It doesn’t matter if you have planned a barbeque night with your family or out for a stroll; hotdogs are a must. I cannot imagine going out and not getting a hotdog from my favorite hotdog stand, along with my favorite toppings. But a lot of thing changes when you are expecting a baby. 

It is important to take care of yourself during that time as you have to take care of your baby as well. This is the time when the professionals advise you to go for essential nutrient-giving foods, like fruits, vegetables, proteins and etc. This is where the question comes, “can pregnant women eat hot dogs?” During pregnancy, hot dogs can be a risk for you and your baby. Let’s get to that now.

Can You Eat Hot Dogs When Pregnant?

Can You Eat Hot Dogs When Pregnant

It is not always clear whether or not you should have hot dogs during your pregnancy. It all depends on the cook of the hot dog and to what temperature. A woman can have hot dogs during their pregnancy if the hot dog to the point where the internal temperature of the hot dog reaches 165f/75c and is served steaming hot.

The best way to cook hot dogs is to grill them or microwave them to keep away the risk of listeria. Consuming lukewarm or undercooked hot dogs can cause risks during pregnancy. But can pregnant women eat steak? Again, it is best to avoid it if not cooked at home because you will not be sure of the internal temperature, and there is a chance of toxoplasmosis, which can cause miscarriage.

Why Are Hot Dogs Considered Unsafe?

As we saw that having undercooked hot dogs can be a problem for pregnant women, but is it okay when the hot dog is fully cooked? Well, not really. A fully cooked hot dog at home kills all harmful bacteria and is okay, but there are a few reasons which can cause a risk for your little human.

1. Processed Meat Listeriosis

Processed Meat Listeriosis

Processed meat are those that are preserved by smoking, curing, salting, and adding chemical preservatives. This includes pastrami, sausages, bacon, cold cuts, ham, and, last but not least, hot dogs. According to WHO(world health organization), these processed meats are classified as carcinogens, which makes them a less than stellar meal option for any individual, irrespective of the fact whether they are pregnant or not.

Processed meats can be highly dangerous for pregnant women because if they are not cooked well, they can be a host for listeria, a kind of bacteria that can be harmful to the fetus as well as the mother. 

Listeria can be killed by heating the food upto a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you are cooking a hot dog at home, check the internal temperature with a thermometer. But trying it from a stand outside can be a risk for you and your baby.

2. Preservatives And High Salts

Preservatives And High Salts

The process in which these meats are preserved involves a lot of things that should be thought about twice before including those in your diet. It doesn’t matter whether you are pregnant or not. There use a huge amount of salt to add flavor as well as a preservative. 

Sodium contributes a lot to increasing blood pressure in humans, and during pregnancy, that is a worrisome matter. An adult needs like 6 grams of salt in a day on average, and a hot dog contains more than 50% of the amount, and that is before you put it in the bun and add the toppings.

Along with that, many hot dogs are preserved with the help of nitrates and nitrites. But these are also important for overall health in limited quantities, but when consumed in high quantities, they can be harmful. But while cooking at home, you can choose brands that do not use nitrites and nitrates.

3. Unhealthy Fats

Unhealthy Fats

A traditionally barbequed hot dog contains around 15gm of fat, which is more than a quarter of what is required for the body. There is no place for denying the fact that fat is required for our health, but there is a difference between good fat and bad fat, and it is better to avoid the latter.

  • Good fats – These are also known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and these fats are generally found in nuts, olive oil, and fish.
  • Bad fat – These are also known as trans or saturated fats, and these are harmful even if consumed in small quantities as they increase the rate of heart attack

4. Sugar – Laden White Buns

Sugar Laden White Buns

The salty, bacteria-harboring, and fatty hot dog meat is not just the end of it; the meat is served on a white bun. And the problem with that is white bread includes very few nutritional properties, and they impact blood sugar levels negatively and can also cause weight gain. 

It is better to shift to a whole-what bun that would be better for your health and will leave you with the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.

5. Unhealthy Condiments

Unhealthy Condiments

It depends on the person who is trying the hot dog and what condiments they want to put on it. And by adding these condiments, they are increasing the salt and sugar contents in their meal.

  • Mustard contains upto 60mg of salt per teaspoon.
  • Canned chili contains a lot of saturated fats and salt.
  • Ketchup contains almost 4 grams of sugar and 190 mg of salt per tablespoon.
  • Grease-fried onions also contain unhealthy fats.
  • Store-bought relishes also contain a high quantity of sugar and salt.

How To Prepare A Hot Dog For A Pregnant Woman?

How to prepare a hot dog for a pregnant woman

Cooking hot dogs in any process possible is okay, then when you are cooking for pregnant women, you have to keep certain factors in mind, and the first thing to keep in mind is the internal temperature of the processed meat. The internal temperature has to be around 175f or 75c. 

It is best to cook hot dogs at home when you are pregnant to track the temperature of the meat to keep yourself safe. Another thing that is important is that you have to consume it immediately after it is cooked. But for your better understanding, a general guide is provided below about the cooking methods. 

  • Grilling and broiling – Cook the hot dogs to a point till you find them steaming and sizzling. If you are having a BBQ or invited to one, have a freshly cooked hot dog and not one from the lot that has been left stranded for some time.
  • Boiling – There are many brands that provide instructions for simmering hot dogs, but when you are cooking for a pregnant woman, do not go by the instructions. Boil the hot dog for almost 2-3 minutes. It has to be streaming hot when it is pulled out of the water. Do not leave it in the hot water for long before you serve it.
  • Microwaving – there is nothing uncommon about microwaving a hot dog. Put the hot dogs in a microwave-safe bowl and then put them inside the oven. But many people wrap the hot dog in a paper towel and cook it for around a minute. This is something that you have to decide, depending on the power of the oven. But again, you have to serve it steaming hot.
  • Oven baking – hot dogs can be baked in the oven for about ten minutes at a temperature of about 175c or 350F to cook them properly and keep an eye on them so that they are cooked from all sides. 

