Lunch Meat Vs. Prego

Updated on February 11, 2010
J.G. asks from Akron, OH
17 answers

OK ladies, I know this is going to be odd to hear from a mom who is carring her 5 kids, but I just read somewhere you aren't to eat lunch meat when you are prego because of bacteria. From what it said the bacteria can cause miscarrages... has anyone actually known someone who miscarried because of lunch meat bacteria or gotten sick from it. Reason I ask is because for the last few days - almost a week I have been hungry for and eating ham & swiss cheese sandwiches on wheat w/ lettus, miricle whip & honey mustard (which I ususally hate mustard). I ate lunch meat with my other kids without any issues... I was just trying to see if anyone has any input on the subject.

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So What Happened?

Thanks lady for all the comments & input - I was suprised at how many moms answered. I just wanted to let you know I talked to my doctor about eating lunch meat today... he said that since I'm not "high risk" and am very healthy (eventhough I'm a bit over weight) that it shouldn't hurt to eat lunch meat, but to make sure that it is fresh, which I watch anyways. That they are more consired when the mom-to-be is "high risk", because the don't want to add anything else to the risk factor. So, I guess it won't hurt for me to eat my ham & swiss sandwiches.

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answers from Philadelphia on

i heard it when i was second with my second daughter. I asked my ob/gyn about it and they laughed it off. I think it's up to you, what you feel safe doing! it's probably one of those things like the chances of getting hit by lightning are higher, you know?



answers from Boston on

In addition to lunch meat, be careful of eating soft serve ice cream. If the machines aren't properly cleaned out every night, Listeria can develop. Learned on the evening news when I was pregnant 13+ years ago.

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answers from Mansfield on

I found out about this too (at the end of my last pregnancy) when all I had eaten the entire time was sandwiches from Subway. I was told I should always have it warmed up... that cold lunch meat was where the problem came from. I heard this from a chiropractor so I do believe what I was told, scientific truth behind it, not just an old wives tale. If I get pregnant again, I would talk with these doctors again and make for sure I was doing what was right. However my daughter is now 4 and healthy... didn't have any problems during the pregnancy or delivery. She is healthy. But if I had known earlier on, I would have changed my diet. Thank God all my kids are fine.
Hope this helps :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I did alot of research on listeriosis during my 3rd pregnancy. My doc told me not to worry about it but it seemed as though ALOT of moms on various online boards were stressed about it. So I went to a local med school library and looked through medical journals and books and stuff in addition to online research. Know what? Don't worry about it!

Yes, IF you get it while pregnant it could result in a miscarry (most people just get sick with flu-like symptoms). HOWEVER, please look at the odds/chances and then make a decision based on what you are comfortable about. We take risks every single day. Of course, the most dangerous thing to do while pregnant is driving or riding in a car -- and yet pregnant people do it all the time. Or crossing a street. It boggles my mind that so many people are worried about something so remote as listeriosis but still get in a car. If you ride in a car just once during pregnancy you have a MUCH higher chance of hurting your unborn baby than if you ate cold cuts and hot dogs everyday for 9 months! Anyways... the odds are like 1 in 30 million of getting listeriosis... but only 1% of those who actually get it end up with serious problems, including miscarriage. In other words, you are much more likely to get hit by lightening, a few times, than hurting your baby by eating lunch meat.

In my opinion (and those of my doctors), there's enough stuff to stress about when pregnant... know the facts and then pick and choose what is really worth stressing about.

But one more thing... it's not just from hot dogs, lunch meat and soft cheeses... confirmed cases of listeriosis have come from eggs, shrimp, even pasteruized milk, among many other foods. So if you are avoiding lunch meat (and cold cuts aren't cold cuts if you have to eat them hot - yuck!) it doesn't make sense unless you avoid all other known sources, too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

The concern with lunch meat/hot dogs is a bacterial infection caused by Listeria, however it is VERY rare and your typical deli-meat from your grocery store is pretty safe. When I was pregnant I asked this same question of my doctor and he told me it was absolutely fine to eat deli-meat, heated or unheated. In his 25 years as an OB he'd never seen anyone with Listeria.

