How do you cook that cut of beef you’ve got in the fridge now that you’re expecting?
Keeping on top of all your new pregnancy dietary rules can be a lot ‒ the number of dos and don’ts of eating while pregnant can be a little dizzying.
You may already know to stay clear of raw or rare meat while pregnant.
But what if it’s a little more cooked through than that?
Where do you draw the line?
Can you eat medium steak while pregnant?
How about medium-rare, or medium-well steak?
Here’s everything you need to know about eating steak the way you like it while pregnant.
In this article: 📝
- Can pregnant women eat medium-rare steak?
- Can pregnant women eat medium-well steak?
- Can you eat rare steak while pregnant?
- What temperature to order steak when pregnant?
- “I ate medium steak while pregnant, should I worry?”
Can pregnant women eat medium-rare steak?
The short answer here is a hard no.
The most important thing to remember when preparing meat while pregnant is: the more thoroughly it’s cooked, the safer it is to eat.
The main reason for this is that pregnant people are much more susceptible to listeriosis, an infection caused by bacteria called listeria which can be found in uncooked meat.
And although listeriosis is pretty rare, if you get it, you risk passing it on to your baby.
In extreme cases, this could lead to miscarriage, pre-term labor, or stillbirth.
As delicious as they may be, they’ve all been found to carry a risk of listeria.
If you’ve eaten a steak that seemed a little on the pink side, and you’re worried about an infection, keep an eye out for these symptoms of listeriosis:
- Mild flu-like symptoms, including a fever
- Muscle aches
It’s worth pointing out, though, that one of the main issues with listeriosis is that some people present no symptoms at all, so you may have it and not realize it.
So if you have any cause for concern, see a doctor as soon as you can.
Listeriosis can be treated with antibiotics, and the sooner you manage it, the better.
Sometimes, raw or undercooked meat can also lead to an infection called toxoplasmosis.
This is caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii.
More than 40 million people in the United States are likely infected with this parasite ‒ and many of them won’t even know it.
But if you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system, it can cause health issues.
It should be noted, that according to ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, routine serologic screening of pregnant women for toxoplasmosis is not recommended.
In the United States, prenatal screening for toxoplasmosis should be limited to women who are immunosuppressed or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive.
If you develop it during pregnancy, it can be harmful to your baby.
Chat with your health professional if you’re worried.
They will take the appropriate steps to assess you and your baby.
Can pregnant women eat medium-well steak?
It’s no longer raw or bloody, so it should be OK, right? Well, yes… and no.
Although there’s less risk in eating a medium or a medium well steak, our advice is to steer clear of anything that’s not piping hot all the way through.
The FDA advises that for pregnant people, steak should have an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.78 degrees Celsius) for it to be considered safe.
Those temperatures will minimize the risk of a bacterial infection.
Can you eat rare steak while pregnant?
The short answer is no, you shouldn’t eat rare steak while pregnant.
But, fear not!
There are plenty of other delicious options out there.
Have you tried a well-done steak with a side of sautéed veggies?
Or maybe a grilled chicken breast with some quinoa?
Remember, your little one needs all the nutrients they can get, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re putting into your body.
Plus, think of all the amazing meals you’ll get to indulge in once baby arrives!
What temperature to order steak when pregnant?
So what does that mean in practical terms for that delicious piece of steak you’ve been eyeing up for dinner?
Here’s a handy guide to the internal temperature of beef steaks at varying levels of done-ness:
- Blue: 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rare: 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit
- Medium-rare: 130-140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Medium: 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit
- Medium-well: 150-156 degrees Fahrenheit
- Well done: 160-210 degrees Fahrenheit
“I ate medium steak while pregnant, should I worry?”
First of all, worrying is a totally normal part of pregnancy.
But, in this case, you don’t need to be too concerned.
While it’s generally recommended to avoid undercooked meats during pregnancy, eating a medium steak once is unlikely to cause any harm.
It’s important to remember that pregnancy is not a black-and-white situation ‒ there’s always a bit of gray area.
That being said, if you start to feel any symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, you should always check in with your doctor, just in case it’s a case of toxoplasmosis or listeriosis.
But, more often than not, you and baby will be just fine.
So although a medium steak may technically be hot enough to pass the test in some cases, erring on the side of caution is always the way to go when it comes to you and your little one.
It’s best to follow the ‘no pink’ rule:
If there’s any trace of blood or pink, stick it back on the grill for a bit longer.
The same goes for lamb, burgers, and any other meats you may have previously enjoyed with a little pink in the middle.
You definitely don’t have to forgo steak altogether, though.
Beef can be a good source of dietary iron, which you’ll need lots of as your baby grows.
Just make sure it’s well done, and you’re good to go!