Can you eat Italian sausage when pregnant?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can you eat Italian sausage when pregnant?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can you eat Italian sausage when pregnant? 

Yes, you can eat Italian sausage when pregnant as long as it is well cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time and consumed in moderation. However, these sausages are high in fat and low in nutrients. So, you can substitute it easily with healthier options.

Moreover, consuming it in moderation for a few times during the pregnancy period is extremely safe, hence consult your doctor before eating it. Because in some cases processed meat and sausages can implement some complications during pregnancy. 

Furthermore, if you want to consume Italian sausages make sure to buy them fresh, well refrigerated, and of good quality, and once you get home refrigerated them immediately. Because these types of food can deteriorate easily at hot temperatures. 

What are the different types of sausages?

There are different types of sausages and here they are:

  • Fresh sausages: as its name means, it is made from raw ground and chopped pork or beef meat. Italian sausages are fresh sausages. These types are the riskiest if consumed during pregnancy because they are raw which allows bacteria to proliferate.
  • Pre-cooked sausages: are made from pre-cooked ground meat. These sausages are stuffed with already cooked meat or are cooked partially after stuffing. Mortadella and hot dogs are pre-cooked sausages.
  • Cured sausages: are sausages made from raw ground meat, then they are salted and kept to air dry for weeks to months. Pepperoni and bologna are types of cured sausages. This type is also known as dry or semi-dry sausages.
  • Smoked sausages: this is a type of cooked sausage. To make these sausages, ground meat is mixed with spices and then smoked to give them a special taste using a smoker or a smokehouse. Salami is smoked sausage.

What sausage is safe during pregnancy?

Fresh sausages are the safest to consume during pregnancy because during the preparation these sausages go under high temperatures to be well cooked. So, high temperatures kill harmful bacteria.

However, when you cook it you should consume it directly when it is still hot because leaving it to cool down for more than two hours at room temperature increases the chance of bacteria growing within the food and thus leading to food contamination and poisoning.

Furthermore, the internal temperature of the sausages depends on their type. For example, sausages made from pork, lamb, or beef need to reach a temperature of 160°F or 71°C. Whereas, sausages made from chicken and turkey need to reach 165°F or 73.8°C.

What sausage is not safe during pregnancy?

Uncooked sausages such as dry, semi-dry, and smoked sausages are not very safe to be consumed during pregnancy. Generally, these types of sausages are not cooked and are added to your sandwiches or dishes without any cooking process.

However, it is safe to consume pepperoni or salami added to your pizza because it goes in the oven for several minutes. So, high temperatures and the time needed to be cooked are enough to kill bacteria.

The undercooked sausages present a bacterial hazard, so if your food is contaminated you will end up having food poisoning. Most probably Listeria is the main cause of food-borne illness in sausages, raw meat, and unpasteurized milk and dairy products.

Moreover, precooked sausages might also lead to food poisoning if improperly handled. Additionally, some sausages might be contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii. This bacteria is life-threatening for the baby if ingested by the mother.

What are the side effects of consuming sausage while pregnant?

Consuming sausages while pregnant can present several side effects, and here they are:

  • Miscarriage or preterm birth: especially if the sausage is contaminated with Listeria.
  • Heartburn: pregnant women generally experience heartburn due to hormonal changes that affect the stomach sphincter. However, sausages are rich in spices that increase your chance of having heartburn.
  • High intake of sodium and fat: sausages are high in sodium and fat. Hence, pregnant women are at risk of developing pregnancy hypertension so they are advised to add salt to taste. Also, excessive fat intake leads to weight gain.

How to safely handle and cook sausages at home?

First of all, if you bought cooked or uncooked sausages, refrigerate them right away in the fridge, and put them on the lower shelf to avoid their leakage into cooked food and cross-contamination.

So, when you want to cook your sausages make sure that the internal temperature is high enough to kill bacteria effectively. Hence, the temperature and the time depend on the type of sausages and the meat.

Moreover, make sure to clean well after finishing cutting and cooking your sausages, and use different utensils to cut raw and cooked food. Additionally, keep an eye on their expiry or best before date. 

Because the shelf life of the sausages depends on whether they are cooked, cured, or fresh. Also, if they are stored in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Hence the shelf life of sausages in the freezer is longer than those stored in the fridge.

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In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can you eat Italian sausage when pregnant?”, and other queries related to this topic.