What Is The Ideal Quantity Of Hot Dogs For Pregnant Women?

One hot dog contains about 12 grams of fat, a minimum of 7 grams of protein, 500 grams of sodium, and about 150 calories of energy. So it should be consumed in a limited quantity, as excess consumption can be harmful to the mother and the baby too. A few hog dogs a week are supposed to be harmless for you and your little one. 

What Can You Do If You Have Consumed An Undercooked Or Raw Hot Dog During Pregnancy?

Well, if that is the case, then the first thing you should do is keep calm. Stress and panic can be equally harmful to you and your baby. Follow the steps below:

  • Monitor the symptoms. Sometimes listeriosis comes with flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, headache, and a fever.
  • If you are feeling a bit off, which could be an absolutely normal pregnancy symptom, consult a doctor in the first place and get yourself checked. Do not forget to tell them that you have consumed an undercooked hot dog and what kind it was. 
  • The chances of getting listeria are rare, but it is always better to be on the safe side.

What Not To Eat When Pregnant?

What not to eat when pregnant

I guess we have covered all about “can pregnant women eat hot dogs?” But there are a few other things that should also be avoided during pregnancy. According to CDC or Centre For Disease Control And Prevention, there are a few animal products that should be avoided by a pregnant woman because of the possible bacterial contamination. This can also cause food poisoning. Some of those items are:

  • Scallops, raw fish, clams and oysters
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Dairy and raw eggs
  • Deli meats
  • Pates
  • Deli meat salads like han salad, tuna salad, and chicken salad

Is It Safe To Have Hotdogs In All The Trimesters?

If a hot dog is cooked thoroughly and served while it is steaming hot, then there is no harm in consuming it, no matter in what trimester you are in. But these are not nutritious food. They have a high content of salt, fat, and calories. They also have nitrates and nitrites in them. 

It is best to avoid this during pregnancy, but once in a while, to meet your cravings and pamper yourself, you can cook one at home in any process you want. Just follow the cooking guidelines, and you will be safe.

Are There Any Alternatives To A Hot Dog?

It is best not to take any risks during this stage. Having a hot dog can have an added risk of bacterial contamination, the nitrates and excess amount of sodium can harm the mother as well as the baby. It is better to pot for a well-balanced diet.

Hot dogs can be meat-free as well. They could be made with soy and vegetables as well. You can even alter the choice of the bun and change it to a whole-grain one. These are more nutritious, vegetarian-friendly, also contain less amount of fat, and there is a very less chance of any kind of bacterial infestation. 

Also, choose the toppings carefully. You can opt for some fresh salsa and sprinkle some cheese on it, and use grilled vegetables, coleslaw, or shredded cabbage; fresh avocado, tomato, and freshly cut onion are the best ones that you can have for your baby. 

In general, What Are The Foods You Should Avoid During Pregnancy?

A common concern during pregnancy is what not to eat when pregnant. This is because certain foods carry the risk of causing bacteria-related illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Along with that, the immune system fights very hard to fight the germs and bacteria that affect the body. So, combining both, your body goes through a lot if you get down with any kind of illness. 

You have to keep in mind that if you consume anything that is contaminated, it can get to your unborn child. Foods that contain some illness-causing bacteria can pass the placenta and reach your child as well. 

Since the immune system of the baby has not formed yet and is not strong enough to fight against all those bacteria and germs, it poses a great risk for your child and can cause some serious infections and other problems as well. So, to save yourself from that risk, just stay away from consuming certain foods.


From the time you find out that you are not alone, it is best to avoid alcohol. Have a mocktail or some fruit juice or sparkling water whenever you are craving some. Even if someone tells you that having a hard drink once in a while is okay, do not risk it. Whenever you consume alcohol, your baby does it as well, and it takes twice the time than yours to leave their body. So, it is best to avoid it for those forty weeks.

Unpasteurized Juices And Dairy

Getting unpasteurized juice is not possible in any kind of supermarket because of the FDA or Food and Drug Administration. Soft chees that are manufactured from unpasteurized milk have chances of fostering pathogens and listeria. Just to be on the safe side, during pregnancy, choose hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss.

Too Much Caffeine

I understand if you are addicted to caffeine, but now it is time to shift to decaf. It might happen that you have been given the go-ahead from your doctor to consume one cup of coffee every day, but you should measure it if you absolutely have to consume it. The aim is not to consume 200 mg of coffee per day. Consumption of too much caffeine can tamper with the body’s ability to absorb iron, which can turn into anemia. Also, try to avoid energy drinks and soda.

Wrapping Up!

If you search the internet, there will be a lot of questions like, “can you eat steak while pregnant,” or topics related to “hot dogs while pregnant.” Getting to know the risks of consuming a hot dog is something, and craving a greasy hot dog is something else. So can pregnant women eat hot dogs? But there are a lot of alternatives to a street corner hot dog. But those and make yourself one at home and stay safe. Get a low-nitrate organic, low-sodium hot dog and cook it at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Get plant-based sausages, and use some healthy condiments along with it. Keep in mind that a white bun can also have some harmful effects.

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subhasree nag
Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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