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Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy While in Thailand



Pregnancy warrants cravings ranging from chocolate, sweets, junk food, and spicy food for pregnant women in Thailand. Cravings mostly involve greasy, delicious takeout from Asian restaurants.

It is not uncommon for pregnant women in Thailand to stumble into restaurants during weeknights demanding pan-fried noodles or Pho soups.

In the real sense, Asian food is an outwardly harmless craving; however, this isn’t always the case, especially for pregnant women.

Most of Asian dishes have raw bean sprouts in them, which is among the foods that should be off-limits for pregnant women. Pregnant women must be extra careful with their nutrition during pregnancy, especially in Thailand, it goes without saying that this is when what you eat and drink should matter the most.

There is a lot of advice out there on what pregnant women should avoid the basics being: no alcohol, no seafood high in mercury, no raw or undercooked meat, no unpasteurized drinks, etc.

However, this knowledge does not cover the most popular ingredient in one of the most common cravings during pregnancy.

Popular dishes in Thailand include Fried Rice, Chow Mein, Chop Suey, Pad Thai, Bibimbap, Pho, most stir-fries, and more. Only a minute fraction of Thailand dishes have raw bean sprouts. However, this is a common ingredient in Thailand dishes that can be threatening to a pregnant woman and the unborn baby.

We emphasize on raw because, other than certain seafood, fish, milk, meat, and cheese that are considered harmful for pregnant women when raw or under cooked, raw foods are generally toxic during pregnancy. Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as unpasteurized drinks, are equally hazardous during pregnancy in Thailand.

Raw bean sprouts contain salmonella, listeria monocytogenes, cryptosporidiosis, and Escherichia coli, all of which have different consequences during pregnancy.


This is a genus of bacteria that can lead to threatening bacteria illnesses like Typhoid Fever. Especially if it enters the bloodstream. Salmonella exposes pregnant women and their fetuses to consequences like intrauterine fetal demise. Also pregnancy loss, and preterm labor.

When passed to the baby via the placenta, salmonella could infect their blood and lungs. With harmful viruses and bacteria, which can lead to neonatal infection.

Listeria Monocytogenes

This genus of bacteria is the primary conductor for Listeriosis, a bacterial disease that is one of the leading causes of foodborne illnesses. Listeriosis during pregnancy could result in fetal loss/miscarriage. This is why pregnant women in Thailand should be aware of the presence of listeria in raw bean sprout in Asian dishes.


This is a form of parasitic disease commonly driven by Cryptosporidium oocysts, a genus of protozoan parasites. Cryptosporidiosis could lead to stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, or unexplained coughing.

For pregnant women, coughing or stomach cramps could lead to hazardous consequences. It could also lead to diarrhea or a weakened immune system, which puts pregnant women at risk of fetal loss.

Diarrhea often results in the rapid loss of fluids. This could be life-threatening to the unborn baby because fluids are necessary for their development and stability. Hence, it is best for pregnant women in Thailand to avoid dishes with raw bean sprouts during pregnancy.

Escherichia Coli

While this genus bacteria is safe, when consumed, it could lead to food poisoning, which could prove hazardous for pregnant women. The presence of this bacteria in pregnant women can be life-threatening to your unborn baby, seeing as it could potentially lead to pre-labour rupture of membranes.

So What Should Pregnant Thai Women Do?

Since the consumption of raw bean sprouts could result in harmful effects on the woman and the developing fetus. It is safe to stay away from them.

To ensure this, pregnant women in Thailand should always request for no raw bean sprouts. Especially if you are ordering Thai food or food that could contain them. By doing so, you will be limiting your exposure to these bacteria.

As you get ready for your baby’s arrival, all you have to do is simply ask for no raw bean sprouts. This task is practical, easy, and cost-effective, especially in Thailand.




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