They’re quick, convenient, and easy to eat, even if you’re dealing with pregnancy nausea. Unfortunately, hot dogs are also pretty high on a lot of people’s lists of foods to avoid during pregnancy. So what’s the big problem? Can pregnant women eat hot dogs?
What’s the matter with hot dogs during pregnancy?
You’re probably noticed that lots of people have lots of opinions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing (or eating) during pregnancy. You don’t necessarily have to listen to all of them but, it can sometimes be worth paying attention, just to be on the safe side.
The two main concerns about hot dogs during pregnancy are:
- They’re not particularly good for you, and they’re not going to cover a lot of nutritional bases for either you or your baby. (But let’s be honest, that probably wasn’t why you were craving one in the first place.)
- Hot dogs have been linked to a pretty nasty form of food poisoning called listeriosis.
Eating hot dogs while pregnant carries the same risk as eating any other kind of deli meat which has been pre-cooked and then served cold. They can become contaminated by a type of bacteria called listeria after they’ve been pre-cooked. It’s this type of bacteria that can cause listeriosis.
So, can pregnant women never have hot dogs?
Does that mean you should avoid the risk completely and leave hot dogs off the menu?
Listeria is a horrible bacteria and it’s important to be aware of the risks. But it’s also pretty easy to kill if food is cooked all the way through. If your hot dog has been grilled or boiled to an internal temperature of 165°F, it’ll be safe to eat.
And that’s the key — to always cook a hot dog thoroughly before you eat it, regardless of whether you think it has been pre-cooked.
Eating hot dogs while pregnant becomes more complicated when you’re not cooking them yourself.
For example, street vendors often keep their hot dogs warm in water, but that water’s not usually hot enough to remove the risk of food poisoning. This could allow for a small possibility of listeria infection, meaning it might be best to wait until your peanut is born before you grab one of these old favorites again.
So, if you’re in control, eat hot dogs to your heart’s content. If someone else is doing the cooking and you can’t see it happening, it might be best to steer clear.
What about other comfort foods while pregnant?
Can I eat a burger while pregnant?
As an alternative to hot dogs, burgers can be a safer option because they’re usually cooked fresh and to a higher temperature. Again, it’s the cooking that matters.
Just make sure that your burger has been cooked until there’s no pink left inside and it’s steaming hot before you eat it.
Can eating spicy food while pregnant harm the baby?
Got a craving for chili dogs? Don’t worry. Spicy foods won’t harm your little peanut. Some people swear that if your baby is ready to put in an appearance, a little chili will give them the “push out the door” that they need. We can’t prove that’s true, but we do know that spicy foods won’t do anything to hurt unborn babies.
On the other hand, think about yourself, mama. While your little one might not care that you’re ladling on the hot sauce, it definitely can lead to heartburn, which is already a pretty unpleasant pregnancy symptom. Maybe keep the antacids on hand if you are going to turn up the heat.
If you’re still stumped for pregnancy-safe meals and snacks, take a look at 14 scrummy foods to eat while pregnant, what to eat when pregnant (a vitamin by vitamin account), and our pregnancy meal plan.
And don’t forget, you can talk about all things cravings, weird pregnancy rules, and perfect backyard BBQs with other women in the Peanut community.
More on pregnancy foods:
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pork?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Deli Meat?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Salami?
Can You Eat Medium Rare Steak While Pregnant?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Bacon?
Can You Eat Mayo While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant?