Is It Safe to Eat Turkey While Pregnant (2023)

In this Article

  • Can You Have Turkey When Pregnant?
  • Health Benefits of Eating Turkey During Pregnancy
  • Tips to Prepare Turkey Properly
  • FAQ’s

Pregnancy is one of the happiest times in a woman’s life when you’re supposed to eat more. Yet, a host of restrictions crop up, and every food you’ve loved seems to be suddenly off-limits. This popular poultry dish is a part of the standard cuisine of North America and is prepared mainly during culturally significant traditional events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re wondering, “why can’t you eat turkey when pregnant?” it is better to stay safe at this time as those sumptuous turkey dishes could endanger your pregnancy and affect the developing fetus if not cooked in the right way.

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Can You Have Turkey When Pregnant?

As a member of the poultry family, turkey poses the risk of food poisoning caused by Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella bacteria, and Clostridium perfringens. Depending on the way it iscooked, the nutrition of Turkey also varies. So, it’s important to prepare Turkey as per a few simple rules to keep yourself and your baby safe. Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating processed meats as they contain bacteria listeria, leading to listeriosis.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, expecting mothers are ten times more susceptible to get listeriosis than the common population as their immune system is low at this time. According to the USDA, eating undercooked or raw turkey poses the risk of foodborne illnesses. Thus, Turkey needs to be cooked up to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F to kill the bacteria.

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However, some doctors recommend turkey be cooked up to 180 degrees for pregnant women to maintain optimum health. You can use the leftovers of a turkey for making a turkey sandwich the following day, after heating it. You should avoid cold meat due to its listeria concerns.

Health Benefits of Eating Turkey During Pregnancy

Turkey isa large bird native to North America. It’s hunted in the wild and raised on farms for food. It offers a diverse and impressive nutrition profile that is especially needed during pregnancy.

Here are some health benefits of eating turkey while pregnant:

  • Turkey is a good source of protein, selenium, and phosphorus that support healthy growth for the baby.
  • The skin of Turkey is high in fat. So, cuts on the skin have more calories and fat than skinless cuts.
  • Four OZ of turkey contains around 32gm of protein that scores high on the satiety index scale, helping you to feel full and satisfied at this time. Adequate dietary protein forms are an essential component of a pregnant woman’s healthy diet, supporting rapid growth and development.
  • Turkey contains vital amino acids that you should takeduring the gestational stage to meet the adequate energy needs of the body. Amino acids during pregnancy could also help mitigate reproductive disorders.
  • Turkey is a good source of B vitamins needed for a healthy pregnancy. B3 is important for efficient energy production and cell communication. B6 supports amino acid formation and helps produce neurotransmitters, whereas B12 is vital for DNA production and the formation of red blood cells.

Tips to Prepare Turkey Properly

Turkey needs to be appropriately cleaned and washed well before starting to cook. Cooking Turkey meat at the right temperature and eating it in moderation ward away the major concerns of falling ill during pregnancy. Here are some simple tips that can ensure the turkey you cook tastes best and is perfectly safe to eat.

  • Steady cookingat a lower temperaturemeans cooking for a longer duration.
  • Roast the meat at 300°F to make sure the turkey is cooked well.
  • Once the oven temperature reaches 140 degrees, you can turn the heat to 400°F to make the meat golden brown.
  • Use an instant-readingculinary thermometerto make sure the meat is cooked well.
  • The best temperature to remove the turkey is between155-160 degrees.
  • Ensure the thermometer does not touch the bone while testing temperatures result incorrectly.
  • Keep the turkey in standby mode for 20 minutes to make sure it isperfectlycooked.

Turkey raised under organic conditions ensures the best nutrients in your dish. Grass-fed turkeys are rich in superior quality nutrients than those injected with antibiotics and those that don’t feed around on natural pastures. To be on the safe side, do consult your doctor about the daily recommended allowance of turkey during your pregnancy so that you can satisfy your craving and stay healthy at the same time.

