Can I Eat Coleslaw While Pregnant? You’d Better Not

Eat Coleslaw While Pregnant

This article will explain the reasons why you shouldn’t eat Coleslaw and other food you should avoid while pregnant.

One of the most confusing topics during pregnancy is cole slaw, potato salad, and other pre-made cold dishes. Can pregnant mothers eat cole slaw? If made and consumed right away, cole slaw is safe to consume while pregnant, though this depends on the type of mayonnaise used.

By this point, you probably have questions about whether store-bought cole slaw is safe, how to make your own pregnancy-safe version, and what to do when dining out. Everything is covered below!

Can I Eat Coleslaw While Pregnant?

The safety of the ingredients in coleslaw dressing affects the response to this query. However, since they are pasteurized and made with ingredients that are safe for consumption during pregnancy, coleslaw dressings purchased in jars or bottles are generally safe to consume.

Coleslaw dressing can be made with additional ingredients that are safe for expectant mothers and their unborn children, such as vinegar, oil, and herbs used as seasonings. Always choose mayonnaise made with pasteurized eggs when making mayonnaise-based dressing at home or purchasing it from a store to lower the risk of salmonella.

The use of coleslaw dressing, even the safe varieties, should also be discussed with your doctor or another healthcare provider. Your doctor can advise you on the best course of action based on your unique situation.

Store-bought Coleslaw

Coleslaw and other pre-made, pre-packaged salads are typically discouraged during pregnancy. This includes variations purchased from stores or supermarkets.

Listeria thrives in low acid, high water, and refrigerated environments, which is why it is more common in prepared foods like coleslaw and potato salad (source: ScienceDirect).

Because coleslaw is consumed cold or raw, rather than being cooked, there is no chance for heat to kill the bacteria.

can pregnant women eat coleslaw

Restaurant Coleslaw

At eateries where coleslaw is popular (it’s typically served with chicken), like KFC, Nando’s, Popeye’s, and others, I frequently get asked if it’s okay to eat it.

Although pasteurized mayonnaise is frequently used in restaurants, the potential for bacterial contamination is the problem with restaurant coleslaw.

Similar to how store-bought coleslaw was described above, restaurant coleslaw should also be handled with care. It’s probably best to stay away from restaurant coleslaw or potato salad while pregnant.

Homemade Coleslaw

For fans of coleslaw, homemade coleslaw is fortunately a secure choice!

Although eating homemade versions of this salad is safe, there are some things to keep in mind. For instance, the coleslaw’s ingredients should be thoroughly washed, and the mayonnaise should be pasteurized. Additionally, even salads kept in the fridge shouldn’t be kept for an extended period of time after preparation.

Find out from your doctor how much coleslaw is safe to eat while expecting. However, even with safe options, you shouldn’t eat too much food while you’re pregnant. Keep in mind that eating too much can make the best decision into the worst one!

Is Coleslaw Dressing OK During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy-safe ingredients like oil, vinegar, and seasonings like herbs and mustard are the basis of the majority of non-mayonnaise coleslaw dressings, which are therefore safe to consume.

Almost all ready-made (commercial) coleslaw dressings, like Marie’s, Praise, etc.) that you purchase in jars or bottles are safe to consume while pregnant because they have been pasteurized.

Why Coleslaw Is Avoided In Pregnancy?

can pregnant women eat coleslaw

The reasons why pregnant women shouldn’t eat Coleslaw are listed below:

Listeriosis Problem

Coleslaw is food to stay away from while pregnant, according to experts at Colorado State University Extension. They specifically mention the potential for contracting listeriosis. The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium is the source of listeriosis. You have a 14 times greater chance of getting the infection if you’re pregnant. In severe cases, listeriosis can damage the placenta and result in miscarriage.

Foods like coleslaw may contain listeria. Coleslaw is typically consumed cold, raising the risk of contamination even though cooking destroys the bacteria.

Storage Problem

You might see sizable open coleslaw tubs at supermarket deli counters. Similar to this, coleslaw frequently appears in open bowls at a barbecue or buffet. The likelihood of listeria or other harmful bacteria contamination rises as a result of air and heat exposure. The government’s MedlinePlus website advises consumers to never consume coleslaw that has been exposed to the air or that came from a larger container.

Mayonnaise Problem

The majority of supermarkets’ mayonnaise usually has eggs that have been pasteurized safely in it.

However, all pregnant mothers should stay away from uncooked eggs in dishes like homemade mayonnaise.

Eat Coleslaw While Pregnant

You run the risk of getting salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus infections if the coleslaw you eat contains homemade mayonnaise. These infections run the risk of impairing the health of both you and your unborn child in both situations.

Why Should Pregnant Women Avoid Deli Coleslaw?

Deli coleslaw should be avoided in pregnancy because it’s often displayed and stored in open containers, making it more susceptible to cross-contamination. The deli meat is subject to the same safety measures.

Coleslaw, in contrast to deli meat, is raw food that is consumed cold. Therefore, heating it would not be able to eradicate any potential bacteria, including listeria.

Coleslaw from salad bars should be avoided for the same reason.

What If I Eat Coleslaw During Pregnancy?

If you’ve already eaten coleslaw, potato salad, or any other similar product during your pregnancy, don’t panic. You have a good chance of being fine because listeria is still extremely uncommon.

