Can we eat sausage during pregnancy?

Quick Answer

It is usually safe to eat sausage in moderation during pregnancy as long as it is fully cooked. However, pregnant women should avoid raw, uncooked sausage due to the risk of toxoplasmosis. It’s also best to choose low-sodium varieties and avoid excessive processed meat intake.

Can I Eat Sausage When Pregnant?

Most sausages are safe to eat during pregnancy as part of a balanced diet. Well-cooked pork, beef, turkey, and chicken sausages provide protein, iron, B vitamins, and other nutrients beneficial during pregnancy. As long as the sausage is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill any harmful bacteria, it is generally considered safe to eat while pregnant.

However, there are a few things pregnant women should keep in mind regarding sausage consumption:

  • Avoid raw, uncooked sausages – Only eat sausages that have been thoroughly cooked through. Raw sausage may contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites and harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.
  • Choose low-sodium varieties – Processed meats like sausage tend to be high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium during pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure, swelling, and other complications. Opt for low-sodium or reduced-sodium sausage.
  • Watch your intake – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends limiting processed meat intake to no more than 2 servings per week during pregnancy. Too much can increase risks for gestational diabetes and excess weight gain.
  • Reheat leftover sausage thoroughly – Refrigerate cooked sausage within 2 hours and reheat to 165°F before eating to prevent bacterial growth.

As long as you follow basic food safety practices and any dietary guidelines from your doctor, enjoying the occasional sausage during pregnancy should be fine. Moderation is key.

Nutrition Facts of Sausage

The nutrition content of sausage can vary widely depending on the type and ingredients. Here are some general nutrition facts for 3 ounces (85g) of popular types of cooked sausage:

Pork Sausage

  • Calories: 290
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Sodium: 430mg
  • Iron: 1mg
  • Zinc: 2mg
  • B12: 0.7mcg

Beef Sausage

  • Calories: 333
  • Fat: 29g
  • Saturated fat: 10g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Sodium: 434mg
  • Iron: 3mg
  • Zinc: 5mg
  • B12: 1.3mcg

Chicken Sausage

  • Calories: 163
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Sodium: 374mg
  • Iron: 1mg
  • Zinc: 1mg
  • B12: 0.2mcg

Turkey Sausage

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Sodium: 460mg
  • Iron: 1mg
  • Zinc: 1mg
  • B12: 0.3mcg

As you can see, sausage provides a good amount of protein. Pork and beef sausage are higher in fat, calories, and sodium compared to poultry sausage.

Benefits of Eating Sausage During Pregnancy

Here are some of the key nutrients and benefits sausage can provide in pregnancy when consumed in moderation:


Sausage is high in protein, with about 12-15g per 3 ounce serving. Protein is essential for pregnant women to support fetal growth and development as well as maternal tissues.


The iron in sausage aids the production of hemoglobin to help prevent pregnancy-related anemia. Beef and pork sausage, in particular, contain heme iron that is more easily absorbed than plant sources.

B Vitamins

Sausage provides thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12. These B vitamins help convert nutrients to energy and form red blood cells.


Zinc supports immune function, cell growth, and DNA synthesis. It also facilitates taste perception.

Other Nutrients

Sausage contains varying amounts of vitamins like vitamin A, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium depending on the type. These help support maternal and fetal health.

When consumed occasionally as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, sausage can provide valuable nutrition for mom and baby. Just be sure to choose the right kinds and watch your portions.

Risks and Precautions of Eating Sausage When Pregnant

While sausage is not strictly off-limits for pregnant women, there are some potential downsides to keep in mind:

Raw Sausage Risks

Raw, uncooked sausage may harbor toxoplasma gondii parasites, salmonella, listeria, E. coli and other bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Thorough cooking to an internal temp of 165°F kills these pathogens. Undercooked sausage should be avoided.

Sodium Content

Many sausages contain high amounts of sodium, with over 400mg per 3 ounce serving. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and fluid retention during pregnancy. Choose low-sodium options.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Processed meats like sausage often contain preservatives called nitrates and nitrites. Some studies link high processed meat intake in pregnancy to increased risk of complications, but more research is needed.

Weight Gain

Sausage can be high in calories and fat. Eating too much may contribute to excessive weight gain in pregnancy, which can increase risks for various problems. Portion control is important.


Listeria infection (listeriosis) is rare but especially dangerous in pregnancy. Reheating leftovers thoroughly and avoiding hot dogs and deli meats can minimize any associated sausage risks.

While not considered a high risk food, it’s smart for pregnant women to take precautions with sausage. Proper handling, cooking, and portion sizes are key to safely enjoying it.

How Much Sausage Can You Eat While Pregnant?

There are no set limits for how much sausage is safe to eat during pregnancy. The key is moderation and balance as part of an overall healthy diet.

