Many expectant mothers wonder if they can eat frozen ham during pregnancy because, as it's not advisable to consume raw or undercooked meats during pregnancy, and Iberian ham is one of them, they hope to enjoy this delicacy without putting the baby at risk.
But, is this question on your mind?
Well, here's the solution!
Why it's recommended not to eat ham
The first thing to know is that the recommendation not to eat ham is to protect the health of both the mother and the baby from diseases that can be very dangerous during pregnancy, such as toxoplasmosis.
This is a parasitic infection that can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked meats, drinking contaminated water, or handling cat feces. Although many women may have had it in their lifetime without realizing it, it becomes very dangerous during pregnancy because it poses a risk to both the mother and the baby.
If the mother's body were exposed to the toxoplasmosis parasite during these nine months and contracted it, it could lead to health problems, and the fetus could also develop congenital toxoplasmosis, which can cause symptoms such as fever or diarrhea, but also more serious complications like blindness.
The precautions to take
To determine whether the mother has antibodies that protect her from toxoplasmosis or not, her doctor will conduct a test during the early weeks of pregnancy to assess the risk of various diseases.
If the woman has already had toxoplasmosis, there is no risk, and she can eat ham or cold cuts without worries. However, what if she hasn't had it?
In such cases, that's when expectant mothers wonder if they can eat frozen ham during pregnancy, as subjecting the meat to sub-zero temperatures can kill the parasite.
But, is it completely safe? No, that's why it's discouraged.
Since it's better to be safe than sorry, it's usually recommended to err on the side of caution and avoid ham and cold cuts during pregnancy, no matter how delicious they may be. Additionally, it's important to consider that freezing is a preservation process that can alter the flavor and texture of Iberian ham, chorizo, salchichón, or loin. As masters of ham and all the culture surrounding it, we want to preserve the quality of our star products.
Each piece has required a lot of time, care, and dedication to produce, and freezing the meat would compromise all the work of the master ham producers. Trust us; we don't want that to happen.
In order to protect the mother, the baby, and, of course, ensure the enjoyment of Iberian ham and cold cuts, at Enrique Tomás, we recommend not freezing the piece and, since pregnancy is only nine months, temporarily giving up this delicacy. If you want, you can prepare sandwiches with cooked ham, turkey, or cheese. Just be sure that if you choose cheese, it shouldn't be fresh.
So, can you eat frozen ham during pregnancy? If you haven't had toxoplasmosis and you've been advised not to eat ham, it's better to follow that advice.
Remember, you only have to go without it for nine months, you'll be able to enjoy it again once the baby is born!