If you’ve just consumed a cold, prepared salad that you didn’t make yourself, proceed with caution. Just watch and wait. Immediately get in touch with a medical professional if you experience any unusual or worrisome symptoms, especially fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea.

How to Store Coleslaw While Pregnant to Keep It Safe?

You should try to choose the safest options and adhere to storage instructions if you are unable to stop eating coleslaw because of a craving for it while pregnant. What you’re looking for is right here! Read on to learn how to store coleslaw:

can pregnant women eat coleslaw
  • Your top priority should be to eat coleslaw as soon as possible. In general, it is better to consume coleslaw soon after making it to lower the risk of food poisoning.
  • Salads should never be left out at room temperature as this increases the possibility of bacterial contamination. When storing slaw during pregnancy, it is preferable to keep it in the refrigerator because it lowers the risk of health problems.
  • Use a cooler to keep your coleslaw fresh and suitable for consumption during pregnancy if you want to go on a picnic and include it among your food options.

About Coleslaw

Mayonnaise is added to a mixture of shredded vegetables, most commonly cabbage and carrot, to make coleslaw. Added raisins, pineapple, extra sauces, or apple chunks are examples of variations. The fundamental components of the slaw have not changed, though.

If the vegetables and fruits are fresh, properly washed, and prepared, a pregnant woman can safely consume all of these ingredients.

However, mayonnaise made from unpasteurized raw eggs might be dangerous. The general health risk of eating coleslaw while pregnant is that it creates the ideal environment for bacterial growth.

Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Unpasteurized Milk And Soft Cheeses

It is unlikely that unpasteurized (or raw) milk will be made available to you every day unless you reside on a farm.  To eradicate any potential disease-causing bacteria, all of the milk we purchase from stores and supermarkets is pasteurized.

can pregnant women eat coleslaw
  • Rare Or Raw Meat, Chicken Or Fish

To ensure that any dangerous bugs can be eliminated before you eat the food, it is crucial to make sure that everything you eat is thoroughly cooked. Therefore, steer clear of rare steak and lightly cooked fish. Instead, make sure the food is thoroughly cooked throughout.

  • Pate

When pregnant, pate should be avoided, whether it is made of meat, fish, or vegetables. It might contain more listeria bacteria than other foods. The fact that pate frequently contains liver, which is to be avoided during pregnancy, is another reason to avoid eating it.

  • Swordfish, Shark, And Marlin

Though probably not something you would eat every Tuesday night, swordfish, in particular, is gaining popularity. It is best to choose different fish since these fish may contain high levels of mercury. A young child’s developing nervous system could be harmed by an excessive mercury intake. 

  • Liver And Liver Products

Although fried or grilled liver may not be as popular as it once was, it is still available in all butcher shops and is a slice of very nutrient-dense offal meat that is high in iron. Although high intakes of Vitamin A are not advised during pregnancy, it is also very high in Vitamin A, which is a good thing if you aren’t pregnant. 

  • Deli Meats, Luncheon Meats, Pre-prepared Salads Eg Coleslaw

Since listeria bacteria can survive at fridge temperatures, certain chilled foods, like these, that are eaten without further cooking before eating, may carry a higher risk of containing this bacteria. 

  • Smoked Salmon And Gravid Lax Fish

Once more, it is best to stay away from smoked salmon because it has a higher risk of bacteria. Choose well-cooked salmon fillets or a pie with salmon and haddock as an alternative.

  • Alcohol

Since there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume, it is best to abstain altogether to reduce any risk to your unborn child.

  • Raw Eggs Or Products Made With Raw Eggs
can pregnant women eat coleslaw

While you probably don’t eat or drink raw eggs for breakfast as some bodybuilders do, this is definitely not the time to start, and you should conduct some research and steer clear of any foods that may contain raw eggs. Salmonella, which can be harmful to you and your unborn child, can be found in raw eggs.

  • Caffeine

Limiting your coffee consumption while you’re pregnant is advised because caffeine can have stimulant effects. Less than 200 mg should be consumed each day is the goal.


Can I Eat Potato Salad While Pregnant?

The British National Health Service advises pregnant women to avoid pre-prepared, cold products like coleslaw and potato salad. Coleslaw is also listed by the FDA as a food that may contain listeria.

Can You Eat KFC Coleslaw When Pregnant?

No, unless you are certain that the KFC coleslaw has been thoroughly cleaned and hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator for a while, you cannot eat it. Coleslaw is a high-risk food that can give pregnant women food poisoning.

Can You Eat Raising Cane’s Coleslaw When Pregnant?

Experts at the Colorado State University Extension list coleslaw as a food to avoid during pregnancy. They specifically make reference to the potential for contracting listeriosis. The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes is what causes listeriosis.

Can I Eat Nandos Coleslaw When Pregnant?

The short answer is that you can consume Nando’s mayonnaise while expecting. But it’s crucial to eat it moderately, just like any other food. Since eggs are used to make Nando’s mayonnaise, it is highly fatty and protein-rich.

Conclusion: Avoid Coleslaw When Pregnant

Coleslaw is a prepared, cold salad that is typically in high demand among pregnant women. Sadly, some variations of this salad, such as store-bought and restaurant slaw, are unsafe for them.

Homemade salads are a fantastic, healthy alternative to store-bought salads, but you’ll still need to take some precautions to avoid bacterial contamination when storing them and before you’ve finished eating them.

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