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1. Is It Safe to Eat Turkey Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?

Many Turkey hot dogpackages instruct you to cook until the turkey frankfurter is warmed through. However,just “warmed” isn’t enough during pregnancy.Turkey dogs need to be cooked to thetemperature of 165°F/75°C and served when “steaming hot”for them to be termed safe for pregnant women.

2. Is Turkey Sausages Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Turkey sausages are made from ground meat, and pregnant women can safely eat them once they have been cooked fully to 165°F/75°C, which may kill the bacteria present.

3. Can I Eat Cold Cuts or Cold, Cooked Turkey While Pregnant?

Cold cuts or pre-cooked/cured Turkey meat such as Turkey ham. At the same time, pregnant and especially those purchased from deli counters and then sliced on a deli counter can become contaminated or are potentially contaminated with Listeria bacteria. Therefore, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that pregnant women avoid eating them in cold cut, fermented or dry sausages form unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or steamed just before serving to steer away from any Listeria infection. These meats can harbor bacteria that can continue to grow even when refrigerated.

4. Can Pregnant Women Eat Smoked Turkey?

Eating smoked or grilled Turkey during pregnancy and eating the right quantity is a matter ofindividual choice.If the lunch meat you love is smoked turkey or smoked brisket or ham on the menu for dinner, make sure it is not cold or at room temperature either.Smoked Turkey meats cooked or reheated at the right temperature of 165°F/75°C can help destroy the potentially harmful chemical compound Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), which is likely to be carcinogenic. Grilling even releases the bacteria in them. Thus, when the turkey is grilled, using hot coals or a flame for cooking quickly at a high temperature, it is best to eat it only in small amounts, especially for mothers in their third trimester. Finally, steaming hot or smoked turkey should be eaten right after it is served.

5. Is It Safe to Consume Turkey Burgers or Ground Turkey?

Turkeyburgers and other ground turkey products are often marketed as a “healthier swap” to traditional beef-based products. Turkey is 50% lower in fat than the standard 80/20 ground beef. However, regardless of fat content the principles of traditional ground meats, it is essential to cook Turkey until the inside of the product is at least 165°F to prevent foodborne illness. Whether pre-cooked or not, you should still heat any packaged or frozen or not, ground turkey items to about 165°F/75°C to destroy the presence of any bacteria and help prevent sickness for you and your baby.

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6. Can I Eat Turkey Deli Meat Or Turkey Lunch Meat When Pregnant?

Deli turkey while pregnantis safe only if they have been dried and salted, such as pepperoni and salami. You should avoid processed and readymade products, such as bologna, hot dog, roast beef, and sliced turkey breast, as they have not been dried between processing factories and being displayed in a deli counter, prepackaged or sliced to order, deli meats are highly likely to be contaminated with Listeria. While the overall risk of Listeria infections can be minimum, there is a possibility of the mother getting sick with fever, diarrhea, and blood-stream infections. It may also lead to serious complications like miscarriage, poor fetal growth, pre-term delivery, and stillbirth. Thus, steaming the meat or warming Deli Turkey to 165°F/75°C or warming Deli meat in the microwave for even heat distribution can destroy any bacteria that are especially dangerous when the immune system is low during pregnancy.

7. Is Turkey Bacon Safe to Eat When Pregnant?

Due to its lower fat content, Turkey bacon is considered a healthier alternative toporkbacon. All the varieties of turkey bacon, including the ones with and without nitrites, cured, and ready-to-heat, can be safe to eat during pregnancy provided they’ve been cooked thoroughly and served hot. So, the bottom line is that you should avoid cold Turkey bacon at any cost.

Also Read:

Eating Fish when Pregnant
Consuming Chicken during Pregnancy
Is It Safe to Eat Duck while Pregnant?


