Are you currently pregnant and craving a slice (or six) of pizza? You’re not alone. Pizza is a popular pregnancy craving and numerous expectant mothers before you have questioned whether or not it’s safe to eat. So, what’s the truth? Can it be hurtful for the baby? Is pizza safe in pregnancy? Can you top it with pepperoni? You’ll be glad to hear that the answer is yes – for the most part. However, some pizza toppings can contain unsafe micro-organisms which could influence yours or your child’s well being, so it is wise to know what’s safe and what isn’t.
Pizza is an effortlessly accessible Italian delicacy that is loved by millions the world over, and what’s not to love? With the ooey-gooey cheesiness, the multitude of toppings and the various bases and stuffed crusts to choose from, it’s easy to see why pizza is a firm favorite by many people.
Issues with Pizza during Pregnancy:
Whilst pizza is generally safe to eat during pregnancy, there are some precautions that you’ll have to take if you are with child. Be mindful of your toppings as some toppings can cause issues for you or your unborn baby. Some concerns to keep in mind are the following;
Let’s face it, that amazing layer of melted cheese is one of the best parts of eating pizza. However, some cheeses are not safe for consumption during pregnancy. Ordinary cheddar cheese is perfectly fine, but mould-matured cheeses are deemed unsafe due to the greater risk of listeria. Listeria can lead to listeriosis, which won’t be overly harmful to you, but can be fatal to your baby. If you do feel like you can’t hold off on your craving for these types of cheese, make sure they are piping hot before you eat them as this kills off the bacteria. Be aware that once the cheese has cooled down again there is still a risk of listeriosis, so eat it while it’s still hot. Cheese varieties to try to avoid are:
- Danish Blue
Uncooked and Cold Meat:
Generally, cold-cured meats like pepperoni, salami and parma-ham are safe to eat in pregnancy, however, there is a small risk of contracting listeria or toxoplasmosis from these meats. Toxoplasmosis is similar to listeria in that it isn’t very harmful for you, but can be very harmful to your baby. Thankfully, these types of bacteria are killed during the cooking process, so as with risky cheese, it’s best to eat them while they are piping hot to minimize any risk of contracting them.
Pizzas containing shell fish like scallops, prawns and mussels, if not cooked completely, can cause bacterial and viral contaminations. As with the above precautions, you should be fine to eat these if you are sure they are cooked correctly and eat them while they are still piping hot.
Arrangements and Precautions:
- Make sure your pizza is cooked thoroughly to kill off any harmful bacteria that might be lying within your toppings.
- Eat your pizza while it’s still sizzling hot, because if eaten after it’s been left to cool, you are running the risk of contracting listeriosis or toxoplasmosis.
- If possible, cook your pizza at a slightly higher temperature to make sure all the bacteria are killed off. Of course, don’t over-cook it as this will mar the taste.
- If it’s a store-bought pizza, ensure to read the cooking instructions thoroughly and follow them precisely.
There is no reason why you can’t eat pizza while you are pregnant regardless of whether you’re in your first, second or third trimester, as long as you are mindful of the ingredients and how it’s cooked.
So, if you are craving a few slices of pizza but have been avoiding it just in case you cause any harm to your baby, you can now breathe a long sigh of relief. Now, why are you still reading this? You should be off ordering pizza!