Can you eat fully cooked ham when pregnant

In this article we are going to answer the question if you can fully eat cooked ham when pregnant? Go ahead and keep reading if you want to know more about this and if you want to get informed. 

Can you eat fully cooked ham when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat fully cooked ham when pregnant. It is so important to eat a healthy diet while pregnant. A healthy pregnancy relies mainly on maintaining a healthy diet and including all the food groups to have all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we and the baby needs.

You can eat cooked ham when pregnant but it’s very important to always consume it cooked and not raw.

Pregnant women should be careful to eat undercooked meat or raw meat for various reasons. The most important it’s that it can have harmful bacteria or fungus that can be very dangerous for the baby and the mom. 

According to the NHS, ham is perfectly safe to eat when pregnant as long as it is prepacked and fully cooked.

Should I cook my ham before eating it when pregnant?

Yes, the recommendation it’s that you should cook your ham before you eat it when pregnant. You should cook it until it’s steaming because it’s the only way listeria, toxoplasma, and salmonella will be killed and you’ll be safe to eat your ham. 

Why is it dangerous to eat undercooked ham when pregnant?

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, you should avoid eating undercooked ham or raw ham when pregnant. The three main diseases you can contract if you eat uncooked ham are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. 

Listeria monocytogenes are the main bacteria that can be found in undercooked ham. It causes listeriosis. If you let the bacteria go too far, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other health problems. 

According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 2,5000 people will get infected with listeria every year. It means that it’s very rare to get infected but pregnant women are in a more delicate condition and need to be a little more careful because it could lead to fatal health conditions. 

Toxoplasma Gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. For a normal, healthy person, it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but for pregnant women, it’s too risky, it can cause serious health problems.  One important thing to add is that once you contract toxoplasmosis you can’t contract it again. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be very dangerous in pregnant women. It also causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. One important thing about salmonella is that it can cause bacteremia, a condition where there is bacteria in the blood and can be fatal to pregnant women. 

So why are pregnant women more likely to get infected? Because their immune system is compromised and does not work as well as for a healthy person. Also, remember that while the baby is not fully developed, the baby it’s at risk too. 

How are listeria, toxoplasma, and salmonella killed?

Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma Gondii, and salmonella are killed by pasteurization and cooking. This is because of the heat. 

You need to cook up to 145 degrees for whole meats plus a 3-minute stand time for safety. According to the USDA, “3-minute stand for safety refers to the time that the product remains at the final temperature after it has been removed from the oven, grill, or stove. During the 3 minutes after it has been removed, its temperature remains constant and continues to rise, to kill pathogens’’

Also, it’s important to know that listeria grows at refrigerator temperature (approx 2-4 degrees) and there can be contamination from one food to another. 

What are the main symptoms of food poisoning? 

Symptoms of food poisoning include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills and fevers
  • Muscle pain
  • In pregnant women it may cause flu-like symptoms with fever and chills 

Follow this link if you need more information on food poisoning in pregnant women. 

How nutritious is ham?

A package of 100 grams:



In this brief article we answered the question if you can eat fully cooked ham when pregnant. We also talked about side effects if you don’t cook your ham fully, symptoms of food poisoning and how nutritious is ham for pregnant women. 

If you have any questions, please let me know! 



What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.