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Listeriosis – What Not to Eat During Pregnancy

Listeriosis

OK! Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about Listeriosis.

Listeriosis is the illness associated with consuming the bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes.

This bacteria is found in both water and soil. Since this bacteria can be found in water and soil, it makes sense that it can also be found in meat and vegetables that have not been cleaned or cooked.

Additionally, unpasteurized milk and foods made from unpasteurized milk can also be a source for carrying this bad bacteria to our bodies.

Symptoms of listeriosis typically reveal themselves within 3 – 70 days post exposure and include the following:

  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Advanced symptoms can include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Disorientation
  • Convulsions

Now keep in mind that contracting Listeriosis is quite rare (no pun intended!) but during pregnancy, because our immune system is slightly lowered, we can become more susceptible to it. Therefore, we must take extra precaution.

The following is a list of what not to eat during pregnancy as a precaution to avoid contracting this illness.

  • Soft cheeses that are not pasteurized
  • Raw meat
  • Raw fish
  • Deli meat
  • Hot dogs

Precautions to consider when handling food:

  • Thoroughly clean hands and surfaces prior to beginning
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and veggies
  • The refrigerator should be set to 40 degrees or below
  • Cook food to recommended temperatures
  • This chart outlines safe temperatures for meat consumption. o

Pasteurizing or cooking is lethal to this bacteria. Meat should be cooked with a thermometer to avoid undercooking. For additional information, this link may be helpful.

Confirmation of Listeriosis can be acquired through a simple blood test administered by your doctor. Don’t panic but do contact your physician or midwife if you think you may be at risk or if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.