When you are pregnant you need to be extra careful about the food that you are eating. The diet you are consuming should not only be providing enough energy and nutrients for your baby to grow and develop, but should also be healthy and hygienic. The food you consume should be free from various type of harmful bacteria. During pregnancy your immune system gets weak and you become more vulnerable to the germs that cause food poisoning. So while making your food choices you should take some extra precautions and care. Just to guide you below we have gathered all the important information about food poisoning during pregnancy including how to treat and be safe if you already have it.
Food Poisoning During Pregnancy
Food poisoning is a sickness or illness which is caused by consuming contaminated food or water. In most of the cases it is not fatal but if the symptoms are severe and persist for a longer period of time than they may cause certain risks for a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Though it could be slightly difficult to figure whether you have contracted food poisoning or its your nausea or morning sickness, it can be determined easily by some simple tests.
What are the Causes Of Food Poisoning in Pregnancy?
Contamination of food can happen at any point from storing to preparing. Many microbes can potentially bring about food poisoning. Food poisoning during pregnancy usually happens due to,
- Unhygienic storage and improper cleaning of food
- Opting Tinned food or refrigerated food instead of freshly cooked ones
- Not sticking to personal hygiene like washing hands thoroughly before eating food
- Drinking contaminated water and eating from roadside vendors.
Most food poisoning is connected to one of the following causes:
- Bacteria: coli, Listeria, and Salmonella are the common cause of food poisoning
- Virus: Hepatitis A virus, Nora virus are the intestinal virus that can be the source of food poisoning
- Parasites: Toxoplasma is the parasite can bring about food poisoning. Toxoplasma is commonly found in cat feces and under cooked meat.
- Cross Contamination:Cross-contamination happens when the germs from one food (usually raw) transfer to another food which by itself was uncontaminated. These disease-causing microbes can be transferred either directly (when one food touches or drips onto another), or indirectly, (from contaminated work surfaces, unwashed hands, knives, types of equipment like mixer and blenders and other utensils). Cross-contamination is a common cause of food poisoning.
How Can I Prevent Cross-Contamination Of Bacteria Between Foods?
- Scrub It:
Cross contamination more often happens through kitchen tools. The most common kitchen tools which usually bring about cross contamination are working surfaces, knives and cutting boards. As cross-contamination happens because the utensils and work surfaces are not being cleaned properly, prevention of cross-contamination is only possible by strictly following the cleanliness.
- Wash the knife and cutting boards and utensils thoroughly. Use an effective tool like Scotch-brite Anti-Bacterial Scrub Pad.
- Scotch-Brite Anti Bacterial Scrub Pad with Neem Fragrance is a unique scrub pad fortified with anti-bacterial property that prevents bacteria from growing on the pad.
Scotch-Brite Anti Bacterial Scrub Pad with Neem Fragrance is a unique scrub pad fortified with anti-bacterial property that prevents bacteria from growing on the pad.
Why one should consider Buying 3M Scotch-Brite Anti Bacterial Scrub Pad?
Ordinary scrub pads are the breeding grounds for bacteria. The Scotch-Brite Antibacterial Scrub Pad does not let bacteria grow on itself and thus prevents cross contamination
The Antibacterial Scrub Pad with a nice neem fragrance remains fresh for a much longer period of time and ensures a safe and hygienic was for utensils.
Always take measures to well separate the raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods while you put it in your cart while shopping. Never let their juices drip on to other food items. Keep this in your mind while storing it in the refrigerator as well. If possible, use separates cutting boards for vegetables and fruits, and for poultry, seafood, and raw meat.
Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating even if you stored it after cleaning it once. This will bring down the chances of food poisoning due to cross contamination.
What Are The Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning can be an unpleasant experience, especially for pregnant women as its symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, fever, chills and headaches. During pregnancy women usually mix the symptoms of food poisoning with normal pregnancy signs but while you are pregnant any vomiting associated with slight cramps or fever should be immediately reported to your doctor with clear mentioned history of food you ate last time or previous day.
Also, keep in mind that symptoms of food poisoning caused by bacteria listeria mostly resemble flu like symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, chills and nausea. So it’s always good to consult your doctor even if you suspect your symptoms resemble those of flu even mildly. Being cautious goes hand in hand with being pregnant.
Will Food Poisoning During Pregnancy Harm My Unborn Baby?
Most pregnant women recover easily from an episode of food poisoning. However, you could face some unpleasant situations if the infection is contracted through salmonella, campylobacter, e-coli and listeria. In such a case, especially if you have fallen prey to serious bacterial infection like listeria, food poisoning can be a potential risk for your baby. However there are certain other factors which can affect your case like your general health case history and stage of your pregnancy. Most of the time there are no complications and women just suffer from mild symptoms which pose no threat to mother and baby.
How Can Food Poisoning Be Treated During Pregnancy?
Treatment of food poisoning during pregnancy will depend upon the symptoms you are facing. If they are mild in nature then your doctor can simply advise you to drink plenty of fluids and take rest but if in case the symptoms are severe you can get admitted to the hospital for proper monitoring. Electrolyte will be given and if required your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. Not to worry, the prescribed antibiotics will be safe during pregnancy.
How Can I Prevent Food Poisoning When Expecting?
The best way to prevent food poisoning during pregnancy is to eat safe and uncontaminated food, one more important factor which can help you in prevention is to handle your food safely.
Below are some general guidelines which can help you in prevention –
- Always wash your hands before and after eating and cooking food
- Wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating them
- Cover all leftover items before keeping them in fridge, consume them within one day or best would be don’t eat any leftover item
- Check expiry date of each food product that you are consuming
- Make sure the food is cooked properly especially meat and eggs. If you are heating a ready to cook meal then make sure to heat it thoroughly
There are certain food items which can cause food poisoning if not handled or cooked properly like meat, poultry and seafood. These food items comprise infectious factors responsible for food poisoning that are usually killed during cooking. If these foods are eaten raw, or remain under-cooked then food poisoning can happen.
Natural Home Remedies For Food Poisoning In Pregnancy
Below are some quite effective natural home remedies which can help you in treating food poisoning –
- Drink lemon water with some added sugar and a pinch of salt. It will keep you hydrated and will also help you in maintaining the electrolyte balance in the body. The acidic property of lemon will kill the bacteria and its anti-inflammatory properties will reduce the discomfort and pain
- Mix the extract of ginger with honey and then swallow it once or twice a day. It is an excellent home remedy to treat ailments related to digestive disorders. You can also add ginger to the lemon water for quick relief from vomiting and nausea
- Try few table spoon of mint paste with yogurt as mint also has cooling effect on stomach along with antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties
Majority of cases of food poisoning will not cause any significant health problem for you and your baby but just bear in mind that eating healthy will be healthier for your developing baby, so it’s well worth to be extra careful about what you are eating so that you can avoid falling ill.