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Whether you're at a backyard cookout or a baseball game, sometimes all that sounds good is a nice, juicy hot dog. Frank-ly, they're fast, convenient, and offer a whole lot of flavor. But with so many food rules during pregnancy, it's not always easy to remember what's safe for baby and what to avoid.
So, if you're really hankering for a hot dog while looking over your baby registries, here are a few things to keep in mind before you dig in. Sausages fall into a similar category are shrimp and crab when pregnant—and it's not that straightforward.
Sure, a hot dog might hit that pregnancy-craving sweet spot, but it might not be the safest option for a couple of reasons.
"These foods can be safe as long as hot dogs and luncheon meats are heated until steaming hot just before serving," says Dr. Erica Montes, Board-Certified OB-GYN and pH-D Feminine Health Advisor.
"These sausages are not the healthiest choices, but eating them sparingly can be fine."
Though hot dogs aren't the best option while pregnant, Dr. Montes says it's how well they're cooked that matters the most.
"In order to prevent listeriosis they must be heated first," she says. "Listeriosis is one of the most serious types of food poisoning," Dr. Montes says. "Listeria is a kind of bacteria that is found in soil, water, and some animals, including cattle and poultry. When eaten, it causes a food-borne illness called listeriosis."
Signs of listeriosis include flu-like symptoms, fever, aches and pains, chills, nausea, stiff neck, headache and diarrhea. If you notice any of these after consuming a hot dog, contact your physician.
If you're pregnant and need a hot dog like your life depends on it, thoroughly cooked all-beef hotdogs are the best option, if at all.
The FDA reiterates Dr. Montes adding, "If it's not possible to reheat hot dogs, don't eat them."
A few hot dog choices might include beef, fried pork, or any other type of meat—all cooked through.
"Overall, these foods are not the healthiest because they are processed and have larger amounts of saturated fats and sodium," Dr. Montes adds.
Hot dogs are generally okay outside of pregnancy, but Dr. Montes says processed foods, in general, should be eaten minimally. This is because they're not health-forward (which is why many people love them!).
Other concerns with hot dogs are added nitrates, chemical and artificial dyes and even MSG.
The same rules apply with all-beef hot dogs—cook them completely if you have to give in to the craving. Also, keep in mind that eating hot dogs is just as risky as eating deli meat and those also come with risk, particularly listeriosis.
While you might really want a hot dog—and you can, if you follow the heating guidelines. For many, hot dogs are just one of those foods to avoid until after giving birth.
The risks of catching illnesses like listeriosis are greater than choosing a completely safe snack (for now). Things like fully cooked meats, yogurt and cooked eggs are great protein-rich substitutes.
Ccook hot dogs to an internal temperature of 165°F, regardless of the method. To boil, let them heat through with a four-minute rolling boil. To microwave, heat for one to two minutes. For everything else, check the internal temperature.
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