Deli meat, also known as cold cuts, lunch meat, or sandwich meat, is a common item both in grocery stores and food chains. However, during pregnancy, you would need to take the pros and cons of deli meat into consideration, as the risks associated with it may not be a myth.
Can you eat deli meat while pregnant?
Pre-packaged or cured deli meat (bologna, ham, roast beef, salami, turkey, prosciutto) is unsafe to eat during pregnancy.
Ready-to-eat deli items bought directly from the counter may be contaminated with the bacteria listeria, responsible for the infection listeriosis, which might increase the risks of miscarriage (in the first trimester), low birth weight, preterm delivery, infections in the baby (in the third trimester), or even stillbirth. Listeriosis affects approximately 2,500 Americans annually, with pregnant women making up for 30% of these numbers, as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC further shows expectant mothers to be 20 times more susceptible to this disease than healthy adults, as your immune system becomes weak once you conceive.
Deli meat fresh from the counter may even contain nitrates, which may have carcinogenic properties that could be dangerous for the mother and baby.
However, eating a deli sandwich once or twice will probably not cause any harm; just make sure to avoid them in the future. But, make sure to contact your doctor if you feel sick or experience discomfort after eating the meat.
Can you eat cooked deli meat during pregnancy?
If you are craving a deli item, you may consider heating it to a temperature of 165°F or cooking it until it is steaming hot, as the bacteria only gets killed at such a high range. If using a microwave, ensure that the meat is in there for at least as long as needed for the heat to get distributed evenly to make it piping hot. Refrigerating the meat at a temperature of 40°F may only slow the bacterial growth but not kill it entirely.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.