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Can I Eat Pork While Pregnant?

by
author image Amy Liddell
Amy Liddell has been writing on health and medicine since 2004. She is also a biomedical scientist and studies human cancer. Her articles have appeared in scientific journals, medical textbooks and on health-related consumer websites. Liddell holds a Doctor of Philosophy in biological and biomedical sciences from Harvard University.
Can I Eat Pork While Pregnant?
Pork is a good source of protein for pregnant women. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Pork can provides an excellent source of lean protein. Pregnant women can safely enjoy pork provided that the meat is not undercooked. During pregnancy, women are more likely to contract foodborne parasites and illnesses. Follow safe food handling and storage practices for all types of meat.

Protein

During pregnancy, your body requires additional protein to support fetal growth and development as well as the growth of the placenta and your increased blood supply. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women receive 75 to 100 g of protein daily. A 3-ounce serving of pork provides about one-third of your daily protein needs.

Trichinosis

Trichinosis is a food-borne illness caused by the parasite, Trichinella spiralis. You can prevent trichinosis by avoiding undercooked pork. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that all pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F. This applies to ground pork as well as whole cuts and roasts. Store pork in the refrigerator at temperatures below 40 °F. Wash your hands and all surfaces and kitchen utensils well after handling raw pork.

Listeria

Listeriosis is a dangerous infection caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Pregnant women account for one-third of listeria infections each year, and the effects may have serious and even life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby. Avoid eating hot dogs or deli meats that have not been reheated to steaming hot.

Other Considerations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that cases of food-borne parasites are more common in wild game, such as wild boar, than in meat that passes through the U.S. food supply. Pregnant women should also use caution when traveling and avoid undercooked pork or pork that hasn't been stored properly.

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