Can you eat red meat while pregnant?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “can you eat red meat while pregnant?”. We will also discuss what red meats are, the nutritional profile of red meat, how much red meat is safe to consume by pregnant women, the potential risks, alternatives to red meat and foods to avoid during pregnancy. 

Can you eat red meat while pregnant?

Yes, you can eat red meat while pregnant as long as it is fully cooked until it is steaming hot and no evidence of pink or blood remains. Beef is a wonderful source of protein for pregnant women and should be included in a healthy pregnancy diet but must always be cooked properly. 

What are red meats?

Red meat is raw mammalian meat that is generally red in colour. The term “red meat” refers to flesh from animals with a larger proportion of red muscle fibres, such as cattle, goat, lamb, hog, veal, mutton, and horse.

What is the nutritional profile of red meats?

Red meat is a good source of protein and contains micronutrients including iron, selenium, zinc, omega 3-fatty acids, vitamins B6, B12, A, D, and folic acid, as well as other bioactive chemicals like taurine, creatine, carnosine, and glutathione. 

These are important nutrients that every pregnant woman should get enough of during her pregnancy.

How much red meat can pregnant women consume?

It is important to understand how much red meat is safe to consume while pregnant. During pregnancy, a daily dose of protein of about 71 grams is recommended. 

This means you should limit yourself to two 3-ounce meals per week and supplement with protein from other sources. You can incorporate red meat into your healthy meal plan because it provides vital proteins. 

What are the potential risks of eating red meat while pregnant?

Several studies have shown that red meat is unhealthy not only for pregnant women but also for the general public. While red meat is delicious and provides numerous benefits, it is critical to exercise caution when preparing it. 

Pregnant women who love meat should make sure it is well cooked and free of pink or blood residues. Some risks associated with the consumption include:

Toxoplasmosis Risk

If you eat raw or undercooked red meat, you run the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Although the illness is mostly harmless to the mother, it poses a risk to your baby’s health and may result in miscarriage. 

You may not have to exclude red meat from your diet if you experience red meat cravings during pregnancy, however, make sure you cook the meat properly and keep hygiene in mind. 

Pregnant women should lower their red meat intake to boost their health and that of their growing newborns.

A Higher Chance Of Gestational Diabetes Occurring

According to a study, women who consume more red meat before becoming pregnant have a higher risk of gestational diabetes than women who consume less. 

Substituting vegetable proteins for animal proteins reduces the incidence of gestational diabetes by half. Thus it is important to remember that you consume less red meat during and before pregnancy.

Red Meat Increases The Risks Of Mortality

Increased red meat consumption was linked to a higher risk of mortality, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. Adding half a portion of unprocessed meat to one’s regular diet increased mortality by 9%. 

Similarly, adding half a portion of processed meat like ham, sausages, or hot dogs increased the risk by 13%. It’s a good reason to eat red meat in moderation for this reason.

What are the alternatives to red meats during pregnancy?

Pregnant women may also consider other sources of proteins like lean meats, fish and more as good protein to enhance their health during pregnancy. 

Pregnant women who are vegans can receive enough protein by eating low-fat dairy, tofu, almonds, and beans as a plant-based diet is often healthier than eating red meat.

What are some foods to avoid during pregnancy?

Bacteria and other potentially dangerous agents can be found in some meals. If you enjoy red meat, sushi, or coffee, you may want to hold off on eating these until the baby arrives. Here is a list of foods to avoid while pregnant.

  • Caffeine-containing beverages and meals should be avoided during pregnancy. Caffeine intake should be kept to less than 200 mg per day.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products including Feta, brie, and panela, can cause food poisoning, and Listeriosis, due to bacteria contamination.  Pregnant women are more susceptible to listeria infections than the general population.
  • Tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish, and shark are examples of fish with high mercury levels. Thie consumption should be limited or avoided outrightly if possible. 
  • Pregnant women should also avoid eggs eaten raw or minimally cooked as they can be at risk of salmonella contamination leading to food poisoning.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question “can you eat red meat while pregnant?”. We have also discussed what red meats are, the nutritional profile of red meat, how much red meat is to be consumed by pregnant women, the potential risks, alternatives to red meat and foods to avoid during pregnancy.