Can You Eat Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

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By Lyndsay Hall | Updated on Dec 10, 2023
Image for article Can You Eat Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

Eating beef jerky during pregnancy isn’t a definitive yes or no; it depends on a couple things, the first being the type of jerky.

Some jerkies are fully dried and sold as shelf-stable, while other varieties might be sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Those that are sold in the deli section are an easy no, because even though the meats are cooked and/or cured, the risk of bad bacteria growing on them is increased, as they are more likely to fall into what we call the ‘temperature danger zone’. This is basically a temperature range where bacteria are more likely to thrive.

The shelf-stable jerky is possibly safe to consume in moderation, but because there is some variability around the temperature it is dried/cooked at (depending on the brand), there is a potential risk of foodborne illness with this variety as well.

Jerky also tends to be very high in sodium and often contains nitrates/nitrites, which aren’t the greatest for your overall health anyway. The last thing you need to worry about managing while preparing for a baby is high blood pressure!

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

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Lyndsay Hall
Updated on Dec 10, 2023

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Can You Eat Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

 Lyndsay Hall Profile Photo
By Lyndsay Hall | Updated on Dec 10, 2023
Image for article Can You Eat Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

Eating beef jerky during pregnancy isn’t a definitive yes or no; it depends on a couple things, the first being the type of jerky.

Some jerkies are fully dried and sold as shelf-stable, while other varieties might be sold in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Those that are sold in the deli section are an easy no, because even though the meats are cooked and/or cured, the risk of bad bacteria growing on them is increased, as they are more likely to fall into what we call the ‘temperature danger zone’. This is basically a temperature range where bacteria are more likely to thrive.

The shelf-stable jerky is possibly safe to consume in moderation, but because there is some variability around the temperature it is dried/cooked at (depending on the brand), there is a potential risk of foodborne illness with this variety as well.

Jerky also tends to be very high in sodium and often contains nitrates/nitrites, which aren’t the greatest for your overall health anyway. The last thing you need to worry about managing while preparing for a baby is high blood pressure!

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

Want evidence-based health & wellness advice for fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum delivered to your inbox?

Your privacy is important to us. By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.


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