Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant? A Comprehensive Guide

Yes, pregnant women can eat jerky in moderation. However, it is important to choose the right type of jerky and make sure it is properly cooked to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.

Jerky made from beef, turkey, or chicken is generally safe for pregnant women to consume as long as it is low in salt and free from added preservatives. Pregnant women should also avoid consuming homemade jerky or products that have not been properly stored or refrigerated. In this article, we will discuss the safety of eating jerky during pregnancy, the potential benefits and risks, and some tips for safely enjoying this popular snack while pregnant.

Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant? A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding Jerky And Pregnancy

Defining Jerky

Jerky, a dried meat product, is consumed widely around the world. Generally, it is made from beef, pork, or turkey. The meat is sliced into thin strips, marinated in different seasonings, and then dried through various methods. Jerky is a high-protein and low-fat snack that is convenient for many people.

Importance Of Nutrient Intake During Pregnancy

The nutrition of an expecting mother is very important, as it not only affects her health but also the development and growth of her fetus. Among many essential nutrients, protein is one of the crucial ones, as it helps to build and repair tissues.

During pregnancy, the recommended daily protein intake is 71 grams for an average woman of 154 pounds. However, it’s important to choose the right type of protein source.

How Jerky Nutrition Benefits Expecting Mothers

Natural jerky, without added hormones or preservatives, is an excellent source of protein, iron, and zinc, which are essential for a healthy pregnancy.

  • Protein: one ounce of beef jerky (~28 grams) contains approximately 8-10 grams of protein, making it a great protein snack alternative for expecting mothers.
  • Iron: iron deficiency is a common issue for expecting mothers and can cause complications such as anemia. One serving of beef or turkey jerky can provide 10% of the recommended daily iron intake.
  • Zinc: zinc plays a vital role in the development of the fetus’s nervous and immune systems. Natural jerky is a good source of this essential nutrient.

However, it’s essential to note that some jerky products contain high levels of sodium and nitrates, which can be harmful to both mother and child. Therefore, expecting mothers should choose natural, low-sodium, and preservative-free jerky to reap the benefits.

Consuming jerky during pregnancy can be a healthy snack option, as long as it is natural and consumed in moderation. The high protein and nutrient content in jerky can help support the growth and development of the fetus while keeping the mother healthy.

Potential Risks And Benefits Of Eating Jerky While Pregnant

Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant?

Pregnancy can lead to some food aversions, while others may add to the cravings. Jerky is an interesting one that can go either way. Jerky is made by drying meat and, in some cases, adding preservatives like salt and nitrates to extend its shelf life and enhance flavor.

So, is jerky safe to consume while pregnant? Let’s take a deeper look at the potential risks and benefits of eating jerky while pregnant.

Risks Of Eating Jerky When Pregnant

Pregnancy is a crucial time to pay attention to the kind of foods and drinks you consume. Unfortunately, jerky can pose some risks for pregnant women due to its production process.

  • High sodium content: most types of jerky contain salt as a preservative. Excessive sodium intake can increase blood pressure, leading to preeclampsia in some pregnant women.
  • Nitrates: some kinds of jerky contain nitrates, which may transform into dangerous compounds known as nitrosamines. These have been linked to certain types of cancer.
  • Listeria monocytogenes: this specific bacteria can grow in jerky that isn’t stored properly. Listeria can cause severe illness in pregnant women, potentially harming the fetus.

Benefits Of Eating Jerky When Pregnant

Jerky is a tasty snack that packs a protein punch. Taking it in moderation and with care can be beneficial during pregnancy.

  • Protein intake: protein is essential for fetal growth. Jerky made from lean meat is a great protein source that aids in fetal development.
  • Iron intake: pregnant women commonly experience an iron deficiency due to an increased intake of blood. Jerky is a good source of iron, which helps in carrying oxygen to the baby.
  • Hunger cravings: morning sickness during the first trimester and midnight cravings are common. Jerky is an excellent snack to curb hunger cravings.

Consuming jerky while pregnant can go either way, with risks outweighing the benefits. It is important to pay close attention to the kind of jerky you consume, limit your consumption, and store it properly to avoid the risk of bacterial contamination.

Consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it’s safe for you and your baby.

Ensuring Safe Consumption Of Jerky During Pregnancy

Jerky has a reputation for being a high-protein and low-fat snack, which makes it a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts. However, when it comes to enjoying this dehydrated meat during pregnancy, expectant mothers may be wondering if the meaty treat is safe to consume.

Considerations For Eating Jerky Safely When Pregnant

Although pregnant women may find it tempting to snack on jerky, there are a few key points to keep in mind to ensure it is safe to consume during pregnancy.

  • The risk of bacterial contamination: jerky may contain bacteria such as e. Coli and salmonella, which pose a risk to the health of both the mother and the developing fetus. Ensure that the jerky is cooked or dried to the recommended temperature guidelines and is stored and handled safely.
  • The risk of high sodium intake: jerky can be quite high in sodium, which can cause or exacerbate high blood pressure, a condition that pregnant women are particularly susceptible to. Monitoring salt intake and looking for low-sodium options can help to mitigate this risk.

Alternatives To Eating Jerky During Pregnancy

If you are looking for some tasty and safe alternatives to jerky during your pregnancy, try these low-risk and nutrient-dense alternatives.

  • Fresh fruit: loaded with vitamins and fiber, fresh fruit is a great way to satisfy your sweet cravings while providing a nutritional boost for both you and your baby.
  • Nuts: rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, nuts are a great snack option that will keep you feeling full between meals. However, be sure to avoid flavors that are high in sodium or artificially seasoned.
  • Hummus: high in protein and fiber, hummus is a tasty and satisfying snack that can be enjoyed with a variety of fresh veggies for a nutrient-dense snack.

Remember, enjoying a balanced and varied diet during pregnancy is always the best way to ensure you and your baby’s health and wellness. And if you have any concerns or questions about the safety of specific foods during pregnancy, consult with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant?


Jerky is a popular snack with a unique taste and texture loved by many. Pregnant women can still enjoy this delicacy as long as they pay attention to the labels and ingredients. Opting for jerky varieties with low sodium and low preservatives, and avoiding homemade jerky that could be contaminated with bacteria is the way to go.

It’s also essential to moderate the consumption of jerky and combine it with a balanced diet to avoid any potential health risks. Additionally, consulting with a medical professional is always a good idea to get tailored nutritional advice. Overall, jerky can still be a part of a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy diet with a little bit of mindful consumption.