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I’m Pregnant and I Ate Deli Meat: What You Need to Know

If you’ve recently exclaimed, “I’m pregnant and ate deli meat!” and are now worried, you’re not alone. It’s common for expectant mothers to have concerns about certain foods during pregnancy. This post aims to demystify the risks and considerations around consuming deli meats during pregnancy.

Deli Meats and Pregnancy: What’s the Concern?

Deli meats, also known as cold cuts or lunch meats, are sometimes a cause for concern during pregnancy due to the potential risk of a bacterial infection known as listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes, the bacteria responsible for this infection, can survive and multiply at refrigeration temperatures, which makes deli meats a potential risk.

What If I’ve Already Eaten Deli Meat?

If you’re pregnant and have eaten deli meat, don’t panic. The chances of developing listeriosis are relatively low. If you don’t exhibit any symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, or flu-like symptoms, there’s likely no cause for concern. However, if you do experience these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

How Can I Safely Consume Deli Meat During Pregnancy?

If you’re craving deli meats, you can still enjoy them safely by heating them to an internal temperature of 165°F (or until steaming hot) to kill any potential bacteria.

Importance of a Balanced Diet During Pregnancy

While navigating the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy eating, it’s essential to remember that a balanced, varied diet plays a crucial role in supporting your health and your baby’s development.

What Happens if I Accidentally Eat Deli Meat While Pregnant?

If you’ve accidentally eaten deli meat while pregnant, it’s important not to panic. While there’s a risk of Listeria contamination, it’s relatively low. If you do not experience any symptoms of infection (fever, muscle aches, nausea, etc.) within a few days, there’s no cause for concern. However, if you do, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

How Common is Listeria and What Are the Risks?

Listeria is a bacteria that can cause a serious infection known as listeriosis, which can be harmful to both the mother and the fetus. Although it’s rare, pregnant women are more susceptible to this infection. The consequences can range from mild illness to miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe infection in the newborn.

What to Do if Pregnant and Exposed to Listeria

If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to Listeria, watch out for symptoms like fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea or diarrhea. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.

How to Test for Listeria and Its Treatment

A blood test is generally used to diagnose Listeria. If you’re diagnosed, you will likely be given antibiotics to treat the infection.

Eating Specific Deli Meats and Other Foods While Pregnant

Can I Eat Deli Meat from Subway While Pregnant?

The deli meat from Subway or any other restaurant poses the same risks as those bought from a supermarket. It’s always best to heat the meat until it’s steaming to kill any potential bacteria.

Can a Pregnant Lady Eat Pepperoni Pizza or Hot Dogs?

Pepperoni, like other cured meats, is generally safe to eat during pregnancy if it’s cooked, such as on a pizza. Similarly, hot dogs are safe to eat as long as they are thoroughly heated.

Can I Eat Pizza and Bacon While Pregnant?

Yes, you can eat pizza during pregnancy, as long as any meat toppings are thoroughly cooked. The same goes for bacon—it should be well-cooked to kill any bacteria.

Can I Eat Deli Cheese While Pregnant?

Deli cheeses, unless they’re soft or unpasteurized, are generally safe to eat during pregnancy. Avoid cheeses like Brie, feta, and blue cheese unless they’re clearly labeled as made from pasteurized milk.

Making Deli Meat Safe for Pregnancy

How to Cook Deli Meat to Prevent Listeria

If you crave deli meat during pregnancy, it’s best to heat it until it’s steaming to kill any potential Listeria bacteria. Microwaving is a quick and easy way to do this.

How Long to Heat Deli Meat When Pregnant

You should heat deli meat until it’s steaming or until it has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to effectively kill Listeria.

Debunking Deli Meat Pregnancy Myths

Despite the widespread caution, it’s a myth that all deli meat is inherently dangerous during pregnancy. The real concern is the potential for Listeria contamination, which can be mitigated by thoroughly heating the meat before eating.

What Not to Eat to Avoid Listeria

To avoid Listeria, it’s recommended to avoid certain foods during pregnancy, such as unpasteurized milk and dairy products, raw or undercooked meat and seafood, and raw sprouts.

Remember, the risk of Listeria infection from deli meats is low but not zero. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your diet during pregnancy.

How Can Help

At, we understand that concerns like “I’m pregnant and ate deli meat” can lead to stress, potentially disrupting your sleep. Quality sleep is crucial for your health and your baby’s development. Our mission is to provide resources and tips to promote healthy sleep habits for you and your baby.

We know that peace of mind plays a significant role in quality sleep. By learning more about your dietary concerns during pregnancy, you’re taking steps towards reducing anxiety and promoting better rest. Remember, occasional dietary slip-ups happen, and chances are you and your baby are perfectly fine. However, if you’re worried or have symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.

In the journey of motherhood, quality sleep and a worry-free mind are invaluable. Let be your companion, providing sleep solutions and advice for you and your growing family.