Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant? Everything You Need to Know

While this might not be the news one is hoping for as a beef jerky lover, consuming beef jerky while pregnant might not be the healthiest choice of foods to consume as there are other foods that are much healthier and pose less of a safety risk. 

While pregnancy cravings can be difficult to keep at bay and downright powerful to control, you might want to think twice about going for that beef stick or your favorite dried beef jerky snack. 

Continue reading to learn more about if beef jerky is safe to consume while pregnant and as always we recommend consulting your doctor for anything relating to your healthy and pregnancy. 

What are the risks? 

Beef jerky is a satisfying and convenient snack you can find almost anywhere so ideally you'd think it's a great snack when those angry pregnancy cravings hit, however, it can pose some risks. At it's core, beef jerky is simply just dehydrated meat and there's nothing wrong with eating meat while pregnant. 

Foodborn Illness 

That being said, beef jerky isn't your typical type of meat product as the process of cooking it is a bit different. While beef jerky isn't raw, it's also not cooked the same as a traditional piece of meat. For example, when you cook meat at a higher temperature, it helps to kill bacteria that can make you sick. Since beef jerky is dried and cooked at a lower temperature, it may not kill all of the bacteria. 

The reason why experts advise against eating beef jerky while pregnant is because of the risk of foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning). 

Now anyone can get sick with food poisoning, however, the chances of getting sick are higher when pregnant because your immune system is compromised. What's even worse is not only can you get sick, but your baby can be affected by it as well. 

Spike in Blood Pressure and Salt 

Another reason to avoid beef jerky while pregnant is because it's also high in salt, which in turn could spike your blood pressure. This isn't healthy for both you and your baby. Additionally, too much salt can increase discomfort because of the additional swelling. 

Foods that Are Safe While Pregnant

If you're still wanting meat, instead of grabbing for dried meat go straight for the steak! It's important to make sure it's cooked to well done. That means making sure the temperature hits at least 165 degrees. 

You can also go the route of plant-based foods that are made from a variety of vegetables. While it doesn't taste exactly like meat, it can still be delicious and satisfying. 

Other Foods to Avoid While Pregnant 

Besides beef jerky, there are other foods to avoid while pregnant. At it's core, it's important to avoid foods that aren't 100% cooked through. These foods include: 

  • Sushi
  • Sashimi 
  • Raw Oysters 
  • Raw Scallops 
  • Raw Eggs
  • Cookie Dough 
  • Deli Meats
  • Unpasteurized Milk 

Bottom Line

It's probably best to avoid beef jerky while pregnant in addition to other foods that aren't 100% cooked because of potential foodborne illnesses. It's also important to always consult your doctor.