Pregnant women already know they need to eliminate food and beverages like coffee, some seafood, and alcohol from their diets. But did you know that there are other foods which can potentially be harmful to your unborn child? It is important to eat a well-balanced diet while avoiding foods that may contain bacteria and parasites.
Here are the three most common foodborne bacteria and parasites to watch out for when you are pregnant:
A bacteria that may lead to infection or blood poisoning of your baby, and can cause pregnancy complications or miscarriages. It is found in contaminated water and soil, and animals can also carry this bacteria.
Situations where you may come in contact with listeria:
- Consuming unwashed vegetables, raw or undercooked meat, deli meats, unpasteurized milk or ciders, or unpasteurized soft cheeses.
To stay safe: be sure to cook meat fully, wash all vegetables thoroughly, and avoid unpasteurized dairy products and ciders.
A bacteria carried by some animals which can be transmitted to humans through undercooked meat and raw eggs. Salmonella is typically found in animal products.
Situations where you may come in contact with salmonella:
- Consuming rare or uncooked animal products such as poached or sunny-side-up eggs.
- Consuming food that has touched a contaminated surface, such as fruit that was cut on the same surface as uncooked chicken.
To stay safe: avoid rare or uncooked animal products, and be extra careful to clean surfaces which were exposed to uncooked animal products.
A condition caused by a single-celled parasite that is harmful to your baby. This parasite is typically contracted by eating undercooked meat or by touching your hands to your mouth after contact with undercooked meat
Situations where you may come in contact with taxoplasmosis:
- Consuming rare or uncooked meat.
- Consuming food that has touched a contaminated surface, such as fruit that was cut on the same surface as uncooked meat products.
To stay safe: avoid rare meat, and be extra careful to clean surfaces used for meat preparation.