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answers from Honolulu on

I had a friend miscarry at 14 weeks because of Lysteria the bacteria that can be present in lunch meat. To be safe, heat the meat to the point it's steaming and then put it on your sandwich and it should be fine.



answers from Indianapolis on

Although I appreciate your inquiry and understand that you want to do what is best for your baby.....this is ludicrous to me! Women have been having babies for millions and millions of years without so many worries. Don't let all these "Scientist, and GURUS" scare you into living inside of a bubble. There is no way that I will believe that someone had a child die because the mother consumed salami. Sit back, relax, and enjoy life while you are pregnant. Don't worry so much.



answers from Indianapolis on

I am at the very end of my pregnancy and just found that out myself. However I have eaten turkey lunch meat sandwiches A LOT durin the pregnancy.

I read somewhere that the sodium levels might be bad, but sodium is high in a lot of different foods. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Just eat what your body is telling you it needs. Everyone's body reacts differently and if you aren't high risk I wouldn't worry at all.

Secondly in all my What to Expect when you are Expecting Book I never saw anything about lunch meat, and I followed all the other things it said not to eat. It's probably a conflicting idea that hasn't been fully proved and if you ate it with your other children then you are fine.

Heating it up in the microwave sounds like a good way to calm any fears. :)



answers from Orlando on

You also want to be wary of soft cheeses (feta, goat, blue...) while pregnant.


answers from Austin on

I know a number of women who miscarried or had a fetus die... but I've never asked what they ate before it happened...

I pan fry (in water) lunch meat, then let it cool normally and eat that in my sandwich--Of course, that would only work if you are making your sandwich at home.
(This website says 'Be cautious when eating hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats unless they are properly reheated to steaming or 160 degrees F.')

Swiss cheese is thought to be inconducive to listeria:

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

I have a good friend who caught listeria while pg from eating a hot dog. Fortunately, she didn't lose her baby but she was in the hospital for a while. While it is rare, some feel why take the risk. Chances are you'll be fine, but it is a known risk.



answers from Cleveland on

the issue is Listeria bacteria that can cause still births in pregnant women. As long as the lunch meat is pasteurized it is fine. Listeria is also the reason prego women should not eat soft cheeses like bleu. It is only a slight chance, but there was a recall recently on some deli meats due to Listeria contamination. If you want ham, just cook one and slice fro sandwiches and then there are no worries.



answers from Indianapolis on

I ate subway constantly with my 1st kid without any problems. I have heard this same thing though...


answers from Columbus on

HI there,
I was surprised to hear it on my second pregnancy also, but the solution I was given (although not always what I wanted) was to cook the lunch meat and boil the hot dogs. The problem is that the Listeria bacteria that sometimes is on the meat when its not properly refrigerated and such can get into the amniotic sac and affect the baby.
As far as meeting someone that miscarrage because of it, no, I don't know any one, but the thing with medicine now days is that if a few people had a problem with something, they'll alert everyone I guess to avoid legal problems.
Good luck, for some reason I also craved sandwiches when I was pregnant.



answers from Evansville on

I have never heard this but you might google it or call your ob and ask them...keep us posted on what you find out.



answers from Cleveland on

I think it's called listeria. Just heat your meat first.



answers from Cleveland on

I have heard about this. It is in the "what to expect" book, and my OB gave me some literature on it with my last pregnancy. They both say you can eat lunch meat if you heat the meat to a temp of 165. It's because of a bacteria called listeriosis. I've never heard of anyone miscarrying because of it, but I guess I feel like why take the chance? It's already a pain all the things you shouldn't eat, but it's only temporary right? I've also been told hotdogs fall in the same category, unless fully heated throughout.

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