Is it safe to eat meat while pregnant?
Once entering a pregnancy, the top priority is a healthy eating plan full of required nutrients. Meat is a great source of protein and most of us know this. But is it safe to eat meat during pregnancy?
Precautions when while pregnant
You need to store, prepare and cook your meat properly to guarantee the food safety. This means no raw or undercooked meat, from pork, beef, poultry, to fish allowed.
Meat and poultry can contain parasites and bacteria like listeria, toxoplasma, and salmonella. They are the culprit of food poisoning, which is extremely dangerous to a pregnant woman.
- Listeria causes listeriosis. Normally, listeriosis does not happen to healthy people, however, for pregnant women, it’s a different story. You can actually get really sick if eating food contaminated with listeria while being pregnant. Moreover, the listeriosis can be passed to your unborn child as well, resulting in pregnancy loss, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, meningitis or other fatal infections.
- Toxoplasma, meanwhile, is a microscopic parasite which would give you toxoplasmosis. If a pregnant woman has this condition, she would be severely ill and may experience a For the fetus, risks include stillbirth, birth effects, and long-term neurological damage.
- Salmonella bacteria, similarly, is dangerous for moms-to-be. It leads to high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Other risks include premature labor and pregnancy loss.
How to cook meat properly?
Equip your kitchen a food thermometer. For beef, pork, veal, and lamb, cook them to 63 degrees Celcius. For poultry and all ground meats, cook them to 74 degrees Celcius. You are sure that the meat is well-cooked if it is no pink in the middle.
Is lunch meat, cured or smoked meat safe for pregnant women?
Precooked and deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, dry sausages, refrigerated pâtés and meat spreads or smoked meat can have bacteria in them. Those bacteria can keep growing even in the fridge. You can keep the fridge colder to slow down the process. However, it’s good to skip these types of deli meats during pregnancy. If you still want to enjoy them, make sure you’ve steamed them to 74 degrees Celcius. Canned foods are safe, though.
How about grilled or blackened meat?
Those meats are considered safe for pregnant women. However, they are proved to raise the risks for certain types of cancers.
This is because when grilled or pan-fried over an open flame, animal proteins produce heterocyclic amines, a group of chemicals causing cancer. In addition, when we drip the juice into the fire, it produces polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, another cancer-causing factor.
Follow the following techniques to reduce the risks:
- Before cooking, get rid of all the fat that can be seen from the outside
- Cook it in the microwave for some minutes and shorten the grilling time
- Do not let the meat expose to the open flame
- Maintain moderate temperature when grilling
- Turn the food frequently
- Remove the burn portion of the food before eating