Can You Have Beef Jerky When Pregnant?

Can You Have Beef Jerky When Pregnant?

Beef jerky is a versatile, healthy, protein-rich snack that can be munched on at any point. Not only is beef jerky nutritious, but it is also tasty, making it an easy go-to. However, during pregnancy, a lot of things happen; hormones change, and these changes may affect your bodily functions. Thus, a healthy pre-pregnancy snack may be an unhealthy snack during pregnancy. So, as a pregnant woman, you must be extremely careful about what you eat to ensure your health and that of your baby.

But again, there are pregnancy cravings, which are sometimes weird combinations of foods. So, perhaps you’re craving beef jerky and wondering if it’s safe to consume it. Here, we’ll answer the question “Can you have beef jerky when pregnant?” and also discuss other key factors to note about eating beef jerky during pregnancy.


Can You Have Beef Jerky When Pregnant?

Beef jerky is a safe go-to snack before pregnancy. However, it may be unsafe for you during pregnancy because of how it is prepared.


What Are the Risks of Eating Beef Jerky During Pregnancy?

Beef jerky is a simple, protein-rich, tasty snack. However, you may need to rethink eating it during pregnancy for the risk of foodborne disease because smoking and drying meat cut down the chances of bacterial contamination, but it doesn’t eliminate it. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot eat meat during pregnancy, but it is best to eat only cooked meat.

The Risks

Food Poisoning

While you’re not bulletproof to food poisoning when not pregnant, pregnancy makes you more vulnerable because of the impact pregnancy has on your immune system. So, while your system might find it easy to fight bacteria pre-pregnancy, it may have some difficulty doing the same during pregnancy.


Toxoplasmosis is a disease condition caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite. This disease is usually caused by eating undercooked contaminated meat and/or exposure to infected cat feces. Toxoplasmosis may cause symptoms like headaches, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, lung inflammation, etc., and the condition may be passed from mother to child during pregnancy. This condition is especially risky in pregnancy because while it is a common condition and may clear up on its own in healthy individuals, it may result in birth defects during pregnancy.

A Spike in Blood pressure

Again, cravings cannot be plotted on a graph. So, sometimes a little beef jerky may put your cravings to rest, and other times you want to consume beef jerky in large quantities. Salt is often used generously in beef jerky—which isn’t bad in itself—but may cause a spike in your blood pressure if consumed in large quantities.

A high salt intake may cause symptoms like swollen hands and feet, persistent headaches and difficulty breathing in pregnancy. Furthermore, a high blood pressure during pregnancy increases your risk of preterm labor and premature delivery.


Frequently Asked Questions:

But beef jerky isn’t raw meat; why is it unsafe for me?

Indeed, beef jerky isn’t raw meat. However, it is worthy of note that it isn’t cooked conventionally—boiled. Jerky is dried at a high temperature, which kills some bacteria that can cause food poisoning. However, drying meat is not enough to eliminate all microorganisms that may be present in beef.

Is beef jerky safe for my baby?

No, each pregnancy is different and, as such, you should contact your doctor for advice. Just remember, whatever compromises your immune system during pregnancy or introduces harmful protozoans is neither safe for you nor your baby.

Why is beef jerky healthy pre-pregnancy but unsafe in pregnancy?

Pregnancy compromises your immune system, so what your body would normally fight easily pre-pregnancy might make you sick during pregnancy.

When can you have beef jerky when pregnant?

It is advised that you stay away from jerky throughout pregnancy. A study from the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology discovered that the immune system and function start to return to normal about three months after birth. So, it’s a great idea to resume jerky eating about three months postpartum.

I’m craving beef jerky. What alternatives can I have instead?

Don’t worry if your beef jerky craving just won’t leave; there are other suitable options you can consider. Try having a well-cooked steak flavored with spices (you’ll be surprised by how much black pepper can work wonders). Alternatively, you could try plant-based jerky. Just be careful not to overdo it.

Can I have homemade jerky when pregnant?

No, store-bought or homemade, the same rule applies. Avoid undercooked meat.


Beef jerky is a healthy, protein-rich snack that is safe to have at any time of the day. However, if you’re pregnant, it is best to seek counsel from your doctor to ascertain that it is safe for you and your baby.

And don’t worry, whenever you’re ready to enjoy the satisfying taste of beef jerky again, we’ll be here to offer you the healthy, preservative-free, best-tasting ones in various flavors.

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