Is It Safe to Consume Meat During Pregnancy?

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The nine months of pregnancy are the best moments for women especially if expecting the first child. However, as much as they bring a bundle of joy, they also bring fear as you are not sure of what to do or eat to protect the unborn child. During this period also, there are so much that mothers opt out especially if it can put the baby at risk, and one of them is food.

In most cases, you’d hear many women asking, is it safe to consume meat during pregnancy? As much as we’d like to answer this question in the simplest and quickest way possible, here is the best way to give you answers.

Is it safe to consume meat during pregnancy?

Consume Meat During PregnancyMeat is a rich source of protein which is an important nutrient during pregnancy as it helps the baby to grow healthy and at the same time plays an important role when trying to conceive. However, avoid raw meat, under-cooked meat, and ground meat as they are susceptible to environmental contamination and may be a dwelling place of harmful bacteria which make it unsafe to consume regardless of whether you are pregnant or not. And given that pregnancy is usually a sensitive period, avoid it completely for the sake of your baby.

Risks associated with meat consumption during pregnancy

Gestational diabetes

Consuming excess red meat during pregnancy puts you at a risk of developing gestational diabetes which also puts you in an even greater danger of developing type-2 diabetes. Usually, gestational diabetes is marked by high blood sugar levels in your body and even though it’s a common condition, it may make your baby become overweight.

Listeriosis

It is recommendable to completely avoid cold meat during pregnancy as some of the meats such as deli have been proven to be prone to bacteria even when refrigerated. The bacteria when consumed cause an infection referred to as Listeriosis which leads to gastrointestinal illnesses, meningitis, and blood infection. And given that women are at a 20% more prone to Listeriosis during pregnancy, kindly avoid cold meat.

Toxoplasmosis

If you so much love consuming lamb or pork, you could be at a higher risk of developing toxoplasmosis infection especially if you undercook it, and the worst part is that this infection can pass to your unborn baby if you become infected for the first time before or during pregnancy. During pregnancy, you can develop other serious illnesses as a result of toxoplasmosis and in order to keep your baby safe and healthy, prepare your own meals and cook the meat properly.

Food poisoning

It goes without saying that fish consumption has tremendous benefits for your unborn child. It helps your child’s brain development and lowers signs of early autism. Therefore, you should consume smoked fish during pregnancy but always avoid non-smoked shark, fish, and raw shellfish as they can cause food poisoning.

Healthy eating checklist

During the nine months of pregnancy, women usually become choosy when it comes to what they eat. This is the stage when you have a double responsibility of taking care of your unborn child and yourself as well. And because all you want is the best for the both of you, here is a checklist to put into consideration to ensure that the food you eat has the right nutrients and is free from infections or health risks.

Always clean

From the famous phrase ‘cleanliness is second from godliness’, it is without a doubt that cleanliness is very important especially during pregnancy. Therefore, when handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood, wash the chopping surface, your hands, kitchen tops, utensils, and dishes with soap and apply sanitizer when necessary.

Separate meat from other foods

When preparing the meal for your family, it’s important to handle them properly. For instance, separate poultry, raw meat, and seafood from regular food items such as vegetables, fruits, and juices to prevent cross-contamination.

Keep the food chilled

Given that some microorganisms cannot survive or multiply in cold conditions, it’s recommendable to refrigerate meats and poultry. In case you purchase frozen meat, refrigerate it in the iced section until you cook it.

Cook well

As stated earlier, raw meat is prone to environmental contamination and could be a home to harmful bacteria. Similarly, cooking the meat partially does more harm than good because it does not kill some of these bacteria. Therefore, always cook seafood, meat, and poultry properly. I would recommend cooking your own meat instead of eating from your nearby food store.

Avoid using marinades

Marinades used on poultry, raw meat, and seafood usually have harmful bacteria and if you care so much about your unborn baby, don’t reuse it or never eat uncooked marinade which has been used to marinate the raw meat.

Stay away from fresh pre-stuffed poultry

Poultry is one of the best protein sources and if you really love it, go for frozen pre-stuffed poultry instead of fresh pre-stuffed poultry because when stuffing the meat could encourage bacterial growth.

Final thoughts

If you are expecting your first child, are looking forward to handling your joy with your hands. If you have already been there, you know how it feels to hold a healthy bouncing baby with your palms. Either way, it’s important to understand that the unborn baby gets the food from you and if you want him or her to be healthy, follow the above tips and you’ll be glad you came here for knowledge.

This article is for educative purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.

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