Deli Meat during Pregnancy: Why It Should Be Avoided

Deli meats contain a bacteria called listeria, which can cause listeriosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeriosis is a severe condition or infection caused by listeria monocytogenes. 

Research shows that over 1,600 people get seriously infected with listeriosis every year in the United States. Healthy adults and children rarely get infected with this condition. 

Pregnant women have 20 times higher chances of getting infected with listeriosis, and studies show that about 17% of listeriosis cases occur during pregnancy. The most common reason people get listeriosis is eating contaminated food, such as deli meat, hot dogs, and cold cuts. 

Deli Meat during Pregnancy 

Research studies highlight that all types of Deli meats are highly prone to Listeria Monocytogenes, a microorganism that causes listeriosis.

Bacteria that cause listeriosis can transmit into the birth canal, causing complications for the fetus.

Listeria monocytogenes can survive at cold temperatures, meaning if you store deli meat in the refrigerator, it could still cause issues. Aside from deli meats, listeria monocytogenes are present in hot dogs, unpasteurized milk, and cheese. I’m sure you’ve seen these foods on many “what not to eat while pregnant” lists!

Listeriosis Symptoms during Pregnancy 

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection characterized by flu, cold, chills, fevers, muscle pain, upset stomach, and diarrhea. An expectant mother may also experience headaches, a stiff neck, loss of balance, poor range of motion, and confusion. 

Studies show that listeriosis symptoms may not appear immediately, sometimes taking as long as two months to begin. Although many pregnant women do not feel sick, the infection passes to the developing fetus and causes complications. 

Moreover, your health provider will perform a blood test to determine if you have this condition. If the blood test is positive for the bacteria, your doctor will give antibiotics, such as penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, piperacillin, etc. The purpose is to prevent the developing fetus from getting infected with listeria. 

Final Words 

Deli Meat may be an ideal food choice for many people, but it poses many risks for pregnant women and their growing baby. Deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs, and other processed meat should be avoided during pregnancy. 


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