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Pregnancy: The Gray Area of to Eat or not to Eat...

You're pregnant, and the desire to do everything in your power to protect your baby may constantly be thwarted by the unknown. As much as we know about those commonly discussed "high-risk" pregnancy foods like raw fish, luncheon meats, and unpasteurized dairy, there is still so much we don't know when it comes to the "wait so can I or can't I" foods.

Here are just a few that come to mind...


We know that deli meats, cold cuts, and frankfurters are associated with listeria monocytogenes. Commonly referred to as the refrigerator bacteria, listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures and can even survive freezing. Pregnant women who contract listeriosis through this bacteria risk spontaneous abortion, still birth, or infection to the fetus. Enter jerky; is it susceptible to this bacteria?

the Verdict - the low moisture content of jerky, makes it an unfavorable environment for the bacteria. You may consume jerky while pregnant, but do keep factors like sodium, processing, and added nitrates in mind when considering how often you will be consuming this food.


Fully cooked eggs can be a healthful inclusion in a pregnant woman's diet, lending key nutrients like iron, protein, vitamin D, and choline. Raw eggs, however, may potentially carry salmonella, a harmful bacteria that can have detrimental effects on mom and baby.

the Verdict - Avoid raw or undercooked eggs with runny yolks, as well as any sauces, custards, or beverages prepared using raw eggs, i.e. - aioli or mayonnaise, carbonara, eggnog, tiramisu, home-made ice cream. *Pasteurized eggs are recognized as safe to consume in an undercooked state or as an ingredient in a sauce or dessert.


Refrigerated, uncooked seafood such as lox, kippers, or anything labeled nova style may carry bacteria or viruses that can be especially harmful during pregnancy.

the Verdict - Avoid uncooked, refrigerated smoked seafood during pregnancy. It's okay to consume smoked seafood if it comes in a can and is shelf stable, or is an ingredient in a cooked dish.

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