Is Eating Out in First Trimester Safe?

Now that you are into first trimester of your pregnancy, you have to take care of what you eat when you go out and dine. Moreover, you have to be sure about the hygiene standards that are used to prepare the meal. The article discusses various drinks and foods that you should be careful about while eating out during first trimester of pregnancy and what foods you can safely consume.

Foods to Watch Out for While Eating Out

1. Raw vegetables and fruits

  • You should avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits as unclean raw fruits and vegetables can result in diarrhea, food poisoning or diseases transmitted by contaminated water such as typhoid or hepatitis.
  • Avoid eating raw onions, chutneys and pickles.
  • Raw cabbage, salad leaves and lettuce is often present in coleslaw or fast food; hence, you should avoid eating these foods during pregnancy.

2. Street food

  • During pregnancy, you become more prone to get infections; hence, even if you are fond of eating food from street, it is in your best interest to avoid it during pregnancy.
  • The water used in street food is usually contaminated and may cause various water borne diseases.
  • You should avoid food containing raw vegetables such as sliced onions as they may be contaminated.

3. Mono sodium glutamate

  • Some fast food items and Chinese foods contain MSG (mono sodium glutamate, also called ajinomoto). MSG has been known to trigger allergies and headaches in some individuals; hence, you should avoid it.
  • Mono sodium glutamate also contains high amount of sodium, leading to water retention; hence, should best be avoided during pregnancy.

4. Dishes that contain undercooked or raw eggs

  • Partially cooked or uncooked eggs may contain salmonella bacteria that can result in food poisoning. Though food poisoning due to salmonella will not harm your fetus directly; however, it will cause symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting resulting in dehydration.
  • Many sauces, desserts such as mousses, ice cream and chilled soufflés or mayonnaise are made of raw eggs; hence, avoid these.
  • Nowadays, eggless desserts are offered by many restaurants-opt for these. If you are craving for eggs in your dessert, then Caramel custards and Crème brulees have cooked eggs in them; hence, you can order these.

5. Dishes that contain undercooked, uncooked or cured meat

  • Undercooked meat may contain a parasite that results in toxoplasmosis and salmonella. Though rare, toxoplasmosis infection may cause harm to your baby.
  • Cured meats including Parma ham and salami may also contain parasites, which may lead to toxoplasmosis.
  • If you have ordered barbecue grills, steak or tandoori non-vegetarian food items, ensure that they are well done. Any meat that is cooked to order should have juices that are clear-running.

6. Pâté

  • You should avoid pates while eating out during pregnancy first trimester as they may contain listeria bacteria, which can result in an infection that may cause harm to your unborn baby.
  • Moreover, pate may be made using liver that contains high amount of vitamin A, which can harm your baby.

7. Seafood

  • Uncooked seafood or raw fish can result in food poisoning if not fresh.
  • Uncooked shellfish can also result in food poisoning.
  • You can eat seafood that is well cooked such as cooked fish or grilled prawns.
  • Avoid exotic fish including swordfish, marlin and shark. Even well cooked exotic fish can be harmful to your baby as they have high amount of mercury in them.
  • Mercury is also present in tuna. Hence, you should stick to 2 fresh steaks or 4 medium sized cans per week.

8. Cheeses

  • Avoid blue veined cheeses or cheeses, which are mould-ripened such as stilton or brie.
  • You can safely eat cottage cheese during first trimester of pregnancy as long as the restaurant you are dining in maintains good hygiene levels.

9. Drinks

  • According to health experts, you should avoid alcohol anytime during pregnancy. Instead, opt for a soft drink. Always order for a branded soft drink.
  • Order for a branded mineral water when dining out.
  • Ask the staff to open the bottle of the beverage in front of you to make sure that it is clean. Avoid using ice in the drink as the water used to make the ice may be contaminated.  Also limit the intake of soft drinks/cola as they contain caffeine.
  • The recommended limit of caffeine per day during pregnancy is no greater than    200 mg. Caffeine is present in cola, green tea, chocolate and energy drinks. If you have already taken your allowance for the day, consider ordering a peppermint tea or a decaffeinated coffee.

Best Restaurant Options While Pregnant

While there’s lots of precautions to take when eating out during pregnancy first trimester, there are still many safe options.


Burritos and Tacos with grilled veggies and beans are excellent choices. Choose avocado and salsa and taco salad. Avoid anything with sour cream and cheese and some soft cheese such as queso freso.


Order brown rice (whole-grain) and sautéed or steamed veggies instead of deep-fried, high-fat dishes. Ask for dishes with fewer sauces to avoid salt. Avoid egg drop soup due to uncooked egg; Lo Mein is full of fat and sodium and Tso’s chicken is fried.


You can order Sushi rolls prepared with cooked seafood, Tamoga or spinach gomae. Avoid sashimi, sushi rolls containing raw fish and poke salad.


You can choose pasta along with marinara sauce, seafood or meat sauce. (Make sure that clams and mussels are cooked till their shells have opened) Avoid Fettuccini with Alfredo sauce as it is full of saturated fat. Also avoid prosciutto as it may contain listeria.


You can order lentils and hummus, which are full of proteins and fiber. Lamb kabobs and Grilled chicken is a good choice. Avoid Gyro sandwiches.


You can order a Portobello mushroom or grilled chicken sandwich. You can also choose hamburgers made of lean ground beef (made of quarter lb of meat). Avoid French fries, fried chicken, fried mozzarella sticks, bacon, hot dogs, club sandwiches, cold deli meats and shakes.


You can order tandoori dishes featuring chicken or any other meat marinated in spices and yogurt and baked. Other good choices are grilled chicken tikka, lentils, chana masala, and aloo gobhi. Avoid pakoras and rich, heavy curries. 

Now you know all about eating out during pregnancy first trimester.