The Real Reason You Shouldn't Eat Lunch Meat When Pregnant, According To A Fertility Doctor

Anyone who has ever been pregnant, or is currently pregnant will know the importance of paying attention to the things you should and shouldn't eat. According to Dr. Zaher Merhi, MD, FACOG, HCLD and a fertility expert at New Hope Fertility Center, one food that should definitely be avoided is lunch meat, or processed meat. Unfortunately, if you're pregnant it's time to say goodbye to cold cuts in sandwiches or for a snack. And he shares three very specific reasons why you'll have to wait to enjoy another bologna sub.

"The main reason is that these meats can contain bacteria such as listeria, salmonella, and toxoplasma that could be dangerous for the baby more than being dangerous to the mom," Merhi explains to The List. "Even though it is rare, the intake of these bacteria in lunch meats can cross the placenta and reach the fetus thus potentially leading to a miscarriage or even death of the fetus in uterus," he continued. 

Lunch meats also contain a lot of salt

Another reason pregnant women should steer clear of lunch meat is that you have no way of knowing exactly how it was handled. "Food poisoning can happen if the lunch meat was not perfectly clean," says Dr. Merhi, adding, "E.coli bacteria, if ingested in lunch meats, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and fever...all of which can cause dehydration for the pregnant mom." It can also potentially harm the fetus as well, which no amount of corned beef is worth.

Lastly, all your favorite lunch meats contain a whole lot of sodium. And, as we all know, too much salt is never a good thing, especially for an expectant mom. "It could cause water retention and exacerbate elevations in blood pressure in the mom, especially in those who are predisposed to hypertension," Merhi tells The List. The good news? You can still safely enjoy many cooked meats, like chicken breast, and fish, like salmon, which offer plenty of health benefits for you and baby.