Deli Meat During Pregnancy - Can I Eat It And How Safe Is It? (2023)

Eating meat during pregnancy is a great way to increase your protein intake. But not every type of meat is ideal for you during this period.

If you like to eat deli meats before pregnancy, you might ask yourself: can you eat deli meats when you are pregnant?Although deli meats, like many other types of meat, are good sources of protein and iron, they are not recommended for pregnant women..

However, the Centers for Disease Control has advised that it should be heated to a temperature of 165°F before eating.


  • What are Deli Meats?
  • Can you eat deli meat while pregnant?
    • How to ensure your meat is cooked properly and safely
  • Meats to avoid during pregnancy
  • Are hot dogs and bacon safe during pregnancy?
  • common questions
  • Conclusion

What are Deli Meats?

Deli meats or cold meats are pre-cooked meats cut into thin slices and consumed hot or cold. They are usually eaten in sandwiches or on their own.

There are different types of cold meats:

  • canned meat
  • Bresaola
  • Cotechino
  • chicken breast
  • pork roll
  • Roast beef
  • roast lamb
  • Roast pork
  • mortadella
  • Peito de peru
  • spam and tree
  • Ham
  • meat roll
  • Dutch bread.

Most pre-cut meats have higher nitrates and sodium than cut-to-order meats because the exposed surface uses more preservatives.

Thus, processed meats increase the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer even more than red meat.

Studies in Europe and the United States show an association between precooked meat and death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Additionally, the World Cancer Research Fund's international guidelines on cancer prevention recommend avoiding all processed meats.

Nutritional information

per 100g
Calories 353% daily value
total fat 32 g49%
Colesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 1,293 mg53%
Potassium 202 mg5%
Total carbohydrates 2.3 g0%
13g protein26%
Vitamin C0%
Vitamin B610%
Vitamin D10%

Can you eat deli meat while pregnant?

Deli Meat During Pregnancy - Can I Eat It And How Safe Is It? (1)

Meat is an important source of iron and protein and is important for pregnant women for cell development in both mother and fetus.

Some meats are pre-cooked and cut into thin slices to make them tastier and easier to eat.

However, these pre-cooked meats can be a breeding ground for listeria, toxoplasma, salmonella and other disease-causing parasites that can cause food poisoning.

During pregnancy, your immune system is compromised and weaker, making it harder for your body to fight disease.

Since colds harbor these bacteria, they are apparently more dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Especially listeria is common and can cause listeriosis to inhibit the development of the baby.

If you plan to continue enjoying colds during pregnancy, here are some safety guidelines to keep you and your baby out of harm's way:

  • Healthy Storage Practices: Do not store raw meat together with cooked meat. Or serve cooked meat on a plate you previously put raw meat on, or at least not without washing it with dish soap and white vinegar.
  • Properly cook your meat.
  • Always heat cooked meat before eating.
  • Avoid undercooked meat, poultry or fish during pregnancy.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers or new purchases within 2 hours or 1 hour for meats above 30°C.

Eating undercooked or precooked meat while pregnant exposes you to the following bacteria and parasites:


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that causes listeriosis, an illness characterized by fever, confusion, loss of balance, headache, muscle aches and neck stiffness.

Many people with a healthy immune system may not get sick after eating food contaminated with this bacteria.

Still, pregnant women (healthy or otherwise) are more likely to get sick after contracting listeriosis which can be transmitted to the fetus.

Dangers of listeriosis include stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and in extreme cases, bacteremia and meningitis.


This parasite causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, long-term neurological damage, or worse.

Most healthy people may not know when they have toxoplasmosis because their bodies gradually fight it, but it has obvious effects in pregnant women and pregnancy.


Although this bacteria has milder symptoms, high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and weakness can result in miscarriage or premature abortion.

How to ensure your meat is cooked properly and safely

You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of your meat, but by mere observation you should know when meat is not cooked properly.

  • Cook beef, pork, lamb, veal and seafood to 145°F or higher.
  • Cook poultry at 165°F or above.
  • Heat leftovers to 165°F or higher before eating.
  • It's best to cook the meat on the stovetop to ensure it's cooked evenly, but if you decide to use a microwave, cover the meat and turn it twice or more to cook evenly.

Meats to avoid during pregnancy

It's best to avoid deli meats or lunch meats when pregnant, unless you've heated them to at least 165°F before serving, to avoid risks of food poisoning that can lead to infant mortality or other pregnancy complications.

But not just for cold ones. There are other types of meats to avoid during pregnancy.

  • smoked meat
  • Deli (turkey, chicken, roast beef, ham, mortadella)
  • dry sausages

When preserving any meat, you can slow the growth of bacteria in it by keeping your fridge at 40°F or colder. But that doesn't mean you should throw caution to the wind and eat the meat without heating it up.

If you're craving a delicious meal, try these options:

  • Warm up deli meat before putting it on your sandwich.
  • Try vegan sandwiches by substituting cheese or vegetables for meats.

Are hot dogs and bacon safe during pregnancy?

While hot dogs and bacon aren't cold cuts, they can also harbor listeria and other pathogens that cause food poisoning.

Additionally, processed meats are preserved with nitrates and nitrites, which can increase the risk of cancer.

In pregnant women, frequently eating foods containing nitrates increases the risk of premature birth, especially if the woman takes nitrates.

Hot dogs and bacon are high in sodium and saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation.

Always preheat all hot dogs and bacon to 165°F and above before eating, and do not leave open bacon out of the refrigerator.

Read too: Foods to avoid during pregnancy

common questions

Can you eat sliced ​​cold cheeses that are hard varieties?

It's best to avoid soft cheeses (such as queso fresco, queso blanco, pan, brie, camembert, feta, or feta cheese) unless they're made with pasteurized milk.

It is safest to reheat deli cheese, whether or not there is an outbreak going on, for deli cheeses.

Whenever possible, heat [cold cuts and cheeses] before eating them.

What other steps can new mothers take to protect themselves from listeria?

There is onefood listwith general recommendations for pregnant women, not just in outbreak situations.

In these recommendations, they tell you the safest way to eat specific items like soft cheeses, raw sprouts, undercooked eggs, and the like, and tell you how to consume and store them safely.

you can also lookhow to clean your fridgeif you have contaminated food. In general, it's a good idea to clean up between using raw meats and ready-to-eat foods when cooking with raw meats.

Pregnant women should also pay attention to food recalls and outbreak warnings.

What should pregnant women do if they are exposed to listeria?

Look out for symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or muscle aches if you think you've been exposed to a recalled or contaminated product.

If anything seems a little off about your pregnancy or how you're feeling, I recommend calling your doctor and telling him or her that you may have consumed a product that could contain listeria as soon as possible.


Deli Meats are common protein choices in most American restaurants and grocery stores and continue to be a go-to choice for people too lazy to cook meat from scratch.

You may be wondering: can you eat cold cuts while pregnant while you can safely eat cold meats as a source of protein, the Centers for Disease Control advises that pregnant women should avoid deli meats during pregnancy.

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