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Is It Safe To Eat Meat During Pregnancy?

Eating Meat During Pregnancy - Benefits, Risks, And Precautions

Pregnancy is the time when you need to be cautious whatever you eat to ensure the well being of your baby. You may have varieties of food cravings during your pregnancy period but try to eat healthy and nutritious food that provides health benefits to you and your baby as well. If you like to eat meat before pregnancy and now you're wondering whether to eat it or not, is it safe for you and your baby?

Don't worry. You're in the right place. Just read this article to know all about having meat during the pregnancy period.  


Meat in Pregnancy health benefits





Benefits of Meat during pregnancy

Meat is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals which are crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Consumption of meat including chicken, other poultry, fish is beneficial during pregnancy as they provide you several essential nutrients that play a vital role in the healthy growth and development of your baby. 




Risks of eating meat during pregnancy

Some of the risks associated with the consumption of meat during pregnancy include:

1. Listeriosis

Deli meats are more prone to be contaminated with listeria that can cause a condition known as listeriosis.  This bacteria has the ability to cross the placenta and can cause complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, infection, meningitis, or blood poisoning. Processed meats such as ham, hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky can be contaminated with parasites and bacteria. So, avoid consuming processed meat and deli meats during the pregnancy period.


2. Toxoplasmosis

The chances of developing toxoplasmosis increases if the meat is undercooked. Toxoplasmosis is an infection that is caused due to toxoplasma which is a microscopic parasite. Avoid consuming undercooked meat during pregnancy as toxoplasmosis can even pass to your baby and cause complications. It can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. So, it's better to stop the consumption of undercooked meat to avoid further complications in pregnancy.


3. Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria can cause complications such as high fever, abdominal pain, headache, vomiting, or diarrhea, and in some rare cases, it can lead to miscarriage or preterm labor. Undercooked meat also carries a risk of food poisoning due to salmonella bacteria. Pregnant women are more prone to illness, food poisoning,  or infection as their immunity is low during the pregnancy period. So, it's better to avoid the consumption of undercooked meat altogether while pregnant.




4. Gestational Diabetes

Red meat such as pork, beef, and lamb are great sources of protein, iron, and zinc but overconsumption of red meat can increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. 


5. Food Poisoning

There are some varieties of fish such as shark, raw-selfish that can cause food poisoning. So, it's better to avoid the consumption of such fishes. Also, avoid consuming fishes with high mercury levels.




Precautions to be taken while eating meat during pregnancy

Some of the tips that you should follow while eating meat during pregnancy include:
  • Wash your hands, surfaces, and all the utensils thoroughly before and after handling meat. 
  • Keep raw meat away from other food items as harmful bacterias can spread easily to anything it touches.
  • Make sure that meat is thoroughly cooked with no traces of pink or blood as it will kill off all the harmful bacteria and parasites.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


1. Is it safe to eat meat during pregnancy?

Yes, meat is safe to consume during pregnancy as long as it is well cooked.



2. Can a pregnant woman eat meat?

Yes, you can eat meat during pregnancy due to its high protein content. But keep in mind that undercooked or raw meat is harmful to you and your growing baby during this phase.



3. Is it safe to eat blackened or grilled meat?

Consumption of blackened or grilled meat occasionally is ok. But eating it frequently can lead to cancer as frying or grilling the animal protein in an open frame may lead to the production of heterocyclic amines that are cancer-causing chemicals.




4. Is it safe to eat lunch meat or smoked meat during pregnancy?

To be on a safer side it's better to avoid consuming smoked, cold, or lunch meat during pregnancy. 



5. Is it safe to eat raw meat during pregnancy?

No, raw meat is unsafe to consume during pregnancy. Raw or undercooked meats are more prone to bacteria and increase the chances of developing toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, salmonella.  




6. Can I eat red meat during pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat red meat during pregnancy as it is a good source of protein. But remember to consume it in an adequate amount. Overeating red meat can increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.



7. Is it safe to eat rare meat during pregnancy?

No, rare meat is unsafe to consume while pregnant. Rare meat is a steak that is cooked for a very short period of time. It is just a stage up from raw meat. Consumption of raw or rare meat is not good for you and your baby's health during pregnancy. It can make you ill or can cause complications for your baby as well. So, it's best to avoid the consumption of rare, raw, or undercooked meat during pregnancy.



8. Is it safe to eat Pâté during pregnancy?

Pâté is not safe to consume during pregnancy as it may contain listeria that can cause a condition called listeriosis which can cause complications during pregnancy. 




9. Can I eat cured meat during pregnancy?

Cured meat is not cooked and may contain parasites that can cause toxoplasmosis which can cause complications such as miscarriage or stillbirth. So, avoid consumption of cured meat as well during your pregnancy period.



10. Is it safe to eat liver or liver products during pregnancy?

Liver or liver products contain high levels of retinol, a type of vitamin A. Too much of retinol can cause complications for your baby. So, to be on a safer side it's best to avoid consumption of liver or liver products during pregnancy.


Being rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, meat is a healthy addition to your pregnancy diet. But before including meat in your diet make sure to know which meats are safe to consume and which are best to avoid during pregnancy. If you're a meat-lover and also want to enjoy it during your pregnancy period seek your doctor's approval. 



Also, read other 'pregnancy-related' articles:
Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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