Pregnancy

Eating Steak When Pregnant: How To Keep You & Your Baby Safe

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Delicious, tender and bursting with flavor, who doesn’t like a beautifully cooked, succulent steak!

You may know that certain foods like beef jerky aren’t safe for pregnant women, but what about steak?

If you enjoy eating beef and are concerned about the thought of giving up steak for 9 months, the good news is you don’t need to worry.

Pregnant women can safely eat steak, provided the meat is thoroughly cooked so that the internal temperature is 160° F, which in practice means cooking until it’s well done.

How Should I Order My Steak While Pregnant?

If you are craving some red meat while pregnant, the good news is that unlike beef jerky, steak is fine for pregnant women to eat.

However, if you’re expecting then it’s important the meat is cooked thoroughly to avoid the risk of getting toxoplasma or becoming ill from some other bacteria.

According to the FDA, the internal temperature of meat consumed by pregnant women should reach 160° F (71° C).

In terms of what this looks like, meat which has safely been safely cooked for consumption by pregnant women will usually:

  • Feel firm to touch
  • Have no blood
  • Not have any visible red meat
  • Be slightly pink in the middle

In practice this means the steak should be cooked either “medium well” or “well done”, so that’s what you should ask for in a restaurant.

Can I Eat Rare Steak While Pregnant?

If you normally enjoy your steak on the rare side, you will unfortunately need to make a change while pregnant.

Pregnant women should not eat rare or blue steak during their pregnancy, because it may cause an illness called toxoplasmosis, which can be harmful both to you and your unborn baby.

Can I Eat Medium Rare Steak While Pregnant?

A lot of people enjoy their steak cooked medium rare, because at this degree of doneness the steak is warm, juicy and full of flavor.

However, if you are pregnant then unfortunately medium rare steaks are off the menu as this degree of doneness doesn’t result in a high enough cooking temperature.

As we saw above, pregnant women should ensure the internal temperature of the meat they eat reaches 160° F (71° C).

A medium rare steak will usually be warm in the middle, with an internal temperature of only 130°-140°F, which is well below the recommended 160° F.

Can I Eat Medium Steak While Pregnant?

Many moms-to-be understandably wonder if a medium steak is safe to eat while pregnant.

Although you might think that a medium steak is thoroughly cooked, the internal temperature will only be 140°-150°F if cooked to a medium degree of doneness.

This temperature is not high enough to kill bacteria or toxoplasma, so it’s therefore not safe to eat medium steaks while expecting.

Can I Eat Medium Well Steak While Pregnant?

Steaks which are cooked medium well are borderline when it comes to safe consumption for pregnant women.

The internal temperature of medium rare steak is normally 150°-160°F, so while the upper end of this limit is fine, at 150°F the lower end is still under the minimum temperature that the FDA recommends for pregnant women.

So to be on the safe side, it may be best to order your meat well done when you’re eating out in a restaurant.

The exception is if you request that the chef checks the temperature is 160°F using a thermometer before the steak is served to you.

Can I Eat Well Done Steak While Pregnant?

Yes, pregnant women can safely eat steak that has been thoroughly cooked, and steaks which are well done fall into this category.

Well done steaks have an internal temperature when cooked of over 160°F, which is high enough to kill bacteria and listeria.

If you are not used to eating steak which has been cooked for this long, you could try some of these tips to improve the flavor:

  • Choose cuts that are fattier or well marbled, such as a ribeye (rather than a fillet).
  • Add extra sauce such as peppercorn or condiments like mustard.
  • Thinly slice the steak and eat it with rich food such as cheesy vegetables or onions.

Can You Eat Pink Steak While Pregnant?

The common definition of a pink steak is one which has been cooked to a medium or medium-rare level of doneness.

This degree of cooking is popular with a lot of people because it results in a steak which is warm or hot, juicy and packed full of flavor.

But is a pink steak safe to eat while pregnant?

Unfortunately moms-to-be should not eat steak which is pink in the middle, because this would be classified as undercooked for pregnant women, and could lead to illnesses like toxoplasma which may harm you and your baby.

The important thing to remember however is that you should not rely on what a steak looks like to determine whether it’s safe to eat.

You should instead use a food thermometer to check whether your steak or meat is thoroughly cooked.

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