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Which meats can you eat when pregnant?

Which meats can you eat when pregnant?  Playing it safe

Summary

It’s important to know which meats you can and can’t eat during your pregnancy and you also need to know how best to prepare, store and cook meat, to ensure ultimate safety for you and your baby. You’ll find all of this information below.

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Everything you need to know about eating meat during pregnancy

When it comes to eating meat during pregnancy, it’s important to make sure that it is always well-cooked through, to ensure that any harmful bugs – including those that cause Toxoplasmosis – are killed off before you eat it. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite found in raw and undercooked meat, among other things. After preparing meat, you should always wash your hands, surfaces and utensils thoroughly, to avoid the spread of harmful bugs. Importantly, you must also always check to make sure the meat is cooked right through to the centre. For more information about specific meats, see the table below.

Can you eat ham when pregnant? The NHS advises that pre-packed meats such as ham and corned beef are safe to eat in pregnancy.1
Can you eat steak when pregnant? Wondering how to order steak when pregnant? You should not eat raw or undercooked steak. Make sure it’s cooked thoroughly so it’s steaming hot and there’s no trace of pink or blood.1
Can you eat salami  when pregnant? You should be cautious with all cold cured meats in pregnancy. Once cooked, salami is safe to eat. For cold, ready-to-eat salami you should freeze it for at least four days to kill off most parasites.1
Can you eat pate when pregnant? The NHS recommends that you should avoid all types of pâté, including vegetable pâtés1, as they can contain listeria – This bacteria can cause a rare infection called Listeriosis, which sadly, if left untreated, can lead to miscarriage.2
Can you eat Parma ham when pregnant? You should be cautious with all cold cured meats in pregnancy. Once cooked, Parma ham is safe to eat. For cold, ready-to-eat Parma ham you should freeze it for at least four days to kill off most parasites.1
Can you eat pepperoni when pregnant? You should be cautious with all cold cured meats in pregnancy. Once cooked, pepperoni is safe to eat. For cold, ready-to-eat pepperoni you should freeze it for at least four days to kill off most parasites.1
Can you eat duck when pregnant? Do not eat raw or undercooked duck. Make sure you cook it thoroughly so it’s steaming hot and there’s no trace of pink or blood.1
Can you eat lamb when pregnant? Do not eat raw or undercooked lamb. Make sure you cook it thoroughly so it’s steaming hot and there’s no trace of pink or blood.1
Can you eat pork when pregnant? Do not eat raw or undercooked pork. Make sure you cook it thoroughly so it’s steaming hot and there’s no trace of pink or blood.1

Next Steps


  • When dining out, remember to ask for meat to be well-cooked. 
  • Avoid uncooked cold cured meats, like those found on anti-pasti plates.
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat.
  • If you’re re-heating food in the microwave, make sure it’s steaming hot all the way through.
  • Read our nutrient-rich pregnancy recipes created by Lorraine Pascale and Aptaclub nutritionists.
  • Learn more about the power of nutrition in pregnancy at our Eating for 2 pages.

View references

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1. NUS UK. Foods to avoid in pregnancy. [Online]. 2018. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-pregnant/ [Accessed July 2018]

2. NHS UK. Listeriosis [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/listeriosis/ [Accessed July 2018]

Last reviewed: 28th June 2018
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