Can you eat meat when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer: can you eat meat when pregnant, what is meat, is it healthy to eat meat when pregnant, what are the benefits of eating meat when pregnant, and what is the risk of eating meat when pregnant and how can you add meat to your diet when pregnant. 

Can you eat meat when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat meat when you are pregnant. Meat is an important source of protein and iron for pregnant women. Meat has to be properly cooked or handled to prevent food poisoning in pregnant women. 

Meat and poultry can be at a high risk of food-borne illnesses because they harbor parasites and bacteria, especially listeria, toxoplasma, and salmonella. 

What is defined as meat?

Meat is defined as animal flesh that is eaten as food by humans. Meat is mainly composed of water, protein, and fat. It is edible raw but the recommendation is to eat it cooked. Meat refers to the skeletal muscle and flesh of pigs, cattle, sheep, cows, lambs, kangaroos, and goats. 

The meat ofIs called
SheepLamb or mutton
Domesticated birdsPoultry
Deer Venison

It can be seasoned or processed in a variety of ways. Unprocessed and raw meats can spoil within hours or days resulting in food poisoning if eaten. 

Meat is a very important part of the food industry and economy. According to an analysis of FAO, overall meat consumption has decreased since 1990 because of more popular beliefs like vegan, vegetarian, environmental population, and health concerns that are associated with meat production and consumption. 

Is it healthy to eat meat when pregnant?

Meat is healthy food to eat when pregnant. It is one of the best sources of protein and iron. Meat is of the few proteins that contain all essential amino acids and no-heme iron, which is better absorbed by the human body. 

The nutritional content of meat depends on the animal it comes from. Here is a list of the different nutrition content depending on the source of the meat

SourcePer 110 gramsCaloriesProteinCarbohydratesFat
Fish140 calories25 grams0 grams5 grams
Chicken breast160 calories28 grams0 grams7 grams
Lamb250 calories30 grams0 grams14 grams
Beef steak (beef top round)210 calories36 grams0 grams7 grams
Beef steak (T-bone)450 calories25 grams0 grams35 grams
Pork Loin242 calories14 grams0 grams30 grams

All meat, it doesn’t matter the source, are high in protein with all the essential amino acids and are a good source of zinc, vitamin b12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, vitamin b6, choline, riboflavin, and iron. 

What is the risk of eating meat when pregnant?

The main risk of eating meat when pregnant is when meat is not fully cooked or not handled correctly, it can harbor bacteria and parasites. Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, you should avoid eating undercooked meats when pregnant. 

The three main diseases you can contract if you eat uncooked meat are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. 


Listeria Monocytogenes is the main bacteria that can be found in undercooked meat. 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. 

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get seriously ill.


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. 


Is a bacteria that can be very dangerous in pregnant women. It also causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. 

Symptoms appear between one hour to 6 hours after you have eaten the contaminated food, they are usually mild. 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 of food poisoning include

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

How can you add meat to your diet when pregnant?

Meat is one of the easiest foods to add to your diet. They can be prepared as steaks, stews, fondue, dried meat, sausages, hamburger patties, and more. It doesn’t matter the meat you want to eat, here is the perfect recipe for steak, chicken, or slow-cooked stew. 


This article answered can you eat meat when pregnant, what is meat, is it healthy to eat meat when pregnant, what are the benefits of eating meat when pregnant, what is the risk of eating meat when pregnant and how can you add meat to your diet when pregnant. 


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.