Is It Safe to Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant? 

Is It Safe to Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant? 

When you find out that you’re pregnant, there are a myriad of things that run through your mind. Some things that were once easy or could be done without much of a second thought suddenly become more difficult or—worse—dangerous to the health of both a pregnant person as well their unborn child. Smoking cigarettes, eating certain foods, or lifting and carrying a certain amount of weight at any given time all take on new meanings.

To that end, many women wonder about what cravings are safe to indulge in over the course of their pregnancy and what ones should be tabled for later. Things like alcohol and smoking will obviously have to wait, but what about eating hot dogs? 

In this article, we’ll talk about the risk of eating hot dogs while you’re pregnant, what you can do to minimize these risks, and ultimately, come to the conclusion of whether it’s safe or not for you to eat them while carrying your baby.

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Finding out that you’re going to have a baby can definitely put you on high alert—and make you reconsider several of your eating and drinking habits. 

It’s an exciting time, and while certain habits like smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol should definitely be cut out entirely, luckily, when it comes to simpler pleasures like enjoying a hot dog you can continue to indulge yourself with little risk to your baby—as long as it’s done responsibly!

In this article, we’ll touch on: 

  • Fears & Risks Around Eating Hot Dogs While You’re Pregnant
  • How to Minimize Risks
  • What Types of Hot Dogs are Unsafe

By the end, you should have a much more solid understanding of whether or not a hot dog is an indulgence you can afford! 

Fears & Risks Around Eating Hot Dogs While You’re Pregnant

It’s no secret that hotdogs are made from processed meats, and the biggest risk that comes along with eating them is that they may be infected with bacteria known as listeria monocytogenes, which is known for causing the illness of the same name, Listeria. 

Listeria is a food-borne bacterial illness that can be very serious for pregnant women. While the woman herself may be able to handle the illness fairly well, the disease can be fatal for unborn babies and newborns and can even cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death

It’s also been found that listeria bacteria can survive in cold temperatures, meaning refrigeration and even freezing isn’t a surefire way of keeping the bacteria in check—so it’s especially important that people who are at higher risk of serious infections (like pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those over the age of 65) to avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain listeria bacteria: raw milk, soft cheeses, smoked seafood, and cold or undercooked deli meat and hot dogs. 

How to Minimize Risks

The easiest way to minimize the risk of contracting Listeria would be, of course, to avoid the foods that may pose an issue. But cravings hit and can be difficult to ignore, and you shouldn’t have to avoid indulging in the things that bring you joy as long as you do it wisely.

To that end, eating a hotdog every now and then is perfectly safe for pregnant women as long as it is cooked thoroughly. This means heating it up to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be high enough to kill any possible bacteria that may still be lingering on raw or undercooked hotdogs.

Cooking them completely in the microwave or on the stove top should be enough to make them safe to eat, however. The only time you want to take extra precaution is when cooking your hot dog from frozen on the grill (if you’re at a cookout, for example). While they may look done on the outside, they may still be slightly undercooked internally, meaning they still carry the risk of exposing you to the listeria bacteria.

If you want to be absolutely sure your hot dog is cooked to the perfect internal temperature, consider using a meat thermometer!

What Types of Hot Dogs are Unsafe

Not all hotdogs are cooked or created equally, but when a pregnancy craving hits, it hits. While you can’t always be in control of what your body is craving while carrying a baby, you do have control over how and what you eat. 

To that end, there are situations where it’s likely best to avoid eating hotdogs until you can get home and make one for yourself. Some of these situations include: 

  • Any hotdogs that are raw or undercooked
  • Hot dogs that come from a street vendor, hot dog stand, or gas station. 
  • Hot dogs at a party that have been cooked, removed from the grill, and then left to sit for a while. 
  • Hot dogs that have been previously cooked and then mixed in with something else 
  • Any hot dog—cooked or otherwise—that hasn’t been stored properly. This includes hot dogs that were left out too long at room temperature before cooking them. 

While many of these may not be a risk when they are freshly cooked, any situation where the hot dogs are kept warm, but not hot increases the chance for food-related illnesses!


At the end of the day, the final verdict is: YES. It is safe to eat hot dogs while you’re pregnant, as long as you do it responsibly. 

This means only consuming hot dogs that are fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165 °F and ones that have been kept at a steady warmth to minimize the risk of food-related illnesses like Listeria that could pose life-threatening risks to your unborn child. 

Indulging in your cravings is a natural part of any woman’s pregnancy, and while certain foods and habits are best left avoided until after you give birth, luckily, when it comes to hot dogs—you’re in the clear!

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