Can you eat kielbasa when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat Kielbasa when pregnant, what is kielbasa, whether kielbasa is healthy to eat when pregnant, what is the risk of eating kielbasa when pregnant, and how can you prepare kielbasa safely. 

Can you eat Kielbasa when pregnant?

Kielbasa can be eaten when pregnant only if it is cooked thoroughly up to 160 F or 70 C. If it has been cooked, you need to reheat it to prevent food poisoning. According to some organizations, Kielbasa, or polish sausage, is safe to eat in moderation only if well cooked. 

Processed meats like kielbasa are not recommended for pregnant women who have high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or water retention problems. 

What is Kielbasa?

Kielbasa is a polish word used for any type of meat sausage. In the USA, the word typically refers to a coarse, u-shaped smoked sausage of any type of meat. It typically resembles the Wiejska sausage in British English. 

Kielbasa does not refer to a type of sausage, it is used to refer to all sausages. 

Polish kielbasa or polish sausage may be smoked, fresh, or cured and it can be made with pork, veal, turkey, or any variety of meat. They also have different flavors that might include garlic, juniper, and marjoram.

In Polish cuisine, kielbasa can be boiled, baked, grilled, or cooked in any way you want. Each region of Poland has its own signature kielbasa. Some of the most popular are

White kielbasa

Biala Kielbasa is made from pork shoulder and sometimes from beef and veal. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and marjoram. 

Gypsy kielbasa

Kielbasa Cyganska is made with seasoned pork, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Hunter’s kielbasa

Kabanosy is made from pork meat, salt, pepper, garlic, allspice, and sometimes caraway. It is smoked and dried. 

Country kielbasa

Kielbasa Krajina is a double-smoked sausage made with pieces of pork instead of ground pork. 

Beer Kielbasa

Kielbasa Zywiecka comes from the region where beer is made in Poland. It is made with diced pork and beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. It is hardwood-smoked. 

Is a Kielbasa healthy to eat when pregnant?

Kielbasa is not considered healthy. About 80% of the calories come from unhealthy saturated fat depending on the ingredients they are made of. Eating processed meats like kielbasa has been linked to an increase in colon cancer and heart disease because they contain nitrites and nitrates. 

Usually, polish sausage or kielbasa contains high amounts of sodium and depending on the recipe high amounts of calories. 

What is the risk of Kielbasa when pregnant?

If you eat kielbasa that has not been cooked fully or you didn’t reheat it after being cooked, there is a risk of food poisoning. According to the FDA, kielbasa or sausage can be contaminated with listeria after being processed and packaged at the plant. You need to reheat and cook it always. 

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, kielbasa is a risk. The three main diseases you can contract if you eat uncooked kielbasa are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. 

Listeria monocytogenes are the main bacteria that can be found in undercooked or raw kielbasa. 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. 

Symptoms include

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

How can I prepare a kielbasa that is safe to eat?

To be safe you need to heat your kielbasa to at least 160 F, you can use a thermometer or wait until it is steaming hot. You can use

  • Oven: bake your kielbasa for about 10 minutes at over 160 F. 
  • Boil: boil for about 2 to 3 minutes until is steaming hot
  • Use a microwave: it is not the best option but heat the kielbasa for about a minute or two. Use a thermometer to be sure it is over 160 F  inside. 
  • Use a grill: just make sure that is over 160 F inside. 

Follow this link for some recipes to eat kielbasa safely.

Other FAQs about Sausages that you may be interested in.

Can you eat kabana when pregnant?

Can you cook hotdogs in the air fryer?

Can you cook brats in the air fryer?

Can you cook breakfast sausage in the oven?


This article answered can you eat Kielbasa when pregnant, what is kielbasa, whether kielbasa is healthy to eat when pregnant, what is the risk of eating kielbasa when pregnant, and how can you prepare kielbasa safely.