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How to Navigate Summer Barbeque Season While Pregnant

BBQ season is upon us! Here’s what that means for moms-to-be.

Summertime ushers in the season of heat waves, sunscreen, and barbeques. And while many pregnant women know that they have to be especially careful about the first two, they may not be as aware that there are things you need to know about navigating summer BBQ’s while pregnant. 


You may already know that you need to keep an eye on the mercury as summer rolls around in order to make sure you’re staying hydrated and avoiding exerting yourself too much during the sun’s peak hours, but did you know that you also need to keep an eye on the meat thermometer as well? Making sure that any meats you eat off the grill have been thoroughly cooked is especially important during pregnancy, as foodborne illnesses can pose serious complications for mamas-to-be. 


Hot dogs can be dressed up or down, depending on your personal preference, which makes them such a popular BBQ staple. But, for pregnant women, they should be enjoyed a little less frequently, according to Registered Dietician Ashley Shaw. “I would say that hot dogs and sausages should be consumed in moderation as these tend to be high in nitrates, which can possibly lead to a preterm delivery.” Just make sure you don’t overdo it and you’ll be fine to enjoy your fair share of hot dogs. 


During summer barbeques it’s not uncommon for foods and sides (like our BBQ favorite deviled eggs) to sit out while everyone takes turns serving themselves. While the unmanned potato salad station can be good because there’s no one there to see you come back for seconds (or thirds), it means you’ll have no way of knowing how long the food sat out, which is why Shaw says you should be cautious. “Any foods that are served cold should not be consumed if they have been out for longer than two hours,” she says. “Likewise with hot foods, if they have been away from heat for more than two hours, stay away.” After the two hour time period, Shaw says the temperature of these foods enters something called the ‘danger zone,’ which makes it prime for bacterial growth. 


During pregnancy, women should consume 8 to 12 [8 fl oz] cups of water a day. “When out in the sun, during periods of vigorous exercise, or when feeling under the weather, pregnant women should aim for the higher end of that range, at least 12 cups,” Shaw says. “This is to make sure they are replacing any water that may be lost due to sweat or excess urination.” And because when we talk about summer barbeques, we also talk about ice cold brews, it’s especially important to remember that alcohol is a no-no.

“It can be very frustrating to have everyone around you enjoying a nice cold beer when you are pregnant and avoiding alcohol consumption,” Shaw says. But you can beat the heat (and satisfy your fizzy drink cravings) with non-alcoholic alternatives like our favorite citrus blend. Just be sure to choose flavored seltzers or other non-alcoholic drinks that are naturally flavored, and do not have any added sugar or artificial sweeteners, adds Shaw, as these can actually make you more thirsty.

It may sound like enjoying a summer barbeque involves a lot of added restrictions, but these are guidelines that everyone should be following. Plus, there are plenty of perks to being pregnant during barbeque season, not least of which is the fact that you have an excuse to kick back and let others bring you a plate loaded with your summer favorites! 

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