Can you eat ox cheek when pregnant?

In this brief guide we will answer the following question, “can you eat ox cheek when pregnant?” We will also discuss the nutritional value and health benefits of eating ox cheek during pregnancy. We will also get to know the possible harmful effects of eating ox cheek during pregnancy.

Can you eat ox cheek when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat ox cheeks when pregnant. Ox cheek contains many nutrients which are beneficial for pregnant females. However, ox cheek can be harmful to pregnant mothers if it is not cooked or stored properly. It can cause toxoplasmosis and listeriosis which can lead to a miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight.

What is a beef cheek?

Beef cheek is a cut from the facial area of cows, around the part where the cow chews its food. Muscles here are more dense and tender due to the chewing process of the cow. Beef cheeks are used in appetisers and starters as well as in main courses.

What is the nutritional value of beef cheek?

Beef cheek is as nutritious as any other meat cut from a cow. It contains several minerals and vitamins essential for pregnant mothers. Following nutrients are present in ox cheek.

Nutrients Amount 
Energy 276 kcal
Total fats22 g
Protein 16 g
Cholesterol 94 mg
Sodium 58 mg
Potassium 271 mg
Iron 8 %
Vitamin B1223 %
Vitamin B620 %

Percentage values are based upon 2000 kcal dietary intake.

What are the health benefits of eating ox cheek during pregnancy?

Like any other red meat, ox cheek is recommended to eat in pregnancy because it is a good source of iron and B vitamins. 

  • Ox cheek meat gives you a good amount of iron which is a part of haemoglobin and is used by red blood cells to carry oxygen. As red blood cell production is increased in pregnancy hence more iron is needed.
  • Iron deficiency anaemia can be caused due to low levels of iron in the body and it can cause several complications in pregnancy like low birth weight.
  • If you are vegetarian it will be difficult for you to cover your iron and other B vitamins needs. Eating ox cheek meat fulfils these requirements.
  • Ox cheek meat is a rich source of protein. More protein is required for pregnant women not just to create a baby, but also to handle the increasing growth of breast tissue, uterine tissue, and increased blood supply.
  • The presence of adequate folate in the mother’s body aids in the proper formation of the baby’s brain and spine. Pregnant women and women who want to become pregnant should consume more folate every day, ideally starting before conception.

Is it safe to eat raw ox cheek meat during pregnancy?

No, raw ox cheek meat or any meat that is raw or uncooked is not safe to eat. This is due to the presence of multiple bacterias and viruses that affect human health and cause many problems.

Raw meat is often contaminated with bacteria two of the diseases that  are more of a concern in pregnancy are as follows

  • Toxoplasmosis is a disease that causes swelling of lymph nodes, fever, muscle aches, and pains and it is caused by eating undercooked meat which causes the infection of toxoplasma.
  • Toxoplasmosis is connected to a parasite present in the soil, water, and raw meat. It will possibly be passed to the baby during pregnancy if you aren’t treated against toxoplasmosis.
  • Listeriosis is caused by bacteria listeria monocytogenes. During pregnancy, this disease will spread from contaminated and undercooked meat.

According to the research, Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common infections linked to foodborne hospitalizations and deaths, and it can be caused by congenital infection or acquired infection after birth. 

The transmission can be prevented by avoiding cross-contamination of meat and eating fully-cooked meat.

According to the CDC, people with a weaker immune system due to AIDS or chemotherapy and children born to the toxoplasma gondii infected mothers are at a high risk of developing toxoplasmosis.

How can you prevent meat-borne diseases during pregnancy?

To prevent the risks of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis and other diseases from eating meat following steps must be taken.

  • Thoroughly wash your meat before cooking or freezing it if you are buying a fresh cut.
  • Cook it at a safe temperature, and use a food thermometer to measure the accurate temperature of food while cutting.
  • CDC suggests cooking your whole cut meat except poultry at 63 °C, ground meat at 71 °C, and poultry at 74 °C.


In this brief guide we answered the following question, “can you eat ox cheek when pregnant?” We also discussed the nutritional value and health benefits of eating ox cheek during pregnancy. We also got to know the possible harmful effects of eating ox cheek during pregnancy.