Can you eat Prosciutto if cooked when pregnant?

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

Can you eat Prosciutto if cooked when pregnant? 

Yes, you can eat Prosciutto if cooked when pregnant. At high temperatures, most of the deli meats will become safe for consumption because heating will kill any harmful bacteria present inside the food and thus, reducing the risk of poisoning and food-borne illnesses.

The Prosciutto, since it is made from pork meat, and other deli and processed meats should reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees Celsius. This point is called “steaming hot”. So, you will see some visual cues which indicate that the Prosciutto is safe for consumption.

However, like any other perishable food, once cooked or steamed the Prosciutto should not be left at room temperature and on the counter for more than two hours. After that time, the temperature of the food will increase and bacteria can start proliferating inside it.

Eating Proscuitto that is contaminated with Listeria will expose the pregnant women to major risks like miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. Also, the baby’s development and growth will be affected. Pregnant women are more at risk of having complications in the first trimester.

The risk of complications will decrease in the third trimester since the baby will be completely developed, but that does not mean that the mother should not be attentive to the quality and the quantity of food that she is ingesting.

Moreover, Prosciuttos are high in salt because salt is the main ingredient involved in the aging process of pork meat. Besides, the pregnant woman should limit her salt intake and just add salt to taste, because she is at higher risk of developing gestational hypertension.

What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is an Italian ham made from pork and is cured in salt for several weeks and not cooked with heat. After the pork leg has been dried for several weeks, the salt will be washed away, then the meat will be seasoned. Next, it will be left to air-dry for one to three years.

The aging process will give the Proscuitto a very aromatic smell and taste. It is usually served as thin slices and raw with crackers, cheese such as parmesan, fruits, and nuts. As well as consumed raw, this ham is added to different types of dishes such as pizza and pasta. 

In addition, there are two different types of prosciutto: Prosciutto Cotto which is cooked or baked Prosciutto, and Prosciutto Crudo which is cured and raw. In the United States, Prosciuttos are raw and cured. Also, you might find Prosciutto culatello which is cured with wine that gives it a red color.

So, the pregnant woman should avoid consuming especially the Prosciutto Crudo because it is raw and it did not undergo any heat treatment. Like that, the meat can be contaminated with Listeria or toxoplasma gondii which are very harmful bacteria in case of pregnancy.

Along with the two different types of Prosciutto, there are two main varieties: the Prosciutto di San Daniele and the Prosciutto di Parma. Each type is made in different regions in Italy. The shape and the final result is the main difference between both of these two varieties.

However, the Prosciutto di San Daniele and the Prosciutto di Parma should be aged for a long time, usually one year to three years. In addition, there are other varieties like Prosciutto di Carpegna, Prosciutto di Modena, and Prosciutto Toscano.

What are the safe ways to enjoy Prosciutto during pregnancy?

A pregnant woman can enjoy her Prosciutto as long as they are cooked and exposed to the heat to kill any dangerous and life-threatening bacteria. So, Prosciuttos can be added to your pizza. However, make sure that they are added before the pizza goes inside the oven.

Because some types of pizza require the addition of Prosciutto on the top of an already baked and cooked pizza, this way the Prosciutto will not be exposed to the heat, and bacteria will not be killed. Also, one of the easiest ways to eat safe Prosciutto is by baking them in the oven.

You will end up having crispy and tasty meat which can be served with other dishes or sprinkled on your pasta or salad. Also, wrap your vegetables like asparagus and artichoke with Prosciutto and bake them, so that you can increase your vegetable intake while eating delicious snacks.


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