Bacon. It’s delicious and goes well with many things, like eggs, lettuce and tomatoes… but does it go well with pregnancy? In this article we will discuss bacon and pregnancy concerns in detail so that you will know for sure if pregnant women can eat bacon or not. Let’s discuss.
Can you eat bacon when pregnant?
Well, yes and no. Pregnant women CAN eat bacon, the question is really ‘should they’? You will be happy to know that it is perfectly safe to eat bacon during pregnancy, provided that you know the risks and and just take a few precautions.
Wait, it’s dangerous?
Don’t worry. The dangers associated have to do with freshness, cooking properly, and nutritional value if you are eating too much bacon, but your favorite breakfast snack is definitely still ‘on the table’. First, we will discuss the dangerous side of things and then we will go into the beneficial side of eating bacon while pregnant.
This is the scary part but it can be found in the improper handling or storage of any raw meat. Microorganisms such as:
- Toxoplasmosis gondii
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Yersinia enterocolitica
Infections from these microorganisms can cause premature birth, infection of a newborn, and even stillbirths. Now, the good news is that prevention is a simple matter of being careful in the handling of raw meat and always making sure to properly cook your food.
Simple methods to avoid food contamination
The methods and means to avoid contamination are easy to do and mostly just common sense. Always be sure to:
- Avoid storing meats with your other foods
- Clean your hands and surfaces where you are handling meats
- Chill foods as soon as possible when storing
- Avoid undercooked meat/ cook your food adequately
- Separate raw meats when shopping and transporting items home
Aside from meat, avoid unpasteurized milk as well. So, we have established that proper handling can help to reduce or eliminate risk and gotten the scary stuff out of the way. What are the benefits for a pregnant woman eating bacon?
The benefits of bacon
Aside from the deliciousness factor, bacon actually has a lot of going for it. Don’t believe us? Well, here are a few of the benefits you can enjoy while munching on that B.L.T.:
- Antioxidants – Bacon is rich in antioxidants, which can help in your baby’s thyroid development and also assist in resistance to disease.
- Protein– Vital for healthy bones, muscle, and more, bacon is high in protein and good for you in this manner. Protein also has the added bonus of making you feel full!
- Phosphorous – This is also important for fetal development, just check those pre-natal vitamins and you will definitely see phosphorous on the list.
- Choline – Bacon is a source for choline, which assists in fetal brain development.
- Vitamin B – This is essential for nervous system development.
Wow, bacon does all that? I want to eat it all the time!
Not so fast. Everything in moderation. We’ve discussed the microorganism problem, which you can negate with proper preparation, but there are factors involved in HOW MUCH bacon you consume that should be considered.
- Saturated fat content – While the protein factors of bacon can help you to feel full, bacon has a large amount of saturated fats to go with that protein. This can raise your cholesterol levels and is bad for heart health.
” Bacon is high in sodium and that can raise your blood pressure.”
- Sodium -Bacon is high in sodium and that can raise your blood pressure, so this is a consideration when deciding the portion size of bacon you will ingest. Eat up, but keep your serving sizes tiny.
- Preservatives– When bacon is cured the process often includes a number of preservatives which can be bad for you and your baby. Again, moderating your servings is key.
- Additive considerations – Be choosy in your brands or research your favorites. Some bacon has additional components, like liquid smoke, wood smoke, and various types of sugars. The best thing is to take your favorite brand and break down the ingredients. Google them and see if there are any red flags. Odds are your brand is safe but one cannot be too careful.
Proper storage considerations
Yes, you can have your bacon while pregnant and we have established risks, benefits, and the value of moderation. There is another consideration to risk-avoidance and it is this. How do you properly store bacon? Well, for one, get it home fast from the store. Don’t drive dangerously, of course, but don’t take your time when it comes to raw meat. Properly stored, bacon can hang out safely in that refrigerator for up to 7 days in that vacuum-sealed package. You will want the refrigerator to be at least 40 degrees (no higher, but lower is always great!). If you’d like to freeze it, that’s fine too, just don’t keep it on ice for any longer than a month. Also, like any meats, don’t stick them close to veggies or other items that they could possibly contaminate.
If we have frightened you and you do not feel that the safety measures are adequate or desirable, there are always alternatives. Soy based bacons are one option if you are just craving the flavor. Turkey bacon is also yummy if those fats are your concern. Give them a try and see, you might find yourself craving them if it turns out baby likes those healthy options too.
Eating bacon when you are pregnant is perfectly safe as long as you moderate. While we started with the scary bits in this article, please remember this applies to any sort of meats and their proper handling. Enjoy that B.L.T., have your bacon and eggs, just avoid the temptation of eating the whole package. Until next time, have fun enjoying your bacon responsibly!