterine contractions. It’s okay to use them as spices but avoid them in medicinal amounts.
5. High Mercury Fish
  • Why? Fish like shark, swordfish, and mackerel contain high levels of mercury which can affect fetal brain development.
6. Street Food
  • Why? As tantalizing as it might be, street food can be unhygienic and can cause infections.
7. Undercooked or Raw Eggs
  • Why? They can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella, which can be dangerous during pregnancy.
8. Alcohol
  • Why? Even in small amounts, alcohol can cause birth defects. It’s best to avoid it altogether.
9. Caffeine
  • Why? While you might be yearning for that morning cuppa, high caffeine intake can lead to premature birth or low birth weight.

See Also: Can We Eat Jamun in Pregnancy? – Benefits and Side Effects

10. Unpasteurized Milk and its Products
  • Why? They can contain bacteria like listeria, which can be harmful during pregnancy.

10 Indian foods you must avoid during pregnancy: The Deeper Dive

Now that we’ve got the list sorted let’s understand why we’re saying a big NO to these foods. After all, knowledge is power, right? Indian cuisine is rich, diverse, and oh-so-tasty, but there are a few items that expectant mothers might want to sidestep.

Raw Papaya and its Potential Dangers

Raw papaya, especially the green variety, is known to carry papain. Papain has been traditionally believed to cause miscarriages. Cooked papaya, however, loses this enzyme and is safe to consume.

The MSG Conundrum: Is it safe?

MSG, found in many Indo-Chinese dishes, might add flavor but at a hefty cost. Studies have shown that excessive consumption can lead to birth defects. So, while those Manchurian dishes might beckon, it’s a good idea to resist the call during these crucial months.


Navigating the culinary journey during pregnancy can be a tad tricky, but with the right knowledge and guidance, it’s entirely manageable. Here’s to a healthy and delightful pregnancy journey for all the would-be mommies out there! Remember, when in doubt, always consult with your healthcare provider.


FAQs: What You Need to Know

Yes, but in moderation. It's advisable to keep caffeine intake below 200 mg per day.

Avoid sushi with raw fish. If you're going for veg sushi or those with cooked fish, you should be good.

Some herbal teas can induce labor or cause complications. Always consult with your healthcare provider before indulging.

Absolutely! Just ensure they're not coated with any exotic or unfamiliar spices.

Most Indian sweets are safe, but avoid those with a lot of preservatives or artificial colors.

In moderation, yes. Ghee is considered beneficial, especially during the last trimester.

Stick to hard cheeses and avoid soft, unpasteurized ones like feta or blue cheese.

Yes, but ensure they maintain good hygiene. Also, avoid salads as they might have raw ingredients.

Apart from raw papaya, it's best to avoid pineapple in large amounts as it might cause uterine contractions.

Most seafood is safe. Just ensure it's well-cooked and avoid high-mercury fish.

About The Author
Dr. Richika Sahay

MBBS (Gold Medalist), DNB (Obst & Gyne), MNAMS, MRCOG (London-UK), Fellow IVF, Fellow MAS, Infertility (IVF) Specialist & Gynae Laparoscopic surgeon,[Ex AIIMS & Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi]. Read more

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