Pregnant? Are You Eating Safely?
Preventing food-borne illness is always important, but this becomes even more important during pregnancy as it can adversely affect the mother and the unborn child. At present, there is low awareness about food safety and consequences of such illness, which is rather unfortunate. Lack of knowledge about safe food handling practices makes expecting mothers susceptible to pathogens (bacteria, virus and other parasites). Dr.Ragini Agarwal, Clinical Director, Pratiksha Hospital shares some insights here -
Listeria, Toxoplasma, Brucella, Salmonella and Campylobacter are some of the pathogens which may infect their system through intake of raw or uncooked food such as cheese, milk, meat and eggs. These pathogens can cross the placenta, thereby increasing the risk of infection in the foetus, resulting in miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labour or other severe complications for the baby.
Pregnant women are at increased risk for getting food-borne infections because of the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. While such changes are necessary for survival of the foetus, they also suppress the mother's immune system, thereby increasing the chance of infection from certain food-borne pathogens.
In order to prevent infections in your body or future problems for your baby, we advise that you observe the following:
- Washing your hands frequently and properly, avoiding cross-contamination, cooking to the right temperature and storing/refrigerating promptly.
- Avoid raw or undercooked meat.
- Request non - sharing of food or drinks with other people, politely.
- Don't empty pet litter. Cats can transmit toxoplasmosis.
You may need to take medicines or get a vaccine to prevent an infection in your baby. For example, you may need to take antibiotics if you develop an infection with group B strep, or take medicines if you have genital herpes. Only some medicines and vaccines are safe during pregnancy. Ask your doctor about how best to protect you and your baby.
Keeping food safety in mind, we suggest that some foods must be avoided during pregnancy: raw eggs, Sushi (raw fish), sausages, salad from stores, raw sprouts, unpasteurized milk or dairy products from open /doubtful source, cut open fruit. Always eat fresh, home cooked meals and avoid eating leftovers.
Pets are part of the family. You cannot disown them if you are expecting a baby home but limit contact with your pet until pregnancy by keeping caretaker. Wash hands frequently when around pets and avoid kissing/cuddling them. Keep your pet's vaccination up-to-date.
At W-Pratiksha Hospital, we ensure that personal hygiene, cooking and storage, food safety awareness are covered as priority topics, when would-be mothers are counselled.
Pregnancy is beautiful. Enjoy the phase that is specially gifted by nature, but stay safe.
Also read more about: Quick List of Foods to avoid during Pregnancy
This article is sponsored by: W Pratiksha Hospital
To consult Dr Ragini Agarwal in person, click here.