Hot sausage gives a bold taste to soups and sandwich recipes, and when prepared correctly, it's safe to eat while you're pregnant. Though it's safe to eat, hot sausage isn't your healthiest choice and it can contribute to some pretty uncomfortable complaints, too. Know proper handling and preparation methods to protect you and your unborn baby, and consider milder alternatives if the spiciness gets to you.
Back Away From the Fat and Sodium
A 100-gram serving of hot sausage, which is equal to about 3.5 ounces, contains 27.3 grams of fat, of which about 9.7 grams are saturated. Though you do need some fat in your diet while you're pregnant because it supports your baby's proper growth and development, too much isn't healthy. It can contribute to excess weight gain, so you need to limit your consumption. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of fat healthy for you. The same serving also has 1,207 milligrams of sodium, which is more than half of the 2,300 milligrams you should limit yourself to each day. You do get some iron, zinc and protein when you eat hot sausage, each of which are nutrients you need during pregnancy.
Caution: Listeria Ahead
Eating undercooked hot sausage is an even bigger danger than the nutritional drawbacks. Undercooked sausage can harbor a bacteria called listeria, which is found in water and soil -- animals can become contaminated when they graze or drink contaminated water. Cooking sausage to an internal temperature of 160 to 170 degrees F will kill listeria bacteria, according to the American Pregnancy Association, and this is essential because listeria can cause miscarriage, premature delivery and stillbirth.
More Bacteria That Love Sausage
Undercooked hot sausage might also harbor bacteria that causes toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis can cause low birth weight, premature delivery, jaundice, mental developmental problems and convulsions, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Salmonella is another possibility that comes with undercooked meat. It can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches and dehydration, reports the March of Dimes. Cooking hot sausage fully is the most effective way to destroy these types of bacteria and protect you and your unborn baby.
Hot sausage can cause heartburn. The spices that give hot sausage its zippy taste are to blame. Heartburn is particularly common during the third trimester of pregnancy as your growing baby and expanding uterus press on your stomach, causing acids to come back up into your esophagus. While heartburn won't harm your unborn baby, it can make you quite uncomfortable. If hot sausage tends to give you heartburn, eliminate it from your diet until after your baby is born. If you don't want to give it up, try drinking a glass of milk with it, recommends the American Pregnancy Association.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Sausage, Italian, Pork, Cooked
- American Pregnancy Association: Nutrients and Vitamins For Pregnancy
- American Pregnacy Association: Food to Avoid During Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Listeria and Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Toxoplasmosis
- March of Dimes: Salmonellosis
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Protect Your Unborn Baby: Important Food Safety Information to Help Avoid Miscarriage
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Heartburn