One of the most common concerns among pregnant women is the consumption of medium-rare steak or meat, owing to the risk of contracting a foodborne illness.
We spoke to experts on the subject to end this doubt once and for all. Check out!
Medium Rare Stake During Pregnancy: Is It Ok Or Not?
Pregnant women are strictly prohibited from consuming medium rare stakes. Because Toxoplasma gondii eggs, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, can be found in them.
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most dangerous infections to contract during pregnancy, as it increases the risk of fetal malformations. It is typically an asymptomatic or flu-like infection with an incubation period of one to three weeks. Once this infection has passed throughout life, it will not repeat itself.
What Happens If The Mother Gets Infected?
The issue with this during pregnancy is that if the mother becomes infected, the disease can spread to the fetus and cause serious infection. The risk of infection and the severity of the lesions will be determined by the time of infection in the mother.
If the infection occurs during the first trimester, the risk of infection is around 10%, but it is higher in gestations of more than 28 weeks, specifically between 55-80%.
On the contrary, while the infection is more common in the final weeks of pregnancy, the consequences are much less severe because the organs of the unborn baby have formed. The lesions are usually at eye level (chorioretinitis), and they become more serious as the infection progresses. Early cases (first trimester), however, may result in severe brain damage.
Because toxoplasmosis is a disease that rarely causes symptoms, most people are only aware that they have been contaminated through blood tests. As a result, if your prenatal examination reveals that you have never had toxoplasmosis, you are a vulnerable pregnant woman who should limit your meat consumption.
Even if you have positive serology for toxoplasmosis, indicating immunity against the disease, we recommend that you avoid raw meat or undercooked meat because, in addition to toxoplasmosis, undercooked meat can cause other infections such as salmonella and risk of listeria, etc.
Should You Avoid All Red Meat?
Parasite eggs can be found in any raw meat, including beef, pork, chicken, duck, and turkey. Fortunately, these eggs can not survive the cooking process. Therefore, pregnant women can normally eat meat that has been cooked to the point or is well done.
How To Know If You Had Toxoplasma Gondii?
A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have passed the infection by detecting antibodies (defenses that our bodies develop against germs) against Toxoplasma gondii. It is done during the first trimester of pregnancy to determine the pregnant woman’s immune status and thus whether she should continue with the hygienic-dietary measures described by the physician.
These tests are repeated in the second and third trimesters in order to detect a possible infection in the mother and thus initiate treatment.
If you suspect that you have been infected based on the previous tests, you must rule out fetal infection. This is accomplished through amniocentesis, which determines the presence of the parasite in the amniotic fluid (fetal urine).
When fetal infection is suspected, the mother is given a series of antibiotics to prevent fetal infection sequelae.
It should be noted that breastfeeding is not prohibited in the presence of maternal toxoplasmosis.
What Can You Do To Prevent It?
If you are unsure whether you have this disease, you should avoid eating medium raw steak or raw meat. It is therefore advised to consume well-washed vegetables and increase water intake suitable for consumption. Hands should be washed after handling food. Wear gloves when gardening and thoroughly wash your hands. If you have cats, wash your hands thoroughly after handling them and avoid dealing with their feces.
Other Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
You should stay away from a few other foods while you are pregnant in addition to medium rare steaks.
Avoid eating high-mercury fish like Shark, Swordfish, Marlin, Tilefish, Big Eye Tuna steaks, Orange Roughy, and King Mackerel. This may obstruct your child’s brain and nervous system from developing normally.
Cut out raw shellfish like clams and oysters along with fish that is high in mercury.
Avoid raw or undercooked sprouts such as mung bean, alfalfa, radish, and clover. They might have salmonella or E. coli in them. However, you’re safe as long as you thoroughly cook.
Salads that are ready-to-eat foods are also not recommended because they may contain harmful bacteria like listeria bacteria.
If you have the urge to bake, go for it, but you shouldn’t lick the spoon after handling raw cookie dough or cake because it might contain salmonella.
Listeria can also grow on lunch meats, hot dogs, and unpasteurized dairy products. If you heat lunch meat to a steaming temperature and make sure the cheeses you buy were produced using pasteurized milk, you can safely eat lunch meat.
Ensure the pasteurization of ciders and juices as well. Bring your juice to a rolling boil and let it cook for at least a minute before consuming it if it hasn’t been pasteurized.
Super Foods For Pregnancy
Some foods may be off-limits, so you should try others. Brown rice, whole grain pasta, and other whole grains are all rich in iron, folic acid, and fiber, which are all healthy nutrients for both the mother and the unborn child.
With these, any kind of bean can be added to dishes to boost one‘s protein, iron, fiber, folate, zinc, and calcium content.
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in salmon and are good for your baby’s brain and eyes. Fish is also rich in B vitamins and protein. However, try to limit your weekly fish consumption to no more than 12 ounces and only consume mercury-free fish.
Several eggs should be scrambled in the morning. Make sure to thoroughly cook eggs to get the extra source of protein, amino acids, and vitamins that they offer for both you and your child.
Berries are a great source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, and potassium. You can eat them by the handful, or stir them into yogurt or oatmeal.
Yogurt with low fat is another wholesome pregnancy snack. The amount of calcium and protein in one cup of plain yogurt is actually higher than that of milk.
It is advised to avoid eating raw or undercooked meat dishes when expecting, particularly medium steaks. During this period, there is a considerable danger of contracting a food-borne disease, which can have serious effects on the unborn child.
Any type of meat product, as long as it has been prepared correctly, is safe to eat while pregnant. It is preferable to order well-done steaks and cook them to the prescribed minimum safe internal temperatures. Make sure safe temperature of the piece of steak is by checking the temperature with help of a meat thermometer.
If pregnant women have any worries about their diet, they should speak with their healthcare professionals.
Can food poisoning while pregnant hurt the baby?
Food poisoning can be severe if it occurs while you are pregnant. It’s crucial to notify your doctor straight away if you experience a risk of food poisoning while pregnant. For good reason, pregnant women should be concerned about food safety. Miscarriage, stillbirth, or early delivery are possible worst-case outcomes.
Which oily fish is suitable during pregnancy?
Consume a range of seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, such as salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, and trout from freshwater.
Is it safe to eat raw fish during pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises pregnant women to stay away from foods like hot dogs, lunch meats, and unpasteurized milk to help prevent listeriosis. This advice also applies to sushi made with raw fish. Additionally, eating raw seafood can expose your infant to extra mercury.
Can you have soft cheese during pregnancy?
Some milk products and dairy products, such as All hard cheeses, like cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyere. Pasteurized semi-hard and soft cheeses lacking an outside white coating, such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, feta, paneer, ricotta, halloumi, cream cheese, and cheese spreads (rind).
Is blue cheese crumbles safe during pregnancy?
Blue cheese crumbles, also called “Bleu Cheese,” are healthy if made from pasteurized milk. The kind that comes in tubs, for instance, is used as a salad dressing. They are safe if they are made with hard cheese rather than soft cheese.
Is instant coffee safe during pregnancy?
Up to 200 mg per day is safe for your infant if you are pregnant or nursing. The caffeine content in foods and beverages ranges between One cup of instant coffee has 60mg.