Pregnancy comes with its share of both joys and fears for every mother. You try to ensure that you do everything right to protect your unborn. This also means that you need to be ready to compromise on the taste buds, particularly when it may be a risk for the baby.
One of the biggest questions for expectant mothers who love meat, seafood and poultry is – whether meat consumption is safe for the unborn baby?
Is It Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?
The protein from meats, seafood and poultry is a very vital nutrient during pregnancy. It aids in the growth of your baby and is also very important when you are trying to conceive. The thumb rule to remember is that you need to avoid all types of under cooked or raw meat. Raw or under cooked meat, as well as ground meat, is highly susceptible to contamination from the environment. It can be home to harmful bacteria which make it unsafe for consumption whether you are pregnant or not.
Risks Of Consuming Meat During Pregnancy:
Some common risks associated with consumption of meat are:
1. Gestational Diabetes:
Women who consume excess of red meat during pregnancy stand a risk of developing Gestational diabetes.
- This is a condition marked by high blood sugar levels.
- Although gestational diabetes is common but if not treated it may result in baby being overweight
- The mother is also at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Deli meat is highly prone to bacteria, even when kept cold. So cold meat during pregnancy should also be avoided.
• These bacteria could cause an infection called Listeriosis.
• This can lead to gastrointestinal illness, a blood infection and even meningitis.
• Pregnant women are at a 20% higher risk of developing Listeriosis.
One of the biggest risks associated with undercooked or raw meat, particularly undercooked pork, lamb or venison is developing a toxoplasmosis infection.
- Pregnant women are more likely to have serious illness due to toxoplasmosis
- Infection can also pass on to the unborn baby if mother becomes infected for the first time during, or just before, pregnancy.
4. Food Poisoning:
Smoked fish is safe and recommended to be had during pregnancy.
- Non-smoked fish, shark and raw shellfish should be completely avoided during pregnancy.
- These may cause food poisoning.
Healthy Eating Checklist:
As a mom-to-be you have a greater responsibility of not just protecting yourself but also your little one. Here is a checklist you should follow to make sure you only get the right nutrients from your food and not any health risks or infections:
1. Always Clean:
Always wash your hands, chopping surface, dishes, utensils and kitchen tops with soap before and after handling poultry, raw meat and seafood. Keep a sanitizer handy and use it after every wash.
2. Separate Meat From Other Foods:
Mixing and improper handling of raw meat, poultry and seafood can lead to cross contamination of food. Always separate meat items from your regular food items including juices, fruits and vegetables.
3. Keep Chilled:
Always refrigerate all meats and poultry. If you buy frozen meat from the grocery make sure you keep refrigerated in the iced section, till you cook it.
4. Cook Well:
As mentioned above, raw meat is certainly a big ‘NO’ for would be moms and for those trying to conceive. Always cook meat, seafood and poultry and ground meat before consumption.
5. Do Not Reuse Marinades:
Marinades used on raw meat, poultry and seafood can have harmful bacteria and should not be reused. Also, avoid eating uncooked marinade used to marinate raw meat.
6. Avoid Fresh Pre-Stuffed Poultry:
When opting for pre-stuffed poultry, it is only safe to opt for frozen pre stuffed poultry. Avoid fresh pre-stuffed poultry as the raw meat juices mixed with the stuffing can cause bacterial growth.
Keeping these simple tips in mind will ensure that both you and your unborn baby are safe and healthy.