Are processed meats a hazard for pregnant mothers? - WTNZ FOX 43 Knoxville, TN

Are processed meats hazardous to pregnant mothers?

Pregnancy cravings can run the gamut, but one thing expectant moms should be wary of eating is processed meat. Dr. Elisa Ross is an obstetrician at Cleveland Clinic. She advises her patients to steer clear of processed meat including deli meats, sausage and hot dogs.

"One concern is the nitrates, which is the preservatives, but the other concern is the more processed the food is, the higher the chance that there could be bacterial contamination along the production line," says Dr. Ross.

The bacteria Dr. Ross is referring to is called listeria and can be found in undercooked or contaminated foods.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when passed through the placenta to a baby, listeria can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth and other serious problems once the baby is born.

However, Dr. Ross says if you're craving that hot dog, there is a way to make your meal safer: Steam it.

"Some women just can't live without their hot dogs or bologna, in which case we tell them to heat it up until it's steaming and make sure of that. As long as it's steaming, it's most likely bacterial contamination will be ineffective," she explains.

To avoid listeria contamination, the US Department of Agriculture also recommends pregnant women avoid eating soft cheeses like feta or brie, unrefrigerated pate or meat spreads, refrigerated or smoked seafood and unpasteurized milk products.

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