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Is Kielbasa OK to Eat While Pregnant?

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Is Kielbasa OK to Eat While Pregnant?
Sliced kielbasa on a wooden table. Photo Credit ffolas/iStock/Getty Images

When you're pregnant, you have to be particularly careful about what you eat. Eating the wrong thing could lead to a foodborne illness, which could cause adverse effects for the baby, and a high-fat or high-sodium diet could increase your child's risk for future health complications. However, kielbasa can be enjoyed in moderation as long as you cook it to the proper temperature before eating it and follow a healthy diet.

Foodborne Illness Risk

Processed meats, like kielbasa, and luncheon meats can sometimes be contaminated with a bacteria called listeria, which can cause listeriosis. During pregnancy, listeriosis can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or health problems in your baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, cooking your kielbasa until it is steaming, or an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, will kill off the bacteria so you can enjoy a serving of kielbasa.

High-Sodium Diet Risks

You'll need to watch your sodium intake during pregnancy, as consuming too much sodium could increase your risk for high blood pressure, which may make you more likely to deliver prematurely or have a baby with a low birth weight, according to MedlinePlus. Consuming too much sodium during pregnancy may also lead to changes in the development of your baby's kidney that make her more likely to develop high blood pressure later in life, according to a study published in the "American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology" in August 2011. Each 2-ounce serving of kielbasa provides 672 milligrams of sodium, or 28 percent of the recommended daily limit for sodium.

High-Fat Diet Risks

Eating too many fatty foods can lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy. Being overweight increases your risk for preterm delivery, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and a cesarean delivery. A high-fat intake may also make it more likely your child will develop diabetes or fatty liver later in life, according to preliminary research published in the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry" in April 2012. Each 2-ounce serving of kielbasa provides almost 10 grams of fat, including 3.5 grams of saturated fat, which is 15 percent of the daily value for fat and 17 percent of the DV for saturated fat for those following a 2,000-calorie diet.

Including Kielbasa in a Pregnancy Diet

Although kielbasa is high in sodium and fat, you don't have to avoid it altogether during pregnancy. It is also a good source of vitamin C, providing 14 percent of the DV for this essential nutrient, which acts as an antioxidant to limit damage from harmful free radicals. Just cook your kielbasa thoroughly, limit yourself to an occasional single 2-ounce serving and watch your intake of other foods that are high in fat or sodium to make sure you stay within the recommended limits for the day, getting no more than 35 percent of your calories from fat and no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

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