Can a pregnant woman eat turkey? ›

2. Uncooked turkey – Your turkey needs to be cooked until it reaches at least 160ºF in the thickest part of the turkey's thigh. To be on the safe side and to avoid any possibility of salmonella contamination, cook until your turkey reaches 180ºF before consuming.

Can I eat turkey slices while pregnant? ›

“If you're pregnant, you really shouldn't have deli meat,” Schaffner says. The only way to ensure that sliced deli meat is safe to eat, he adds, is by heating it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, to guarantee that any lingering surface bacteria is killed off.

Is turkey considered deli meat pregnancy? ›

Processed meats to avoid during pregnancy (unless they are heated to the proper temperature) include deli meat (turkey, ham, bologna, chicken, roast beef, prosciutto, and pepperoni), hot dogs, bacon, and sausages.

Is chicken and turkey good for a pregnant woman? ›

Well-cooked chicken and other poultry are safe to eat while you're pregnant, as long as they're still hot. But you should avoid cold cooked chicken and processed chicken meat from the deli. Chicken is a good source of protein during pregnancy.

What meats are not good for pregnancy? ›

  • Raw or undercooked meat, including beef, poultry and pork. This includes hotdogs and deli meat (like ham or bologna). ...
  • Raw fish, especially shellfish. ...
  • Fish that can be high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. ...
  • Refrigerated pates, meat spreads or smoked seafood.

What meats should you avoid when pregnant? ›

What to avoid
  • raw or undercooked meat.
  • liver and liver products.
  • all types of pâté, including vegetarian pâté
  • game meats such as goose, partridge or pheasant.

Is cooked turkey good for pregnancy? ›

Turkey is safe during pregnancy if it's cooked and prepared properly. It's also a good source of many nutrients that can be beneficial for pregnant women.

Can I eat Subway when pregnant? ›

Can Pregnant Women Eat At Subway? Subway sandwiches are safe for pregnant women to eat if they're heated until hot, rather than just warm. This means either microwaved for a few seconds or having the sandwich toasted – sometimes a little more than normal.

What are the odds of getting listeria while pregnant? ›

Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults. An estimated 1/6 of all Listeria cases occur in pregnant women.

What kind of sandwich can a pregnant woman eat? ›

All sandwich bread is safe for pregnant women to eat, but you can make wiser choices when choosing bread. For example: Opt for brown or wholegrain bread over white. Choose wraps or flatbreads rather than bulky subs or bagels.

What sandwich meat can I eat when pregnant? ›

Non-dried deli meats such as bologna, roast beef and turkey breast. Dried and salted deli meats such as salami and pepperoni. Non-dried deli meats heated throughout to steaming hot.

Can I have rotisserie chicken while pregnant? ›

What pregnant women can eat: Hot rotisserie chicken or home cooked meat and homemade salads. An alternative to deli meats is hot rotisserie chicken if purchased fresh and eaten hot. Cooking your own chicken or meat at home and heating any leftovers thoroughly is also OK.

What meat is best for pregnancy? ›

Lean beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins — all of which you'll need in higher amounts during pregnancy. Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin.

What are the benefits of turkey during pregnancy? ›

Turkey contains vital amino acids that you should take during the gestational stage to meet the adequate energy needs of the body. Amino acids during pregnancy could also help mitigate reproductive disorders. Turkey is a good source of B vitamins needed for a healthy pregnancy.

Can I eat bacon when pregnant? ›

You can enjoy bacon safely during pregnancy. Just make sure to cook it thoroughly, until it's steaming hot. Avoid ordering bacon at a restaurant because you don't know how well it's cooked. If you want to avoid all risks completely, there are meat-free bacon alternatives available, like soy or mushroom bacon.

What happens if you eat grapes while pregnant? ›

Grapes are generally fine to eat during pregnancy. They are a good source of fiber and water and they contain vitamins and antioxidants. 234 "You can safely include grapes in your diet during pregnancy by adding them to salads, mixing them into yogurts or porridge, and mixing them into a smoothie," suggests Dr. Kliman.

