Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant?

Know why it’s better to avoid consuming foods like jerky and the other safe alternatives for pregnant women.

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Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant?

Jerky refers to foods containing protein-rich, enjoyable, satisfying, and pleasurable salty snacks that are easy to chew and munch on when you are in a hurry or on the go. 

Well, just because something is a yummy snack alternative, pre- pregnancy does not naturally mean it will carry on to be during the time of pregnancy.

According to Dr. Shivani Patel (MD, an associate professor and a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, UT Southwestern), in general, women can eat cooked meats during pregnancy because they are only safe while pregnant. 

Jerky is mostly created by drying the meat. But, jerky is not made by cooking it. So, it’s a warning not to eat jerky during pregnancy as it can be harmful to you as well as your little one resting in your womb.

Now, if you are wondering about the alternatives that you can eat while pregnant without any worry, which will be safe for your baby, why you shouldn’t eat jerky while pregnant and many more, then this article is for you!

Can You Eat Jerky While Pregnant?
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    Eating Jerky While Pregnant

    Eating jerky is never secure during pregnancy. According to the explanation stated by Yaffe Lvova ( A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), the owner of Baby Bloom Nutrition), jerky is not cooked the way the word “cook” conveys in the traditional sense. 

    To make jerky, we have to dry it in a process that mainly happens in low temperatures for a long period. 

    As a result, meats dried up in low temperatures are more likely to contain bacteria or fungi such as E. Coli, increasing a greater risk of infection for the eater. 

    Moreover, though most sprains of E. Coli are not that much harmful or just cause some interim digestive woes, infection with definite and rare sprains often leads a pregnant woman to fatal death.

    Keep in mind that jerky also contains high amounts of salt and its intake can pose the risk of high blood pressure. And, high blood pressure can cause constant headaches, plus potential organ damage, swollen feet, and hands, breathing problems, and may increase the possibility of heart disease.

    So, before eating anything during pregnancy, you must consult with your doctor or dietitian about what to eat and what not.

    Is Eating Jerky During Pregnancy Safe For Baby?

    Since consuming jerky can practically compromise or deteriorate your immune system, which you also have to compromise during pregnancy, eating jerky is not safe for both you and your baby while pregnant.

    Salty jerky snacks may lead to an increasing rate of blood pressure while pregnant which poses risks for your baby including low birth weight, preterm birth, poor fetal growth, stillbirth, and placental abruption. 

    However, if a pregnant woman contracts a bacterial infection, it may affect them temporarily but also can cause fetal death in some rare cases.

    Why You Should Avoid Jerky During Pregnancy?

    The best option is to avoid eating jerky during pregnancy because it may affect your immune system as we mentioned before. Furthermore, jerky snacks makes the immune system compromised which can cause a risk of illness.  

    When your little one starts growing, your immune system modifies to ensure that your body doesn’t refuse the fetus. 

    Although this will not make the immune system overall weaker, this increases the chances of shrinking certain types of infections, like those that can come from bacteria from jerky snacks.

    What Are The Risks Of Eating Jerky During Pregnancy?

    Since jerky foods make the immune system deteriorate, a pregnant person can face greater chances of contracting determined infections. 

    However, non-cooked (dried) meats pose the risk of growing bacterial infections and parasite toxoplasmosis-related infections. 

    Based on the bacterial sprain, infections that E. Coli causes in pregnant women can ensue or result in urinary tract infections or fetal death (in some rare cases). 

    Research published on pediatrics has revealed that of babies born to mothers who had infections of parasite toxoplasmosis, 30% of them are more likely to have very low IQs, 60% of the babies are more to have smaller heads than the normal ones and few of them also has the risks to become deaf because of this infection. 

    Jerky also contains a lot of salt that may cause kidney diseases and other medical issues related to blood pressure, and breathing problems if women eat during pregnancy. 

    If you are already suffering from high blood pressure problems, you can face the risk of preeclampsia, which is a part of high blood pressure while pregnant that may damage the growth of the stunt baby as well as the organs of the pregnant individual.

    When Can You Restart Eating Jerky?

    While growing their little ones in their womb, jerky-lover moms will have to skip their favorite tasty snack. A research study found in the American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology has revealed that the levels of immune cells start to increase and come back to normal functioning about three months postpartum, so until then you may have to wait to resume eating jerky. 

    What Are The Safe Alternatives You Can Eat During Pregnancy

    There are many more snacks a pregnant woman can select that will please their salty and spicy cravings, are savory, and are safe to eat while pregnant.

    Seaweed Snacks

    Perhaps not a perfect or accurate choice, crunchy and crispy seaweed snacks may satisfy your jerky craving. Dr. Lvova suggested that you can eat food by adding seaweed to them besides eating seaweed snacks as it will provide you with a similar taste to jerky. 

    Seaweed is one of the most lavish foods containing iodine, a vestige element that plays an important role in healthy thyroid functioning and also keeps your metabolism droning during pregnancy.


    According to Dr. Patel’s suggestion, chewing on olives helps to reproduce the savory taste of beef jerky. 

    Olives are lavish and rich in monounsaturated fats, which play the lead role in the eye and brain development of the baby as well as lower the chances of developing high blood pressure while pregnant. 

    Trail Mix

    A classic and typical trail mix can imitate the texture, convenience, and flavor of beef jerky. Lvova advised eating dried fruits as they can give a similar bite, while the spice and salt and the satisfaction could be reproduced by nuts. 

    In addition, the nuts help in energizing protein, and the dried fruits will help you gain a dose of immune-boosting antioxidants.


    As we mentioned above briefly about the risks of eating jerky snacks during pregnancy, why you shouldn’t eat while pregnant when you can restart eating jerky, what are the pregnancy alternatives you can consume instead of jerky- everything we pointed out above. 

    Because the jerky is dried and non-cooked, you should avoid eating it specifically when it can make your immune system worse during pregnancy. 

    As a result, avoiding it can lower the risk of causing bacterial infection and lessen the harmful effects on your baby, so that both you and your baby will be healthier. But, instead of jerky, you can eat other savory and tasty snacks. 

    But ultimately, we always advise you to consult with dieticians or doctors, or gynaecologists about these matters, so that you can eat or make choices without any worries to keep your baby and yourself safe and healthy.

    Hope this was very helpful and made you learn new things about the consequences of eating jerky while pregnant and the pregnancy alternatives that you can eat safely.

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