Eating Prosciutto When Pregnant: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally ate prosciutto when pregnant, you may get listeriosis, a serious infection that can harm you and your baby.

Prosciutto is a type of Italian ham that is cured in salt and air-dried for up to two years.

It is usually served thinly sliced and has a sweet and salty flavor with a buttery texture.

If you accidentally eat prosciutto when pregnant, you may be at risk of getting listeriosis, a food-borne illness caused by a bacteria called listeria.

Listeriosis can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, fever, headache, and muscle ache.

It can also spread to the nervous system and cause stiffness, convulsions, and confusion.

This is because prosciutto is not cooked with heat, which means it may contain harmful bacteria that can survive the curing process.

Listeria can cross the placenta and infect the fetus, leading to serious complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, birth defects, and even death.

Listeria can affect pregnant women more than non-pregnant people, as their immune system is weakened during pregnancy.

Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to develop listeriosis than the general population.

It is quite uncommon to eat prosciutto during pregnancy, as most health authorities advise pregnant women to avoid cured meats and other foods that may contain listeria.

However, some pregnant women may crave prosciutto or eat it unknowingly in restaurants or social gatherings.

You can prevent listeriosis by heating prosciutto until it is steaming hot before eating it, as this will kill any bacteria present.

You can also avoid cross-contamination by preparing prosciutto on separate surfaces and utensils from other foods.

If you have eaten cold prosciutto and have no symptoms, you do not need to see your doctor immediately, but you should mention it to him or her.

If you develop any signs of listeriosis, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible, as antibiotics can treat the infection and reduce the risk of complications.

To avoid accidental eating of prosciutto, you should read the labels of any packaged foods carefully and ask about the ingredients of any dishes you order or are served.

You should also avoid eating prosciutto at buffets, delis, or salad bars, where it may be exposed to contamination or not stored properly.

Finally, remember, prosciutto is a delicious and nutritious food, but it is not safe for pregnant women unless it is cooked thoroughly.

You can enjoy prosciutto after your pregnancy, or substitute it with other cooked meats that are safe for you and your baby.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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