Here are some general sausage consumption guidelines while pregnant:

  • 2-3 servings per week at most
  • 1 serving = 2-3 oz
  • Avoid more than 1 serving per day
  • Choose lean, low-sodium varieties
  • Limit intake of processed deli meats overall
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked sausage

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises limiting processed meats to no more than 2 servings per week during pregnancy.

Following this guideline, you could safely consume items like:

  • 2-3 breakfast sausage links 2 days per week
  • 1 bratwurst or Italian sausage 2 times per week
  • 3-4 oz chorizo or andouille sausage 1-2 times per week

Focus on getting plenty of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats instead of overdoing it on sausage.

Healthy Ways to Eat Sausage While Pregnant

Here are some nutritious ways to prepare and enjoy sausage during pregnancy:


– Sausage, egg and cheese muffin sandwich
– Breakfast burrito with sausage, egg, spinach and low-fat cheese
– Sausage, potato and onion hash
– Sausage gravy over a whole wheat biscuit


– Sausage stuffed peppers or zucchini boats
– Sausage, kale and tomato pasta bake
– Sausage and cabbage stir fry
– Sausage, potato and green bean sheet pan meal
– Pizza with turkey sausage, veggies and part-skim mozzarella


– Turkey sausage with sliced apple
– Hardboiled egg with DIY sausage patties
– Sausage balls with grated Parmesan


– Choose reduced sodium and nitrate-free varieties
– Bake, broil or grill instead of frying
– Pair with antioxidant-rich vegetables
– Use whole grain buns, pitas or tortillas
– Opt for tomato-based sauces over creamy, salty sauces

With some creativity and nutritional balance, pregnant women can satisfy sausage cravings and get nutrients for mom and baby.

Healthier Sausage Alternatives When Pregnant

For pregnant women looking to limit processed meats or fat, here are some healthier sausage alternatives to try:

Vegetarian Sausage

Vegetable-based sausage made from soy, seitan, legumes, mushrooms or other plant proteins. Offers similar flavor without the saturated fat, sodium and nitrates.

Turkey or Chicken Sausage

Poultry sausage has a better nutrition profile than pork and beef. Choose skinless, low-sodium varieties.

Salmon Patties

Provides omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D along with protein. Make patties using canned salmon, whole wheat breadcrumbs, egg, onion and spices.

Veggie Patties

Try patties made from legumes, nuts, vegetables and whole grains for plant-based protein and nutrients. Popular options include bean burgers and falafel.


Marinated and baked tofu makes a versatile, plant-based substitute. It takes on the flavor of any marinades or seasonings.


Fermented soybean tempeh offers probiotics in addition to protein. It can be crumbled or sliced for tacos, sandwiches, etc.


Well-spiced cooked lentils or lentil patties provide fiber, folate, iron and other key pregnancy nutrients.

With a variety of vegetarian options, lean meats and fish, pregnant women can find plenty of healthier alternatives to traditional pork or beef sausage if desired.

Questions and Answers About Eating Sausage During Pregnancy

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about consuming sausage while pregnant:

Can I eat hot dogs when pregnant?

Hot dogs fall into the processed meat category. Fully cooked hot dogs heated until steaming are generally safe during pregnancy, but limit intake to no more than 2 servings per week.

Is it safe to eat smoked sausage while pregnant?

Smoked sausages like kielbasa and andouille are safe in pregnancy if reheated to 165°F. Choose meats that have been smoked at low temperatures and watch your portions.

Can pregnant women eat pepperoni?

It’s best to avoid or strictly limit pepperoni due to its high sodium, nitrite and saturated fat content. Other cured meats like salami should also be avoided in pregnancy.

What if I’m craving sausage when pregnant?

Give in to cravings in moderation by enjoying a serving of cooked sausage a couple times per week. Opt for lean turkey or chicken sausage. Pair it with healthy sides and ingredients.

Can undercooked sausage hurt my baby?

Yes, raw or undercooked sausage may contain toxoplasma or salmonella bacteria that can cause serious illness. Only eat sausage cooked to 165°F to minimize infection risks.

Is sausage good for pregnant women?

Lean, low-sodium sausages provide beneficial protein, iron, and B vitamins. But processed varieties also contain downsides like sodium, nitrites and saturated fat that require caution.

When craving sausage in pregnancy, indulge mindfully in fully-cooked, moderate portions as part of an overall balanced diet for optimal nutrition and safety. Consult your healthcare provider with any concerns.


Sausage is not strictly off the menu for pregnant women. Consuming fully cooked pork, beef, turkey or chicken sausage a few times per week is unlikely to cause harm as part of a varied diet. However, it’s smart to limit processed meat intake, choose low-sodium options, and avoid raw sausage to minimize risks like excessive sodium, listeria and toxoplasmosis. Pairing sausage with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean proteins is key to getting all the nutrients you and your baby need for a healthy pregnancy. While the occasional sausage craving can be satisfied carefully, pregnant women should rely on wholesome, nourishing foods most of the time.

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