The Risks of Eating Salad While Pregnant

Many women are unaware that salads can be truly harmful if the fruits and vegetables aren't washed properly. Today we want to offer some tips to help you care for your health, and that of your baby.
The Risks of Eating Salad While Pregnant

Last update: 23 February, 2019

While salads are usually very healthy, eating salad while pregnant poses certain risks. This all depends on the ingredients that make up the salad, and the way they’re prepared.

Many foods simply aren’t safe to eat during gestation. Today, we’ll explain some details about the dangers of eating salad while pregnant.

The risks of eating salad while pregnant

Most women try to be extra careful about their diets during the nine months of pregnancy. However, many people are unaware of how dangerous certain foods can be for pregnant women and their babies. Therefore, it’s very important to stay informed on the subject.

In this sense, women don’t often worry about eating salads because of their reputation as a healthy option. However, when it comes to pregnancy, there are certain risks you need to be aware of.

Eating salad while pregnant can cause a variety of problems, which we’ll discuss below:


When we hear of salmonella, we usually think of it as a risk associated with eating eggs, dairy products and meats. However, experts have discovered that fruits and vegetables can also cause this bacterial infection. 

Therefore, it’s important to always wash fruits and vegetables carefully before eating them. The symptoms of salmonella include fever and gastroenteritis.

Escherichia coli

More commonly known as E. coli, this bacteria can be very dangerous during pregnancy. It starts by dwelling in the intestines, and the symptoms range from diarrhea to cystitis. Failing to wash fruits and vegetables properly can easily lead to infection .

The Risks of Eating Salad While Pregnant


This illness can spread via raw eggs, as well as raw or undercooked meats. There is also a risk of toxoplasmosis when pregnant women consume fruits and vegetables that haven’t been properly washed. The main symptoms of toxoplasmosis include headache, fever and muscle pain.


This parasitic infection can spread by eating undercooked or poorly washed foods. The initial symptoms of anisakiasis include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, but symptoms vary according to the location of the parasites. The infection is treatable, but you should consult with your doctor.

“It’s best to avoid preparing salads with smoked fish, given that the preparation of this type of food can involve contamination by the Anisakis parasite”

Taking proper precaution to prevent illnesses

The first precautionary measure you need to take is one that we’ve already mentioned above. To avoid any illness related to eating salad while pregnant, you must always wash the ingredients you’ll be using. 

Even if the packaging states that the contents have been washed previously, you should always wash them again just in case.

Other ways you can protect yourself from illness when eating salad while pregnant include the following:

  • Any time you include an ingredient in a salad, be sure it’s industrial-grade. Also be sure to store it in the refrigerator.
  • It’s important to point out the importance of avoiding salads that you didn’t prepare at home. When eating in restaurants, you have no way of being sure that whoever prepared the salad washed the ingredients properly.
  • Using ingredients that in and of themselves aren’t dangerous during pregnancy is critical. For example, you should stay away from deli meats, raw meat, raw fish, and smoked ingredients.
  • Once again, it’s important to remember that you must always thoroughly wash all of the ingredients you’ll use. This is important both for your own health as well as your baby’s. You can look for food-safe bleach at your supermarket.
The Risks of Eating Salad While Pregnant

Fruits you should avoid during pregnancy

Pregnant women don’t only need to eat plenty of vegetables. It’s also important for women to include plenty of fruits in their diet to stay healthy. However, there are certain precautions you should take when it comes to the fruit you put in your salads.

S ome fruits can be harmful during the gestation process. For example:

  • Non-organic fruits: Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information available regarding the dangers of non-organic fruits. However, we do know that the fruits that contain the greatest amounts of pesticides are peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, cherries, grapes and pears.
  • Unpasteurized juices: Fruit drinks that haven’t gone through the pasteurization process can cause illnesses like salmonella, cryptosporidium and E. coli.
  • Acidic fruits: While these types of fruit don’t pose any serious danger to pregnant women, they can increase symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. Therefore, if you’re dealing with these issues, you should limit your intake of acidic fruits.

Salads are one of the best things you can eat during pregnancy. However, it’s important to avoid ingredients that aren’t in good condition or that haven’t been properly prepared. 

Remember, eating unwashed fruits and vegetables not only puts your health at risk, but also your unborn baby’s.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Academia Española de Nutrición y Dietética. Las mejores verduras y hortalizas en el embarazo.
  • Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición. Alimentación segura durante el embarazo. Consejos básicos para 40 semanas de seguridad.
  • Brentwood. Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). 1994. Escherichia Coli. E. coli (2021).
  • Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. Lechuga, otras verduras de hoja verde y seguridad se los alimentos. Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Estados Unidos. Enero 2022.
  • Darnton-Hill, I. Asesoramiento sobre nutrición durante el embarazo. Fundamento biológico, conductual y contextual. 2013. Organización Mundial de la Salud. [En línea] Disponible en:
  • FDA (US Food and Drug Administration). Listeria from food safety for moms to be.
  • Rodríguez Domínguez Pedro Lorenzo, Martín Ojeda Venelio. Implicaciones obstétricas de la desnutrición materna. Rev. Med. Electrón.  [Internet]. 2011  Ago [citado  2019  Abr  05] ;  33( 4 ): 448-455. Disponible en:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.