Eating Deli Meats During Your Pregnancy: Is it Safe?
Deli meats refers to cooked meats that have been sliced and prepared for sandwich and other light dining options. These could easily be called sandwich meat, lunch meat, cold cuts, or sliced meats. Deli meats can be classified as whole cuts, sectioned or formed meats, or processed meats. All deli meats will fall into one of these three categories.
- Whole cut – whole cuts of meat that have been cooked and then sliced
- Sectioned – restructured meats from chunks or pieces bonded to create a single piece
- Processed – similar to sectioned, but may include meat by-products
Deli meats are one of the most common food items across the country. Deli meats are found in food chains, grocery stores, and local delis. Because deli meats are so common, many people are surprised to discover there is a negative relationship with pregnancy. Deli meats and pregnancy concerns often have people asking what is wrong with lunch meat during pregnancy?
Should You Eat Deli Meat While Pregnant?
More than likely you have heard someone share their advice about not eating deli meats while pregnant. You have probably heard others share personal stories about eating deli meats and everything turning out fine.
The good news is that the probability of experiencing a problem from deli meats is unlikely. Approximately 2,500 individuals will become infected with Listeria annually. This means it is extremely rare. However the problem for pregnant women is they are more susceptible to get it and their developing babies are more vulnerable to serious complications and even death.
The federal government has taken huge steps in helping to prevent the spread, or exposure, to Listeria. Listeria is killed by pasteurization and cooking. Cold cuts are now sprayed with a food additive that helps prevent Listeria before packaging.
You don’t need to panic if you are pregnant, have been eating deli meats and discovered you shouldn’t have. The probabilities are in your favor that nothing has happened. When it comes to deli meats it is important you know the likelihood of being exposed to Listeria is low. On the flip side, you need to know that if your developing baby is exposed to Listeria it can be devastating.
Wait Until After Your Pregnancy
Some people love their lunch meat sandwiches. Others opt for them because of ease or economics, while some opt for something more nutritional than a fast food burger. The safest course of action to protect your baby is to avoid deli meats until after pregnancy.
Knowing that the likelihood is doubtful, you may be opting to risk it. If you plan to ignore the recommendation to avoid deli meats, you increase the odds in your favor by recooking the sandwich meats. This probably seems crazy to you. More than likely everything will be fine.
It is just better to be safe than sorry. Learn More about foods to avoid during your pregnancy.
Last updated: 08/2015