Pregnancy is a time filled with excitement and anticipation, as well as questions and concerns about what is safe for both mother and baby. One common question that many pregnant women have is whether or not it is safe to consume cold chicken during pregnancy. While chicken is a popular and nutritious food, there are potential risks involved when consuming it while pregnant. In this article, we will explore the potential dangers and precautions to take when considering eating cold chicken during pregnancy, so you can make informed decisions for a healthy and happy pregnancy.

Is It Safe to Consume Cold Chicken During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a time when expectant mothers become more cautious about what they eat in order to ensure the health and development of their unborn baby. One common question that arises during this time is whether or not it is safe to consume cold chicken while pregnant. While chicken is a staple in most diets, it is important for pregnant women to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions in order to have a healthy pregnancy.

Potential Risks of Consuming Cold Chicken During Pregnancy

Cold chicken, also known as leftover cooked chicken that has been refrigerated, can pose certain risks to pregnant women if not handled or stored properly. The main concern with consuming cold chicken while pregnant is the risk of foodborne illness. Raw poultry, including chicken, can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. These bacteria can survive in cooked chicken if it is not stored or reheated to the proper temperature.

Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing foodborne illnesses due to changes in their immune system during pregnancy. These changes can weaken the body’s ability to fight off infections, making pregnant women more susceptible to food poisoning. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to complications for both mother and baby such as dehydration, premature labor, and even miscarriage.

Precautions to Take When Consuming Cold Chicken During Pregnancy

While there are potential risks associated with consuming cold chicken during pregnancy, there are also precautions that can be taken to reduce these risks and enjoy chicken safely. Here are some safety measures that pregnant women should keep in mind:

  • Proper Storage: It is important to store chicken properly in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it in an airtight container or plastic bag and place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. It is recommended to store cooked chicken for no more than 3-4 days.
  • Thorough Cooking: Pregnant women should ensure that any chicken they consume is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C). This kills any harmful bacteria that may be present in raw chicken. Avoid eating rare or undercooked chicken, as well as dishes that contain undercooked chicken such as salads or sandwiches.
  • Reheating: If you plan on consuming leftover chicken, make sure to reheat it to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before consumption. This will help destroy any bacteria that may have grown during storage. Use a food thermometer to ensure the proper temperature is reached.
  • Freshness Check: It is important to check the appearance and smell of chicken before consuming it. If it looks or smells off, it is best to discard it to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
  • Trimming and Cleaning: Before cooking, make sure to trim off any excess fat or skin on the chicken. Also, wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling raw chicken to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Other Considerations When Consuming Chicken During Pregnancy

In addition to taking necessary precautions when consuming cold chicken, pregnant women should also consider other factors that may affect their health and the health of their baby. This includes the type of chicken consumed and the frequency of consumption.

Organic vs. Conventional Chicken: Organic chicken is often seen as a healthier option due to the absence of chemicals and hormones used in their production. However, there is no significant evidence to suggest that organic chicken is any safer for pregnant women compared to conventionally produced chicken. The key is to ensure that the chicken is handled, stored, and cooked properly.

Frequency of Consumption: It is important to have a balanced and varied diet during pregnancy. While chicken can be a good source of protein, it is recommended to limit consumption to no more than 2-3 servings per week. This is to reduce the risk of exposure to any potential harmful bacteria and to allow for a diverse intake of other important nutrients.

Alternatives to Consuming Cold Chicken During Pregnancy

If you are still unsure about consuming cold chicken during pregnancy or want to take extra precautions, there are alternative options that pregnant women can consider:

  • Freshly Cooked Chicken: Instead of consuming leftover chicken, consider cooking fresh chicken and consuming it immediately. This eliminates the risk of improper storage and reheating that may lead to foodborne illness.
  • Vegetarian Options: For pregnant women who are concerned about the risks associated with consuming animal products, there are plenty of vegetarian protein sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu that they can incorporate into their diet.
  • Well-Cooked Plant-Based Alternatives: Some plant-based alternatives such as veggie burgers or meat substitutes may pose a lower risk of foodborne illness compared to poultry or meat products. However, it is still important to thoroughly cook these products and check the expiry date before consumption.

In conclusion, is it safe to consume cold chicken during pregnancy?

While there may be potential risks associated with consuming cold chicken during pregnancy, it is safe to consume as long as proper precautions are taken. By storing, cooking, and handling chicken properly, pregnant women can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and enjoy chicken safely throughout their pregnancy. As with any food, it is important to consume chicken in moderation and have a balanced diet to ensure the health and development of both mother and baby.


  1. “Can You Eat Cold Chicken When Pregnant?” New Kids-Center, 1 Nov. 2020,
  2. “Food Safety for Pregnant Women.” CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
  3. “Is It Safe To Eat Chicken During Pregnancy?” Pregnancy Food Checker, 18 Sept. 2020,
  4. “Organic vs. Conventional Foods.” HealthLinkBC, HealthLink BC, 20 Jan. 2021,

In conclusion, consuming cold chicken during pregnancy can pose certain risks and precautions should be taken to ensure a healthy pregnancy. While cold chicken is generally safe to eat, there is a risk of bacteria such as Listeria which can harm the developing baby. It is important to make sure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly and stored properly to minimize any potential risks. Additionally, pregnant women with weakened immune systems should avoid eating cold chicken altogether. As with any food during pregnancy, it is crucial to practice good hygiene and to consult with a healthcare provider for specific dietary recommendations. Overall, while it is possible to enjoy cold chicken during pregnancy, it is important to take necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby.

By Kitty Smith

I am a Ohio living blogger with a penchant for all things pretty. You can typically find me roaming around my neighborhood of Long Island with latte in my hand and with an iPhone raised above my head to capture the majesty of it all. I mostly post fashion content to Kitty's Lifestyle and I also post recipes on my cooking blog Kitty's Kitchen Recipes.

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