In the world there are many types of foods that may be good for you and safe to consume when you are expecting a baby. There are as well many ones that you should avoid. The amount of information that exists right now about food to eat during pregnancy may even look overwhelming.
But some of these products fall into a very distinct category. So far, we explored that undercooked meats and other products would be risky to consume during gestation; but, some of them are normally consumed “raw”, directly from the package.
What could possibly be this kind of food? Ham is the best example. So, let’s find out can I eat cooked ham while pregnant? It may be counter intuitive given that you buy ham directly from the market and not even cook it, just eat it, right?
Is it safe to eat ham while pregnant?
As many of the previous questions in other articles, you may be saying to yourself: Can I eat cooked ham while pregnant? After all, in all those cases we talked about before, it is all about cooking the meat properly and keeping it at a certain internal temperature. So, is it safe to eat ham while pregnant?
The main worry about undercooked or raw meats is the risk of listeria; this is a dangerous bacterium for pregnant women and their babies. This worrying thing can cause a type of food poisoning known as listeriosis. This could be a very bad time for you and, most importantly, the little baby growing inside.
But, the solution to avoid a listeriosis during expectancy is fairly simple: Good cooking practices. Always wash your hands before starting making food and cook it properly to ensure good internal temperatures. Store the rest in the fridge when is not being eaten (you need to heat it again when you are going to eat it); reheat or discard it if necessary.
About buying outside in a market, make sure the conditions are properly followed for hygiene. You do not want to buy in a place with flies, where the space is not clean, and where the meat does not look good. It is always best to pay a little bit more for peace of mind.
Can pregnant women eat precooked ham?
In the vast world we live in, there are always room for variation. In the case of ham, it is possible to find them in many iterations. So, when you are asking “Can I eat cooked ham while pregnant?”, it is possible to also ask if pregnant women can eat precooked ham?
But first, let’s talk about the precooked ham thing. This type of ham is the usual type you find on your main supermarket. It could come in slices or in an entire piece, and it is also known as city ham or smoked ham, given that it is prepared to be wet-cured or smoked after curing.
These are amazing for the kitchen because you do not need to prepare them a lot, they are technically “precooked” after all. After buying the piece you want, you can just take it out of the package and cook it to a certain temperature, this one being 325 degrees Fahrenheit (or 162 degrees Celsius), 15 minutes every pound and depending if it is deboned or not.
Also, you should know that these city hams can be consumed cold as well. This should not be a problem for women that are expecting a baby; as we discuss before, these kinds of hams are already precooked, usually by wet-curing them and then smoking them. This makes them a less likely source of bacteria like listeria.
What kinds of ham pregnant women shouldn’t eat?
After talking about the answer to Can I eat cooked ham while pregnant? And telling you that kind of ham should not be an issue for consumption during pregnancy, we need to talk about the other side of the coin. What they should avoid? What kinds of ham pregnant women should not eat?
For starters, every kind of ham that you can consume cold or raw is not necessarily the safest when you are expecting a baby; quite simply because of listeria and other parasites and bacteria. Sure, the methods for keeping the hygiene during production have come a long way, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
One of the most popular hams that falls into this category is the Parma ham. Also called as prosciutto, it is a kind of ham that comes from Italy. The issue with this one is that is air dried, which means leaving it in a dark room to make the air do its thing. It tastes amazingly, but it can be risky for women that are expecting.
Another one is the “jamón serrano”, or Serrano ham in Spanish. It is similar to the Parma ham in the way is prepared and how it is consumed. It is a delicious type of ham which differs from the prosciutto in the origin of the meat. Nevertheless, this is also one of the hams a woman should not eat when expecting.
To wrap things up about Can I eat cooked ham while pregnant, you need to know that you can keep eating your favorite city ham that you buy normally from a supermarket. It is safe enough to not pose a risk of listeria, other bacteria or parasites for you and your incoming baby.
What you also need to know is that the types of hams that are air dried like the Serrano ham, and the prosciutto or Parma ham can be quite dangerous to eat as they are, without cooking, while you are expecting a baby. The air can have many particles that can contaminate them.
And finally, precooked ham. Yes, as we said before, it is safe for consumption during pregnancy, given the way it is produced. This kind of ham is wet cured at first and then smoked at the end; this makes it a bad place for the bacteria. Even then, you can also cook it for peace of mind.