Can You Eat Steak While Pregnant?

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Heidi Woodgate

Many of us love nothing better than a juicy steak, but when you’re pregnant, you will need to make some changes to your diet for your own safety and that of the baby.

can you eat steak while pregnant?

Many pregnant women want to know whether they can eat steak while pregnant. The answer may surprise you, but here it is:

Undercooked Meat While Pregnant: What Are The Risks?

The main reason medical professionals tell women to be careful about eating steak while pregnant is that many people prefer their steak undercooked to varying degrees.

Eating undercooked meat when you’re pregnant can be very dangerous for you and the baby.

Undercooked meat can carry bacteria or parasites. Bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can cause bad food poisoning, and in severe cases, could result in hospitalization. This kind of illness could be fatal to mother and baby.

Even worse, some of the parasites in undercooked meat, including steak, can cause infections such as Toxoplasmosis and result in damage to the fetus.

What Kind Of Steak Is Safe To Eat While Pregnant?

The Verdict On Rare Steak

Rare steak is an absolute no-go for pregnant women. That’s because undercooked steak may contain Toxoplasma gondii eggs.

These parasites are responsible for an infection called Toxoplasmosis, which is responsible for many fetal abnormalities.

Toxoplasmosis is most dangerous if contracted early in pregnancy because it can prevent the baby’s organs from forming properly. Brain damage, for example, is a common result of Toxoplasmosis during the first trimester.

The scariest thing about Toxoplasmosis is it doesn’t usually cause symptoms, so a blood test is the only way to know for sure that you have it.

If you’ve never had Toxoplasmosis, you’re at an increased risk and should be very careful about eating meat in general.

Should You Eat Medium Rare Steak?

Just as you should not eat rare steak while pregnant, you should not eat medium-rare steak. Steak that is undercooked to this degree presents the same dangers as rare steak in terms of food poisoning and parasitic infection.

What About Medium Steak?

Many people assume that medium steak should be safe during pregnancy because it’s not as undercooked as rare or medium-rare steak. However, pregnant women should still avoid medium steak.

Medium steak is still fairly pink, which means it’s undercooked. Therefore, it can still carry salmonella, trichinella, or E. coli, as well as the parasites that cause Toxoplasmosis.

Is Well-Done Steak Safe During Pregnancy?

Thankfully for steak lovers, steak is safe to eat during pregnancy if it is well done. Well-done steak should have been cooked enough to kill any harmful bacteria and parasites.

In terms of medium-well steak, this should be safe as long as the steak is only slightly pink inside and there is no pink anywhere on the outside.

If you want to eat your steak medium-well, you should always use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat has reached at least 145 degrees Faraday inside.

This is the temperature at which foodborne bacteria and parasites can’t survive. Any cooler than that, and your steak could be dangerous to you and your baby.

How To Cook And Eat Steak Safely While Pregnant?

can you eat steak while pregnant?

1. Buy A Meat Thermometer

If you’re planning to cook steak yourself, buy a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. It must be at least 145 degrees Faraday in order to be safe during pregnancy.

2. Order Steak At Least Medium Well

When ordering from a restaurant, never order a steak less cooked than medium-well. Ideally, you should ask for your steak well done to be safe.

If ordering medium-well, make sure to state that you are pregnant, so the chef knows it must be thoroughly cooked.

3. Check For Pink And Red Areas

Once you cut into your steak, look for any areas that look more than slightly pink. If the pink extends to the outside of the steak, it’s definitely not cooked enough. If the inside looks bright pink or even red, it needs to be cooked for longer.

Make sure to cut all the way through the thickest part of the steak when checking for undercooked areas.

The thickest part takes the longest to cook through, so even though thinner areas of the meat may seem fine, it might still be undercooked in the center.

Final Thoughts

While well-done steak and medium-well steak that has been cooked up to 145 degrees Faraday should be safe during pregnancy, rare, medium, and medium-rare steaks are all dangerous while pregnant.

Meat that has not been cooked through can contain bacteria and parasites that might make you sick at best, and cause a dangerous Toxoplasmosis infection at worst.

Always check the temperature and color of your steak before eating when you are pregnant. Remember, if it’s dark pink, or pink anywhere outside the middle, don’t eat it. 

Are Crawfish Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

When it comes to eating crawfish during pregnancy, it’s important to exercise caution. While crawfish can be a good source of protein and other nutrients, pregnant women should be mindful of potential risks like foodborne illnesses. It’s advisable to ensure the crawfish is thoroughly cooked and consumed in moderation to minimize any potential harm to both the mother and the baby. Always consult a healthcare professional before making any dietary choices during pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Eat Raw Meat While Pregnant?

Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat at all costs during pregnancy.

Raw meat is off-limits when pregnant because it may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that would usually be killed during the cooking process.

Even partially-cooked meat can be very dangerous.

What Are The Symptoms Of Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis usually doesn’t cause symptoms. When it does, it may cause flu-like symptoms such as a fever, chills, aches and pains, a headache, and a general feeling of sickness.

Toxoplasmosis is a serious infection, so if you have these symptoms while pregnant, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

What Are Some Other Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy?

Apart from undercooked meat (including lunch meats), avoid raw or unpasteurized dairy products, soft cheeses (like cottage cheese), raw shellfish, soft-serve ice cream, undercooked eggs (such as poached eggs), and of course, alcohol and caffeine.

High-mercury fish, such as king mackerel, contain high levels of mercury, which may harm your unborn baby.

It’s also best to avoid eating any potentially contaminated food. That might mean not eating at restaurants with poor food hygiene ratings, or choosing not to eat something if you don’t know where it came from. 

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