If you're in the first few weeks of pregnancy, you've probably already heard that "it is recommended not to eat Iberian ham or cold cuts," but why? What cold cuts can a pregnant woman eat and which ones should be avoided?
At Enrique Tomás, we'll explain it thoroughly to take care of your health and the health of the little one on the way.
Let's get started!
Why is it not recommended to eat ham and cold cuts?
When a woman becomes pregnant, her doctor performs a blood test to determine which diseases the expectant mother may be more exposed to, and toxoplasmosis is one of them.
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease that can be contracted by consuming raw or undercooked meats, spoiled foods, untreated water, or by handling cat feces without protection. Although toxoplasmosis can go unnoticed in a woman's life, during pregnancy, caution is needed because it can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
To avoid risks, doctors recommend not eating ham or chorizo, salchichón, and lomo during pregnancy, but is it an absolute restriction? It depends on the results of the toxo-test, the test that determines whether a woman has had this disease before or not.
If the mother tests positive on the toxo-test, meaning her body has already encountered this parasite, there's no problem; she can eat ham and cold cuts without any issues. However, if the test result is negative, it means the mother has never had this disease.
In this case, the expectant mother must avoid contracting it at all costs because if her immune system faces this parasite and can't defend itself, not only she but also the fetus may be exposed. The baby can suffer from congenital toxoplasmosis, which can cause symptoms ranging from fever to blindness.
In this case, you should NOT eat ham or cold cuts under any circumstances, even if they have been previously frozen. Why? The toxoplasmosis parasite cannot survive at temperatures below -20°C for more than two days or at -10°C for three days. Although the odds of killing it are high, they are not 100% certain.
To avoid unnecessary risks, do not consume Iberian ham because its curing process is for preservation, not cooking, and therefore, ham and cold cuts are semi-raw meats in which this parasite can be contracted.
So, What Cold Cuts Can a Pregnant Woman Eat if She Tests Negative?
It's clear that your diet will undergo slight changes, and one of them is that, for example, during pregnancy, you'll have to prepare different types of sandwiches. Cooked ham or turkey accompanied by your favorite cheese is an option, but be sure the cheese is not fresh. If you need more information about which cold cuts are healthy, Enrique Tomás can rank them from healthiest to least healthy for you.
Keep in mind that it's a sacrifice you have to make for only nine months, and in return, you and your baby will enjoy robust health. When you see your baby's face, you'll realize it was all worth it! So, what cold cuts can a pregnant woman eat?
Follow our recommendations, and everything will be fine!