So you just love hot dogs so much but you’re pregnant and heard it’s dangerous to eat them while carrying a baby? So can pregnant women eat hot dogs or what? Before we dive in to answer this question let’s learn what a hot dog is and what are the dangers of eating them that everyone is talking about.
The hot dogs, or Frankfurters are a very popular American food usually eaten at sports games and barbecues. The hot dog usually contains meat from pork,beef or poultry byproducts. The main reason pregnant women should avoid eating hot dogs or other ready to eat or under cooked foods is the chance of inserting harmful bacteria into your body that will hurt your baby. And no one wants that.
There are still ways to enjoy a hot dog if you really must have one, but we’ll get to that later.
So can pregnant women eat hot dogs and what are the dangers of eating a hot dog while pregnant?
It really depends is the most honest answer, you can eat hot dogs while you’re pregnant if you follow a few simple rules that actually apply to any meat or or salami types you love. All you have to do is make sure to cook the hot dog over 160 degrees F. Why you ask? Because hot dogs and other popular meat products can carry bacteria with them especially during their packaging process, so by the time you open the meat package and want to cook the meat, it may contain a lot of bacteria such as Listeria which can pass from you to your fetus and cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.
As a general rule, you should avoid eating hotdogs you didn’t cook yourself, like from a street vendor or even restaurants because the hot dog can be contaminated after laying in the water they were heated which is usually way below the 160 degrees F needed to kill any bacteria. Also the cheese many vendors use can be harmful to you and your fetus as it is not pasteurized, blue cheese,Brie,Camembert, Roquefort, Feta and more are a big NO NO and are unsafe for pregnant mothers to be.
Now before you throw away all the meat in your fridge, know that Listeria infections are very rare and they only happen in 3 people per million in the US every year. And like we said, you can easily kill these Listeria bacteria by cooking your meat good and hot.
Other things to note are things called nitrites, these are used to kill bacteria and also to give your meat some color and more flavour. Now there has been some controversy about the subject of nitrites in the last few years, there is no medical evidence that they are harmful to your fetus, even more so when you account to the recommended concentrations by the FDA.
Having said all that, you should know that hot dogs are not the perfect choice of food while you’re pregnant. A woman needs a healthy diet while pregnant to give her fetus and growing baby all that he or she needs to develop properly. So you should avoid eating hot dogs on a regular basis.
One hot dog contain around 200 calories and 7 grams of protein. However it also comes with 12 grams of fat and 500mg of sodium, and while these are also not harmful to a fetus you really need to think about more fruits, vegetables,grains and dairy to give your baby a balanced diet.
Alternatives to hot dogs
If you just love the taste and feel of a good hot dog and don’t want to risk it, there are some alternatives to the good old wiener. Look for Meat-free products in almost any market, they are made from soy-meat substitutes, grains and veggies. The taste is not exactly the same, but it is delicious and on the plus side it has much lower fat compared to a regular meat hot dog.
Other foods to avoid while pregnant
- Any undercooked meat should be avoided
- Large fish such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel. They contain high levels of mercury. Mercury is a result of coal burning plants that will interfere with a fetus development. If you want to eat meat, the FDA recommends up to 12 ounces weekly of seafood that is low in mercury ( salmon, canned light tuna )
- Raw vegetable sprouts – Bacteria can get into the seeds of these vegetable sprouts and are impossible to wash out, so when eating out and not making your own salad, ask that your food won’t include these.
- Alcohol – this should be obvious. The bad effects of alcohol in the body while being pregnant are permanent and you should not drink any while carrying a child.
- Unpasteurized juices – The ones you buy at stands or freshly squeezed are no good. They contain a lot of germs such as E. Coli so don’t drink them.
- Caffeine – There are some mixed opinions here, but it is recommended that if you do drink coffee to limit it to 200 milligrams a day.
Below is a video of 23 foods to avoid during pregnancy:
We hope we answered your question of can pregnant women eat hot dogs and we wish you a healthy pregnancy and birth.