Last Updated on by Eat Better Move More
Can I Eat Pork While Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a magical time in a woman’s life, characterized by many changes in the body. Nonetheless, this moment is also marked as a period with exceptional uncertainties, especially for first-time moms.
It is normal to think about what to eat, what to avoid, and many other questions that are based on the premise of protecting the developing baby.
When it comes to food, pork is a well-known type of meat worldwide as it is part of a vast list of recipes.
Pork is also a great source of protein and it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, which are all extremely important nutrients for pregnant women
However, is pork safe for pregnant women, have you ever wondered “Can I eat pork while pregnant?
These are all normal questions for pregnant women, so keep on reading to discover the answer to this important question and to understand if it is safe or not to eat pork while pregnant.
Can I Eat Pork While Pregnant? Will It Be Safe?
The short answer is yes, it is safe to eat pork during pregnancy, however, it is extremely important to take some caveats into consideration.
Here is the truth about pork, it is the most consumed meat worldwide, in addition, there are many pork products in the market, some of the most common are bacon, ham, and sausage.
In terms of its nutrition facts, pork is rich in protein, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium as well as fat, although there are some lean pork cuts such as pork tenderloin and chop which are considered as lean as skinless chicken breast.
To sum up, pork is an excellent meat, especially the leaner cuts, to include in a pregnant woman’s diet, however, as with any other type of meat, caution should be exercised in order to consume pork safely.
Pregnancy Pork Temperature
The most important measure is regarding the cooking temperature. Needless to say, pregnant women can only consume thoroughly cooked pork.
The temperature must reach 75°C or 165°F in the meat’s interior, the best option -if you can- is buying a cooking thermometer so you can be sure that the meat reaches the recommended temperature.
Also, this rule applies to pork products that are commonly served cold such as pork pie and deli pork. Moreover, pregnant women should only consume pork meat while hot.
Another important measure to avoid cross-contamination between foods is to thoroughly wash your hands after handling uncooked meat as well as washing any kitchen appliance that came into contact with the meat.
Dangers of Eating Uncooked Pork While Pregnant
The reason why it is some important to follow the above-mentioned measures is that women have a weaker immune system, which might expose them to a higher risk of contracting some type of foodborne illness.
Furthermore, pork meat can foster a large variety of bacteria that can cause serious and deadly diseases.
Trichinosis is one of the concerns which stems from eating uncooked pork meat, this disease is caused by a parasite called trichinella larvae.
Symptoms usually start between two to eight weeks after ingesting the contaminated meat and these can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Besides trichinella, pork meat can also be infected with Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
Foodborne illness during pregnancy can be very dangerous to both the mother and the developing baby, it might cause miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth.
That said, it is exceptionally important to be cautious during this period and only consume food at home or in places where you can be sure that all of these food safety measures were in place.
Can I Eat Bacon While Pregnant?
By now, I know that pork meat is safe as long as you apply food safety measures to prevent bacteria contamination, now what about bacon?
Bacon is predominantly made from the pork belly of young pigs. Besides, unless specified in the package, bacon is raw and therefore must be cooked in order to be consumed. As with the pork meat, you should make sure that the bacon reaches a temperature of 75°C or 165°F.
Also, it is important to have separate cutting boards and wash your hands and any other kitchen utensils that touched the raw bacon to avoid cross-contamination.
The other major concern regarding eating bacon while pregnant is related to its nitrate content. Nitrates and nitrites are vastly used by the food industry to preserve and extend the life of meat products as well as to enhance their red-ish color.
Nitrates and nitrites can either occur naturally in the body or be ingested through foods, especially processed meat products such as bacon.
The problem lies in the fact that nitrites, which are the most frequently used additives, can combine with other compounds and convert into nitrosamines when exposed to high temperatures.
Nitrosamines can be harmful to the body, especially for pregnant women, some studies have linked nitrosamines with toxicity (if consumed in large amount) and several types of cancer including gastric and esophageal.
What Not to Eat When Pregnant?
This is a really common question as it is known that pregnant women should avoid certain foods. That said, below you will find a list of foods you should avoid consuming if you are pregnant and want to be extra safe:
- Any type of raw or uncooked meat
- Any type of unpasteurized dairy product
- Raw or undercooked eggs
- High content mercury fish (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish)
- Liver and liver products
- Caffeine (no more than 200mg a day)
- High dose multivitamin supplement
- Not washed fruits or vegetables
- All types of pâte
Can I Eat Pork While Pregnant Conclusion
Pork is the most consumed meat worldwide and part of many traditional recipes. If you are pregnant you have probably asked yourself Can I eat pork while pregnant? and the answer to this question is yes!
Nonetheless, important measures should be in place so that you can safely consume pork meat.
The most important measure is to check the meat temperature, it should reach 75°C or 165°F and you should only consume it while hot.
Similarly, it is important to pay attention and avoid any type of cross-contamination, wash your hands and kitchen appliances after handling raw meat. Taking these measures into account you can mitigate the chances of foodborne illness which can be dangerous for pregnant women.