Can you eat pizza when pregnant? ›

Pizzas are safe to eat in pregnancy, as long they are cooked thoroughly and are piping hot. Mozzarella is perfectly safe but be cautious about pizzas topped with soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert, and soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Danish blue.

What is the best food for pregnant woman? ›

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables because these provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which helps digestion and can help prevent constipation. Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day – these can include fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.

Can I have Subway turkey while pregnant? ›

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that pregnant women "avoid eating hot dogs, lunch meats, cold cuts, other deli meats (such as bologna), or fermented or dry sausages unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving."

Is ham or turkey safer during pregnancy? ›

It's best to avoid deli or processed meats, such as prosciutto, ham, salami, luncheon meat, chicken meat and other smoked or cured meats, during pregnancy. They may contain listeria or salmonella bacteria, or toxoplasma parasites.

Can you eat McDonald's when pregnant? ›

There are many items on the McDonalds menu containing ingredients that are safe for pregnant women. However, processed food is never a great choice in pregnancy. You'll have to ensure your order is cooked fresh, and also adapt it by avoiding some ingredients.

Can I eat Taco Bell while pregnant? ›

Most items on the Taco Bell menu are safe for pregnant women, because the meat in Taco Bell's products is fully cooked, and Taco Bell's cheese is a pasteurized, processed product (source: Taco Bell). Their sour cream is also made from pasteurized ingredients.

Can you eat shrimp while pregnant? ›

Yes, shrimp is safe to eat during pregnancy. But don't overdo it. Stick to two to three servings of seafood (including options like shrimp) a week and avoid eating it raw. Follow these recommendations and you'll satisfy your taste buds — and cravings — without getting yourself or your baby ill.

Can a fetus survive listeria? ›

During pregnancy, a listeria infection is likely to cause only mild signs and symptoms in the mother. The consequences for the baby, however, can be devastating — the baby can die in the womb or have a life-threatening infection within a few days of being born.

Would I know if I got listeria while pregnant? ›

Listeriosis can cause mild, flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and diarrhea or upset stomach. You also may have a stiff neck, headache, confusion, or loss of balance. Symptoms may appear as late as 2 months after you have eaten something with Listeria. Many pregnant women do not have any symptoms.

What can accidentally cause a miscarriage? ›

Several factors may cause miscarriage:
  • Infection.
  • Exposure to TORCH diseases.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Improper implantation of fertilized egg in your uterine lining.
  • How old you are.
  • Uterine abnormalities.
  • Incompetent cervix (your cervix begins to open too early in pregnancy).
Jul 19, 2022

Can a pregnant lady eat mayonnaise? ›

Note: Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces contain pasteurized eggs that are safe to eat.

How much sleep do I need pregnant? ›

Sleep is a necessity — especially when you're pregnant! In answer to the question, “How many hours should a pregnant woman sleep?” most doctors recommend eight to 10 hours per night.

Can pregnant eat ice cream sandwich? ›

Generally speaking, ice cream that you buy at your local grocery or big box store should be perfectly safe for you to eat. If you're tempted by the soft-serve machine at a local restaurant, that should be fine, too, as long as the ice cream is made with pasteurized milk.

Can I eat hotdogs when pregnant? ›

Some ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs, can become contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes after they have been processed and packaged at the plant. If it's not possible to reheat hot dogs, don't eat them.

Can you eat salad when pregnant? ›

You can eat pre-washed salad during pregnancy, as long as you store it in the fridge in a sealed packet or container, and eat it before its use-by date. To be on the safe side, give the salad a thorough wash in cold water. You can remove any excess water with a salad spinner.

Can I eat pepperoni pizza while pregnant? ›

When is it OK to eat raw meat when pregnant? When it's cooked. And because pizza is typically baked in a super-hot pizza oven (or reheated in your microwave if previously frozen) after toppings are added, the pepperoni on your pie is just fine.

