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Food poisoning during pregnancy

Food poisoning during pregnancy may be more common than you would think. Learn more about risk factors, symptoms, and treatments to reduce the chances of getting sick.

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Pregnancy brings with it a higher risk of food poisoning. It can be a frightening experience for expectant parents. There are many risks associated with food poisoning during pregnancy.

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy affect the immune system and can make you more susceptible to food poisoning.

Food poisoning occurs when a person eats a food or drinks a drink that contains bacteria, viruses, parasites or other contaminants.

Food poisoning during pregnancy can harm the baby, lead to premature birth, result in pregnancy loss or cause stillbirth. But there are many ways to prevent and treat it.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning during pregnancy

Common symptoms of food poisoning include the following:

  • stomach upturn
  • abdominal pains
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fire

The timing of symptoms will depend on when the person ate the contaminated food and what type of food poisoning they have.

The type of food poisoning also causes various symptoms. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of the following types of food poisoning.


Food poisoning during pregnancy

Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to be infected with listeria than the general population. Symptoms can take anywhere from a week to a month to appear. These can include:

  • fire
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • fatigue


Food poisoning during pregnancy

Salmonella symptoms appear between 6 hours and 6 days after exposure to contaminated food.

  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • Nausea


Food poisoning during pregnancy

Norovirus symptoms usually start 12-48 hours after consuming contaminated food or drink. Symptoms are as follows:

  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea


Symptoms of E.coli appear 3-4 days after consumption of contaminated food and are as follows

  • stomach pains
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea


Staph symptoms can appear as quickly as 30 minutes to 8 hours. Symptoms are as follows

  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pains
  • diarrhea
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Disorders with Similar Symptoms

Below are some other conditions that give symptoms similar to food poisoning.

Food Poisoning or Gastrointestinal Inflammation?

Food poisoning during pregnancy

Gastroenteritis, also known as gastroenteritis, is very contagious and can easily be passed from person to person. This condition is an inflammation of the intestine. It can be caused by contaminated food and drinks, but the main cause is usually a bacterial or viral infection.

Food poisoning is not usually contagious. Usually the only way it can be transmitted to more than one person is if they consume the same food.

Food Poisoning or Morning Nausea?

Food poisoning during pregnancy

Morning sickness has symptoms similar to food poisoning. A person with morning sickness may have symptoms during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but it can occur at any time.


Food poisoning can be dangerous for the unborn child as well as the parent. It can cause serious health problems for the child, pregnancy loss, premature birth, stillbirth or even death of the person carrying the child.

Developing fetuses need to get as much food as possible from the parents who carry them. If the parent cannot keep the food in the body long enough for the body to absorb it, the baby may not develop sufficiently.

A person with mild symptoms can pass the infection to their unborn child and not even realize they have food poisoning.

If the person carrying the child is infected, the child may have health problems and may even be born with food poisoning.

Food Poisoning Treatment at Home

Pregnant women should contact their doctor immediately if they have symptoms of food poisoning, but there are some things that can be done at home.

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Food poisoning during pregnancy

It can be difficult to eat when you have food poisoning, but pregnant women need to gather strength and eat for themselves and their baby. It can be helpful to keep the stomach as calm as possible by eating unflavored, low-fat foods.

Here are the foods that can be eaten:

  • saltine crackers
  • Toast
  • apple sauce
  • mashed potato
  • boiled rice


Food poisoning during pregnancy

People with food poisoning are at high risk of dehydration. It is therefore important to drink enough fluids. Here are some easy ways to replace lost fluids:

  • drinking water
  • drinking juices diluted with water
  • consuming sports drinks containing electrolytes
  • consuming meat broth

Oral rehydration solutions or salts can also help to replace glucose and electrolytes. These are waters with extra salt and glucose added and help the body.

Natural Solutions

Ginger has properties that reduce nausea and vomiting. Ginger tea can also help people with these symptoms.

When to Contact a Doctor?

Food poisoning during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and think you may have food poisoning, you should contact your doctor immediately. Although most people can overcome food poisoning without medical help, pregnant women need to think about the health of the unborn child.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms

  • Fever over 39
  • blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth and throat
  • frequent vomiting

Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning

Although the risks of food poisoning during pregnancy can be frightening, there are ways to prevent it.

Types of Food to Avoid

Food poisoning can be caused by many different food products. But there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. Examples are below.

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Red Meat and Poultry

Food poisoning during pregnancy

Make sure they are cooked very well. This reduces the chance of food poisoning. A meat thermometer can show when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. For example, red meat should be heated to at least 63 degrees Celsius and should also be allowed to rest for 3 minutes after cooking.


Food poisoning during pregnancy

Unwashed and raw vegetables can cause food poisoning. Wash all vegetables thoroughly.


Consuming raw and undercooked eggs increases the risk of disease. The risk is lower with pasteurized eggs.


Milk products

Food poisoning is more likely with unpasteurized milk. This includes cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

Water Products

Pregnant women should avoid products containing raw or undercooked fish, such as sushi. Cooked seafood and canned food are less likely to cause illness.

Other foods that pregnant women should avoid are as follows:

  • raw sprouts
  • appetizer type salads
  • foie gras pate

In addition, processed and dried meat should be avoided until at least 74 degrees Celsius.

Food Safety Tips

To avoid food poisoning, pay attention to the following food safety recommendations:


Food poisoning during pregnancy

When preparing food, everything must be clean. This includes washing hands, utensils, countertops and cutting boards. This reduces the risk of infection.

Washing fresh fruit and juices in running water also removes germs that cause food poisoning.


Make sure that utensils that touch raw food do not touch cooked food. Keep raw meat, white meat, seafood and eggs away from other foods and do not mix when preparing them.


Food poisoning during pregnancy

Use a thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of the food kills all poisoning-causing bacteria.

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Cool down

Cool perishable foods immediately and make sure the refrigerator is at or below 4 degrees Celsius. Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Bacteria can multiply quickly when food is thawed on the counter.


According to statistics, 48 million people contract foodborne diseases every year. Of these, 128,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 die.

Pregnant women are more prone to food poisoning.

Food poisoning usually goes away on its own within a few days but can be serious and even fatal in pregnant women. Following food safety steps can help you avoid food poisoning and prevent any pregnancy problems.

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The articles on this site are for information purposes only. The site administrators are not responsible for attempting to apply any recipe, advice or diet, nor do they guarantee that the information provided will help or harm you personally. Be cautious and always consult a doctor or nutritionist!

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