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Can You Eat Chicken Salad While Pregnant?

In 2020, there is a lot of knowledge regarding the safety of food, but what about those same foods during pregnancy? Is there any reason that pregnant women shouldn’t eat certain foods that a non-pregnant would have no problem-consuming?

It’s difficult to keep tabs on all the do’s and don’ts in pregnancy, but certain foods are not good for women with a baby in their womb to consume.

Let’s go over one of the most loved salads in the United States, a summertime favorite, and one that people consume on a regular basis – chicken salad.

If you’re pregnant you might be wondering if you can still have your favorite chicken salad, a lot of changes during pregnancy, how do your eating habits change too?

Why Is Chicken Salad Potentially Dangerous

If you usually grab lunch to go to, from the deli, you might want to leave the chicken salad off your plate. The reason is that you have absolutely no idea how it was prepared, and there is a potential risk in consuming any food you don’t make yourself. While the risk may be low, it still exists. 

Listeria could be in any pre-made meat dishes

Listeriosis monocytogenes, better known as listeria, is a very harmful bacteria that can cause infection in anyone, but especially among the pregnant population. Any pre-made meat dishes are at a higher risk of containing listeria.

Pregnant women who eat a contaminated chicken salad that has listeria could become very sick afterward.

The reason that pregnant women are at a higher risk for catching listeria is due to her immune system already being overworked to keep the body and baby she is growing safe.

It’s a lot of work to grow a baby, and this fact makes you particularly susceptible to illness and food poisoning during pregnancy.

It won’t harm the pregnant mother as much as the baby though when a mother catches listeria. The fetus could potentially develop a severe infection like sepsis if their mother catches listeria.

pregnant woman with doctor

How Do You Eliminate Listeria Infection From Your Body Once You Have It?

You probably want to know how you would get rid of listeria if you did end up developing it.

Good question, listeria usually goes away on its own after the infection has run its course, during its active time in a pregnant mothers body, it can cause significant harm to the unborn baby.

Symptoms of listeria in a pregnant mother

Getting listeria is no joke, and there may or may not be symptoms that go along with it. If you believe that you have listeria or the lunchmeat you ate contained it – speak with your primary physician to see what the next steps you should take are.

The symptoms of each pregnant woman will vary, but they can include anything ranging from mild to severe flu-like symptoms, and considerable muscle aches or tiredness. The important thing is to get to a doctor as soon as possible if you believe you have listeria.

During pregnancy listeria can cause, still-birth, miscarriage, premature labor, and even a severe infection that passes along with the baby after birth. This infection can be serious for a newborn even life-threatening.

It’s Best To Avoid All Pre-packaged Lunch Meat or Premade Chicken Salad During Pregnancy

Since this is the case with all pre-packaged or lunch meats, pregnant women should avoid all meats of this kind. Some pregnant women do not display any signs of listeria poisoning at all, even though it has passed onto their unborn baby.

Make your own chicken salad at home to be safe

Giving up chicken salad would be hard during pregnancy if you especially love it. So we aren’t going to tell you to do that, we just advise you to make it at home in the safety of your own kitchen.

When you do this, you will know exactly when the chicken was cooked, and how long it will last in the safest zone for food consumption.

Since chicken salad contains common ingredients like mayonnaise, celery, and various other vegetables that are easy to come by – it should be easy to make your very own!

Foods made at home are cheaper and can taste better

The best part about making foods at home is that you get the opportunity to make a lot more of it, for a lot less money.

home food preparation

You can buy a whole chicken, that gives you chicken broth, and all the meat for a lot cheaper than buying it frequently from the deli – plus it will taste better!

Having food on hand, that you can grab right out of the freezer, during the end of pregnancy is especially helpful. Chicken salad is filling and can be super nutritious for pregnant women.

Enjoy the all-time favorite right at home by purchasing the ingredients at your local grocery store.

What chicken salad ingredients should I avoid during pregnancy?

If you’re an avid lover of chicken salad, you probably know that certain toppings are a big hit for many.

Avoid these cheeses to avoid potential listeria infection during pregnancy

There are certain cheeses that you will need to avoid with all the chicken salad you’ll be eating. Any of the following cheeses are a no-go during pregnancy, soft unpasteurized cheeses (queso fresco, brie, feta).

Avoid raw undercooked and unwashed vegetables during pregnancy

In addition, these toppings should not be eaten during pregnancy; raw vegetables that haven’t been washed, radish -alfalfa – clover sprouts that are undercooked.

What Are The Most Common Signs Of Being Infected With Listeria Infection?

Sometimes when pregnancy happens, we eat a chicken salad before even knowing it’s not a good idea. This is the case for many pregnant women who have lived on to see healthy days afterward and did not come down with Listeria Infection.

Sometimes our minds will not settle. Though, unless we know the signs and symptoms to look out for when it comes to Listeria, you might want to contact your obstetrician if you experience any of the following symptoms after consuming any pre-made meats and chicken salad.

  • Cramping or pain in your abdominal region
  • Throwing up or feeling extra nauseous
  • Feeling like you might have food poisoning
  • Grogginess or being unalert overall
  • Your neck is stiff
  • Equilibrium being off causing you to feel off-balance
  • If you spike a fever

uncooked food

Chicken Salad Isn’t The Only Food That Could Potentially Contain Listeria, Here Are The Others

Listeria can happen to anyone because there are many foods that hold potential for containing various infections or contamination- these are the many other foods to look out for and stray away from it at all possible at any point in pregnancy.

Uncooked hotdogs and lunch meat

As mentioned throughout this article, lunchmeat can contain Listeria. Hotdogs are another pre-prepared lunch meat that can cause Listeria poisoning – avoid hotdogs during pregnancy.

Raw eggs or anything that contains eggs that are not cooked in it

If you make up some cake batter right at home, don’t lick the bowl. Raw eggs can be potentially dangerous to pregnant mothers due to salmonella poisoning.

Clams, shellfish, and oysters are a no-go

Vibrio is a bacteria that causes an intestinal disease called vibriosis – clams and oysters alike have the possibility of being contaminated with vibriosis.

Pate or any kind of meat spread that is unpasteurized

If you want to indulge in pate or pre-cooked meats, you will want to opt for the shelf version of these items which is generally in cans. Meats that are pre-cooked have the possibility of containing listeria too.

We know it’s delicious but don’t eat raw cookie batter

Raw cookie dough or cake batter should be avoided due to the risk of Salmonella in these products. The recipes call for eggs, and this poses risk for pregnant females.

In Conclusion

It might seem like your food choices are becoming slightly slender, considering heartburn, and being more at risk for the infections in this article.

But, that truly isn’t the case you can enjoy a wide array of food choices from meals to treats with keeping food safety in mind, too.

You have the choice of making vegan options for most pastries or baked goods as well. Be sure to check out recipes for a vegan version of what you would like to eat whenever possible.

Making foods at home will better your chances of avoiding listeria because you know the entire process the food underwent from preparation to the end result. Remember that pregnancy is a time to enjoy the abundance of foods out there.

Medical Disclaimer. All content and media on the MomInformed Website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.


Is it Safe to Eat Chicken Salad While Pregnant? – My Parenting Journey

Can Pregnant Women Eat Chicken Salad? Is It Risky or Safe? – Pregnancy Food Checker

Listeria Symptoms – CDC