Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.
Pregnancy is a beautiful and delicate time for a woman. There are so many things to consider and take care of, and diet is one of the most important things. Moms usually list everything they need to eat and avoid while pregnant. However, some things may not be clear. For example, can you eat prosciutto while pregnant?
Can I eat prosciutto when pregnant?
The simple answer is no. Unfortunately, pregnant women should avoid eating prosciutto, deli, or processed meat. Processed or cured meats are one of the most common sources of Listeria bacteria.
When these meats are consumed, the bacteria can cross the placenta and infect the developing baby. It often leads to infection or bacterial meningitis with symptoms like high fever, severe headache, confusion, or sensitivity to light. It is very dangerous for pregnant women and their babies.
If you must eat them, make sure to cook them thoroughly first. It will kill any bacteria that may be present. However, it is still best to avoid them altogether if possible. Plenty of other foods you can eat are safe for pregnancy. So why take the risk?
Can you have prosciutto on pizza when pregnant?
Would a little prosciutto on pizza hurt? Most likely not, since pizza is often cooked thoroughly. However, there’s a possibility of the meat not being cooked through, causing listeriosis or a serious infection from contaminated food, mainly affecting pregnant women and newborns.
If possible, avoid these cured meats and try putting another topping on your pizza instead. Plenty of other delicious toppings to choose from are safe for pregnancy, such as veggies, chicken, or fish.
Can you eat cured meats while pregnant?
Prosciutto is not the only meat you should avoid during pregnancy. These cured meats include salami, chorizo, pepperoni, and pancetta.
As mentioned above, cured meats are one of the most common sources of Listeria bacteria, so it is best to avoid them while pregnant.
Alternatively, if you’re craving a sandwich or charcuterie board, some deli meats, such as turkey and chicken, are safe to eat during pregnancy. These meats are cooked before being sold at the deli counter, so they are free of bacteria.
What about other food safety risks during pregnancy?
Listeria is not the only bacteria you need to worry about during pregnancy. Other foodborne illnesses, such as E. coli and salmonella, can be dangerous for pregnant women.
To avoid these illnesses, wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs. It is also important to avoid unpasteurized dairy products, such as raw milk or cheese, made with unpasteurized milk.
Pregnant women clearly need to avoid prosciutto and other cured meats unless they are cooked well-done. These meats are often contaminated with Listeria bacteria, which can be dangerous for moms and babies.
Alternatively, you can eat plenty of other safe foods during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for specific concerns about what you should or shouldn’t eat during pregnancy.