What You Need to Know to Reduce Your Risk of Miscarriage from Food Poisoning

Pregnancy is a time of joy but also of caution. Everyone has had food poisoning at one time or another, and it’s never fun, but most healthy adults recover fairly easily from such infections. Pregnancy can be another story; in severe cases, food poisoning during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Most pregnant women have heard of recommendations to avoid certain types of food that might harbor dangerous bacteria, such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli.

But do you know exactly which foods can pose a risk? Here’s a list of basic pointers on how to reduce your risk of miscarriage and stillbirth from food-borne infections.

  • Know which foods to avoid.
    Avoiding foods known to be risky for bacterial contamination goes a long way toward preventing food poisoning (and reducing miscarriage risk). Common culprits include deli meats, undercooked meats, undercooked eggs, and unwashed vegetables.

  • Watch your cheeses.
    This falls into the same category as the above, but it can be confusing to figure out which cheeses may pose a risk of harboring the dangerous Listeria bacteria. Any cheeses made from "raw" or unpasteurized milk should be avoided.

  • Prepare food carefully.
    Everyone, whether pregnant or not, will reduce their risk of a bout with food poisoning if they follow simple precautions when preparing food at home. Be careful about which restaurants you visit while pregnant also; even the cleanest looking restaurant could still have a dirty kitchen, but steer clear of any food establishment that sets off warning bells.

  • Don’t worry too much.
    It’s easy to stress over every little thing when you are pregnant (particularly if you have had a miscarriage before), but remember that common sense goes a long way. Food poisoning can indeed cause miscarriages, but food-borne infections are far from a common cause of pregnancy loss and should not be a major concern if you take the above precautions.

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