Irresponsible food safety practices could have an adverse effect on pregnancy. It is important to be aware of potential dangers that foodborne illnesses could pose to expecting women. We have put together a highlight of numerous food safety and preparation mistakes to avoid during pregnancy.
Food Borne Illnesses and Pregnancy
Maladies produced by the organisms found in rancid food can precipitate serious illness in anyone. However, soon-to-be mothers are at greater risk from such threats because their immune systems tend to be weaker. This occurrence may leave them more susceptible to contract the bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne ailments.
Furthermore, physical manifestations of these disorders are often worse in expecting women, which could threaten the health of their unborn children and themselves. In severe cases, foodborne illnesses could potentially lead to serious complications, such as miscarriage and birth defects.
Steps Expecting Women Can Employ to Reduce Their Risk
Fortunately, women may reduce their chances of developing foodborne maladies by executing the following precautionary safeguards:
- Thoroughly Cleaning Utensils and Dishrags – Foodborne illness-causing organisms can linger on utensils and dishrags. That said, one crucial action necessary to prevent contracting such illnesses is to thoroughly wash forks, knives, spoons and dishes.
- Rinse the items using warm water and detergent for several minutes. Additionally, routinely wash or dispose items like dishrags and sponges. Old or worn cleaning implements could carry lingering bacteria or viruses.
- Avoid Consuming Food That Has Been Left Out for Extended Durations – Almost everyone has likely attended a party or some other social gathering where food has been left out at room temperature for long periods. Healthcare professionals and food safety experts caution expecting women to only eat items that have been outside of the refrigerator for no longer than two hours. Any longer than that is believed to be susceptible to contracting foodborne organisms.
- Eating Old Leftovers – Leftovers can provide a quick meal or snack. However, they typically have short shelf lives and tend to go bad after lingering for several days. Food safety experts recommend labeling the date all leftovers were prepared. Should an expecting woman come across food items longer than a few days past that time, the food should be discarded.
- Cooking Foods for Sufficient Durations – Certain items must be cooked thoroughly to kill the potentially harmful substances and organisms that might be contained inside them, especially chicken. Would-be mothers should always follow specific cooking instructions carefully and, in some cases, not be afraid to cook the product more than the required time. Eating overcooked food beats consuming rancid items.
- Avoid Thawing Food Outside of the Refrigerator – Obviously, when frozen food thaws, the products become warmer. During the warming stage, foodborne organisms can emerge and multiply at a rapid pace. Food safety professionals suggest all thawing be performed inside the refrigerator or, when the need arises, the microwave.
- Staying Away From Eating Raw Foods – Sometimes, people like the taste of raw items, such as cookie dough, and consume them. In other instances, specific items are served raw (sushi). The consumption of any uncooked items can potentially be dangerous (especially for soon-to-be mothers) and such activity should be refrained from at all times.
- Avoiding Cross-Contamination – This can occur when raw items such as meat or poultry come into contact with ready-made items like prepared deli meats. Juices or extracts of the raw products could contain organisms that mix with the ready-made items and contaminate these edibles. Raw items should be wrapped tightly and kept separate from other foods.
- Washing Meat or Poultry in Designated Areas – Partaking in such an activity can be counterproductive. Rinsing off raw meat products might enable harmful organisms to spread to surfaces such as countertops and sinks. Washing should be performed atop a designated surface.
- Being Conscious of Food Recalls – Every so often, a specific product might be subjected to recall by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to contamination with a foodborne illness or some other safety issue. Expecting women may wish to consider periodically checking the FDA or other pertinent websites for the recalls.
- Using a Meat Thermometer – Meat or poultry products must be cooked at a certain temperature to ensure thorough preparation. Cooking and food safety experts encourage individuals to use a meat thermometer to ensure the items reach a proper temperature during the preparation process.
- Rinsing Off Produce With Inedible Skins – Some produce items might have skin that cannot be consumed. However, the covering does not provide a barrier against foodborne contaminants. Prior to eating such products, would-be moms are strongly advised to wash the items thoroughly.
- Washing Your Hands – It might be the most obvious safeguard. Despite that, many persons neglect to wash their hands prior to food preparation or consumption. Using warm water and soap for several minutes can eliminate most foodborne organisms.
In the End
It is important to be extra cautious when you are pregnant. Take the time to implement these food safety rules and precautions to help make sure that you and your growing baby are as healthy as possible.