Can I Eat Salami While Pregnant—What You Eat Matters When Pregnant

Can I Eat Salami While Pregnant

If deli meats are one of the things you’re craving during pregnancy, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard that there are certain types of deli meat that you should try to steer clear of due to the risk involved with food poisoning.

Eating salami may sound like heaven, but when pregnant women eat salami and other deli meats during pregnancy, they risk severe illness and even death.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “can I eat salami while pregnant?”, “Is deli meat safe to eat when pregnant?” and what risk contaminated food poses to a pregnant woman and her baby, and when to avoid processed meats.

We’ll also cover ways to prepare lunch meat and other processed meats during pregnancy to reduce your risk of illness.

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Deli meats and pregnancy

Most meats cannot put your pregnancy at risk, but certain varieties and types of deli meat can pose severe health risks. Knowing what is and isn’t safe to eat when it comes to deli meats can prevent you from eating contaminated food, which can be full of harmful bacteria.

Some women make the mistake of thinking that the only off-limits deli meats are pre-packaged and bought in the same grocery aisle that houses hot dogs and smoked sausages – the ones that are so chock full of preservatives that many of them don’t even resemble meat.

However, this is not the case. 

While these meats are certainly not good for you, you also have to be careful of the more expensive and quality meats sold at the grocery store deli, your local butcher shop, and your local delicatessen or sandwich shop.

These “premium” meats are just as full of harmful bacteria as their cheaper counterparts and must be avoided if you want to be as safe as possible.

It doesn’t matter if you paid three dollars for a pound of salami from the chiller section of the store or twenty dollars for the expensive brand that the butcher hand cut. 

If it hasn’t been thoroughly cooked, it’s not safe to eat if you’re pregnant.

The problem with cured meats

Cured sausage, pork, cured meat, and other meats from the deli are made of raw meat that undergoes a curing process. This processed meat uses salt, preservatives called nitrates, and spices.

You should avoid deli meats that are processed meat or cured meats – this includes avoiding eating salami.

There are a host of harmful bacteria that are in raw meat. Listeria is one such dangerous bacteria found in deli meats.

Due to the curing process, these sorts of deli meat slow the growth of bacteria but don’t kill them.

Can I eat salami while pregnant?

If eating salami is something you feel you have to do, there are ways that it can be prepared to make it a bit safer to eat. 

But always be aware that there is still some risk when pregnant women eat salami in any capacity.

While most doctors will tell you that you should not eat salami while pregnant due to the risk of food poisoning, you can lessen the risk factor by getting it steaming hot first.

Why should you not eat salami while pregnant?

Deli meats that have been cured or processed and not cooked thoroughly don’t kill the bacteria in raw meat.

When pregnant women eat salami, they eat meat that has been cured, which means that the preservatives, salts, and spices have slowed but not killed those bacteria.

If you eat salami in cold cuts, you’re ingesting those bacteria and putting yourself at risk of food poisoning and listeria infection.

These issues will affect not just pregnant women but their babies as well.

You should avoid salami in its entirety if possible. However, if you cannot do without that delicious sandwich, consuming salami can be done more safely.

Can I Eat Salami While Pregnant?

What if I’m pregnant and already ate salami?

If you’re just now hearing that you should avoid salami while pregnant, but you, like many other pregnant women, have already indulged, try not to worry too much.

You can mention to your doctor that you ate deli meat that was processed or that you had raw or poorly cooked salami. Still, if you did so several days ago, have not suffered any adverse effects, and have not felt ill or had symptoms of food poisoning, you’re most likely in the clear.

Your unborn baby will most likely be okay if you are symptom-free after eating salami during pregnancy. Just try not to make the same mistake in the future to avoid that increased risk of severe infection and serious illness.

How to make salami safer to eat during pregnancy

Pregnant women can enjoy deli meats if they take special care to prepare them a certain way. You should never go from the taking that deli counter lunch meat straight to a sandwich.

Instead, women can eat deli meats but they must be thoroughly cooked to kill any remaining harmful bacteria in the meat.

Heat it up

If you don’t want to give up your favorite deli meat, you can heat it up. Deli meats should be cooked until steaming hot and checked by a meat thermometer to be an appropriate temperature to successfully kill any bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

This means that meat should be heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you eat it. This includes salami and other foods such as hot dogs, parma ham, and capicola.

As long as you heat the deli meats to an appropriate internal temperature, you can feel free to enjoy salami while pregnant.

While it’s still probably not totally safe to eat, it’s much safer for pregnant women than it was in its uncooked form.

Are there other foods to avoid during pregnancy?

Salami and other uncooked deli meats should be avoided while pregnant to protect your developing baby from foodborne illness.

However, deli meats are not the only risky foods pregnant women eat.

1. Soft cheeses

Foodborne illnesses can also strike pregnant women harder when they ingest certain types of cheeses.

Feta, brie, and blue cheese are cheeses made with unpasteurized milk and contain listeria and other foodborne illnesses. Moms-to-be should avoid these tasty foods until after the baby has arrived.

2. Smoked seafood

Smoked seafood and sushi are also on the list of foods pregnant women should not eat until after delivery.

Infection caused by harmful and microscopic things in these foods is rare within the general population, but it’s a grave risk to pregnant women.

Stay away from the litter box

It’s not just foods you need to be wary of when you’re pregnant, either. 

We love our furry friends, and there’s something super comforting about the family cat curled up on your lap while you’re pregnant.

You can keep your little kitty friend. But stay away from the litter box.

Cat feces has hazardous germs that can cause toxoplasmosis. 

Contracted through tiny parasites in the cat feces, it poses minimal risk to those who are not pregnant. 

However, pregnant women should pass on litter duty.

Can pregnant women eat salami?

What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by listeria, commonly found in foods, soil, water, and other animal products.

While eating salami and other deli meats that have not been cooked is a risk to everyone, it is a real risk if pregnant women eat these foods.

Foods like salami and other deli meats that are not adequately cooked can cause listeriosis, leading to preterm labor, miscarriage, stillbirth, and severe complications in pregnancy.

Symptoms of listeriosis

If you eat uncooked salami, beef or beef products, pork, or other food that is not prepared correctly and start to feel ill, you should educate yourself on the symptoms of listeriosis.

Fever, muscle aches and fatigue, chills, nausea, and diarrhea are all common symptoms of listeriosis. 

Body aches that are similar to that of the flu and nausea that is similar to morning sickness are commonly described, as well.

While most people get the above symptoms of illness from listeria reasonably soon after having eaten salami, listeriosis can present as long as a month after you eat salami.

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What to do if you think you have listeria poisoning

If you have eaten salami during pregnancy and are concerned for yourself and your baby because you have started to have symptoms of listeriosis, the best thing to do is to get checked out. Better be safe than sorry.

Contact your doctor and ask if you should go to the emergency room for further testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

If it is after hours and your doctor is not available, don’t ever feel silly going to the emergency room to be checked out.

Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of your little one.


Eating salami during pregnancy is not advised. Most doctors or registered dietitians will tell you that. 

Foodborne illnesses are nothing to put yourself at risk for when you are carrying a baby, and doing so can have severe and even deadly consequences. 

It’s best to avoid the temptation entirely and choose a different food that will satisfy your pregnancy cravings.

However, if you have eaten salami or feel you must indulge, ensure that you properly heat it so that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees before consuming it. 

Also, avoid deli meats that have been cured or processed, some seafood, sushi, and soft cheese. Your doctor can provide you with a comprehensive list of prohibited foods if you ask for one.

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