Should You Eat Meat While Pregnant?

Should you eat meat while pregnant? Handling, storing, and preparing food should be done so safely, and this is extra important for pregnant women. Meat items, in particular, can contain parasites and bacteria, which can cause food poisoning and other serious illnesses; these can be passed to babies, possibly leading to miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects (via the journal AIMS Microbiology).

So should those who are expecting eat meat, and if so, which types? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that it's best to avoid deli meats, such as roast beef, bologna, hot dogs, salami, and turkey, unless they've been heated until they are steaming right before they are served.

Additionally, while the omega-3s in fish can be good for mommy and baby, there are some fish with high levels of mercury. Therefore, stick to fish like salmon, sardines, and pollack, and avoid fish like swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish (via the Mayo Clinic).

Protein is essential for those who are expecting and their babies

Meat is a good source of protein, and the recommended requirement for pregnant women is to get an average of 75 grams of protein each day. This equals around five ounces of lean meat and legumes, and for vegetarians, that means getting plenty of beans, nuts, and tofu (via the Cleveland Clinic).

Speaking of vegetarians, some people have meatless diets due to possible health or ethical reasons, and pregnant women who fall in that category may be wondering how to get all the protein they need. According to Parents, the answer is a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and legumes, as beans can definitely help mothers and babies take in this vital nutrient.

Additionally, while pregnant, some women crave meat; this could be the body's way of saying it needs more B12 or iron, which are frequently found in animal products, as well as in beans. Dr. Allison Suttle, a gynecologist and chief medical officer in South Dakota, told Insider, "If you listen to your body, it's telling you something, which is why coming up with your own individual nutrition plan is so important."