When you’re pregnant, it can feel like there are many limits on what you can and can’t do and what you can and can’t eat or drink. Sometimes this can make you feel like you can’t fully enjoy holidays.
So, can you eat ham during pregnancy?
It actually depends on whether you want to run the risk. While the CDC says that you should avoid all cold meats during pregnancy, the NHS states that it’s fine to eat them as the risk is so low although it’s best to err on the side of caution.
The biggest risk of eating ham and other cold meats while pregnant is listeria, which can cross the placenta and cause a range of complications and in some cases, miscarriage or stillbirth. The other risk is for toxoplasmosis, which can cause birth defects. You can also run the risk of salmonella and food poisoning is bad enough when you’re not pregnant!
The risks of getting any of these is relatively low. Meat that has been left for some time, or is purchased cold from a store is more likely to present an issue as it may have been there for hours. If you do plan to eat cold meats, make sure they’re ones that you’ve made yourself, at home and have stored properly and for short periods of time only.
The CDC states that in 2013, the average annual incidence of listeriosis in the United States was 0.26 cases per 100,000 individuals although pregnant women are in a higher risk category.
So enjoy your spiral, honey baked or smoked ham piping hot if possible. But if you can’t resist, make sure you know exactly how your cold cuts are made and stored.