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Why Can't I Eat Cold Cuts While Pregnant?

If you're pregnant, you may have been told that cold cuts, or luncheon meats, are on the list of "forbidden foods," forcing you to say bye-bye to your beloved bologna sandwich. The reason is that lunch meats can harbor a rare but potentially deadly bacteria known as listeria, according to obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Shannon Clark, an assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "The temperature at which this type of meat is refrigerated is the same temperature at which listeria may grow," Clark says. "The risk of listeria is small, but it is recommended that these meats, as well as meats such as hot dogs, be cooked." To be safe, either reheat all lunch meats to steaming or avoid them all together.

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