Can I eat a Philly cheesesteak while pregnant? ›

Bottom line: Avoid deli meat straight from the counter, but you can eat it heated up. If the meat is steaming or feels fully warmed through, it's safe (the heat will kill any harmful bacteria).

Is KFC chicken healthy in pregnancy? ›


Can I eat chicken salad while pregnant? ›

The CDC recommends that you don't eat undercooked meat during pregnancy. But if you've eaten chicken salad or you ate sushi, you don't need to freak out, because most people who eat things will be just fine.

What foods help baby grow in womb? ›

Protein — Promote growth

Protein is crucial for your baby's growth throughout pregnancy. Good sources: Lean meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are great sources of protein. Other options include beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

Which vegetables avoid during pregnancy? ›

Greens and sprouts are generally great foods to add to the diet as they contain large amounts of fiber and nutrients. However, some greens or sprouts may contain bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause infection.
Raw or undercooked greens and sprouts
  • mung beans.
  • alfalfa.
  • clover.
  • radish.
Feb 6, 2019

What to drink when pregnant? ›

  • Water. Water should be your go-to beverage during pregnancy. ...
  • Milk. Dairy milk is a healthy option for pregnant women, particularly toward the end of a pregnancy when the baby's bones are forming. ...
  • Herbal Tea. Herbal tea is not true tea. ...
  • Alcohol-Removed Wine. ...
  • Flavored Water. ...
  • Decaf Coffee. ...
  • Sparkling Water. ...
  • Vegetable Juice.
May 24, 2021

Is turkey good for baby? ›

Turkey actually fits perfectly into a baby's diet as it's lean meat, a great protein source, and high in nutrients that continue to help babies as they grow and develop. In addition, dark turkey meat has a high content of iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

How likely is listeria? ›

An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely than other people to get a Listeria infection.

What two foods should be avoided during pregnancy? ›

However, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces (168 grams) a week.
  • Avoid raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood. To avoid harmful bacteria or viruses in seafood:
  • Avoid undercooked meat, poultry and eggs. ...
  • Avoid unpasteurized foods. ...
  • Avoid excess caffeine.

Can you eat scrambled eggs when pregnant? ›

It is safe for pregnant women to eat eggs as long as the eggs are completely cooked or pasteurised. Pregnant women can enjoy cooked eggs however should be aware to avoid raw eggs in foods such as aioli, homemade mayonnaise, cake batter or mousse.

Why can't pregnant people eat turkey? ›

Pregnant women are advised to avoid processed meats to prevent listeriosis, an illness caused by the bacteria listeria.

Can I eat oven roasted turkey while pregnant? ›

"In contrast to deli turkey, turkey roasted in your home is very safe to eat during pregnancy," Meghan A. May, associate professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, tells Romper in an email interview.

Can I eat turkey while pregnant if I microwave it? ›

Deli meats can carry a bacteria that's especially dangerous during pregnancy, but Teigen said microwaving them first is "a way to get around the system." Expert guidance recommends pregnant people heat cold cuts to 165 degrees F or "until steaming" to kill bacteria.

How common is listeria in pregnancy? ›

Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults. An estimated 1/6 of all Listeria cases occur in pregnant women.

Can you eat rotisserie chicken when pregnant? ›

Deli-counter meats and cold cuts also pose the threat of listeriosis. Avoid eating cooked rotisserie chicken and lunch meat found in the refrigerated case at the deli-meat counter. If you can't live without your cold cuts, heat the deli meat before eating it.

Can I have deli meat while pregnant? ›

Lunch meat, for the most part, is just a myth. I asked a doctor that I work with if there was any truth to the common belief that pregnant women shouldn't eat deli meat, and she vehemently denied it.

Can you have mayo while pregnant? ›

Note: Commercial mayonnaise, dressing, and sauces contain pasteurized eggs that are safe to eat. Safe Ways to Make Your Favorite Egg-containing Foods!


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