Pregnant women, pay attention to how to process and consume meat safely

Processing and consuming meat during pregnancy must be done properly and safely. The reason is, during pregnancy the immune system tends to decrease. This makes pregnant women more at risk of infection with bacteria and parasites in food, especially in red meat and chicken.

Red meat and chicken provide iron, protein, and vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to consume 3 servings of meat every day, which is about 65 grams of beef or goat or 80 grams of chicken.

Risks of Consumption of Meat that is Not Properly Processed

It is important for pregnant women to pay attention to the level of maturity of the meat before consuming it. If pregnant women eat raw or undercooked meat, pregnant women will be more at risk of infection due to the content of bacteria and parasites in the meat. This condition can certainly be dangerous for pregnancy.

Here are some bacteria in meat that can pose a health risk to pregnant women and their fetuses:

1. Listeria

Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to develop listeriosis than the average person. The dangers that may arise in pregnant women with listeriosis are miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, babies born with low birth weight, meningitis, and bacteremia.

2. Toxoplasma

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the Toxoplasma parasite. If pregnant women consume meat contaminated with Toxoplasma, this must be addressed immediately because it will cause serious problems for the health of pregnant women and fetuses, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and nerve damage.

3. Salmonella

Eating meat contaminated with salmonella bacteria can cause pregnant women to experience high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. This condition is at risk of making the baby born prematurely or even miscarriage.

4. E. coli

Although it rarely causes complications, infection with E. coli bacteria in pregnant women can cause damage to the lining of blood vessels or kidney failure. This condition is often characterized by symptoms of bloody stools during pregnancy.

Tips for Processing Meat to be Safe for Pregnant Women

In order to avoid the risk of infection, pregnant women need to be more careful in preparing meat as part of the diet, starting from choosing, storing, to processing it into a dish.

Here are some tips for processing meat safely and appropriately:

  • Choose meat that is still fresh when shopping, and avoid meat that has turned dark or browned, has an unpleasant odor, or feels hard or slimy.
  • Avoid buying meat whose packaging has been damaged, leaked, or torn because it may have been contaminated with germs.
  • Store the meat in a closed container, then cool in the refrigerator (freezer) at a temperature of about 4 ° Celsius.
  • If the meat will not be processed more than 4 days ahead, refrigerate the meat at -18°C and store the meat in the freezer.
  • Make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked when cooked. Cook beef, lamb, and goat until they reach 63°C. Ground beef and chicken need to be cooked at 71°C.
Meat that looks cooked or browned from the outside doesn't necessarily mean it's completely cooked on the inside. Therefore, pregnant women should cut the thick part of the meat or slice the meat into thin strips, so that the meat is easier to cook evenly when cooked.

Then, what about processed meat or deli meat that has been cut, cooked, and ready to serve? This meat is usually found in sandwiches, burgers, or salads.

This kind of meat is not recommended for pregnant women to consume, because it is at risk of being contaminated with parasites and bacteria. However, if you have to eat it, pregnant women can make sure this meat has been cooked to a temperature of 75° C.

After knowing how to process meat safely, pregnant women can still enjoy meat healthily. With proper processing, pregnant women can get the best nutrition from meat which is also needed by the fetus.

If necessary, consult a gynecologist for more information about the safety of processing and consuming meat for pregnant women.