• My Baby and Me - Food Safety During the Holidays when you are Pregnant

    The holiday season is filled with parties, family gatherings, and lots of food. While everyone wants to keep food-safe, it is especially important for pregnant women to do so. Pregnant women are at increased risk of food poisoning. In fact, pregnant women are about ten times more likely than the general population to get sick from listeriosis, a rare but deadly foodborne infection caused by the bacteria, Listeria. And, one in seven Listeria infections occurs during pregnancy.

    Food Safe and Pregnant: Tips for the Holidays and Beyond

    Why are pregnant women more likely to get food poisoning?

    • You and your growing fetus are more vulnerable to some foodborne illnesses because during pregnancy your immune system is weakened, which makes it harder for your body to fight off harmful foodborne germs.
    • Food Safety Experts Hold Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat

    • Your unborn baby's immune system is not developed enough to fight off harmful foodborne germs.
    • For both mother and baby, foodborne illness can cause serious health problems—or even death.

    So how can you keep you and your unborn child safe from harmful food germs like Listeria and free of complications during pregnancy and delivery—especially during the holidays?

    Graphic: Don't toss your cookies. Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat, Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 3-4pm ET

    Here are some quick tips to help you make smarter food--and beverage--decisions 

    1. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially when
      1. Touching raw meat, raw eggs or unwashed vegetables
      2. Preparing food
      3. Before eating or drinking
    • Have you got Child and Infant First Aid Products Handy? Have you got Child and Infant First Aid Products Handy?

      Don’t share forks, cups, or food with young children. Wash your hands often when around children. Their saliva and urine might contain a virus that could be harmful for you and your unborn baby.

    • Cook your meat and poultry until it’s well-done: Well-cooked is well eaten. Meat and poultry can carry harmful germs like E. coli and Toxoplasma. Always cook hamburger, chicken, and other meat items until they are well-done to ensure bacteria and parasites are killed in the cooking process. And, heat cold cuts until they are steaming to avoid possible contamination.
    • Avoid raw or unpasteurized dairy: Raw or unpasteurized dairy may contain harmful bacteria. Avoid soft cheeses such as queso fresco, Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, or Roquefort if they are raw or unpasteurized. Just say no to other unpasteurized or raw products, like milk or juice as well.
    • Be aware of holiday beverages. Watch out for alcohol-containing holiday punches and eggnogs. Avoid eggnog entirely unless you know it was made with pasteurized eggs and contains no alcohol.
    • Make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked [PDF - 84KB] before eating: Sneaky Salmonella lurks inside eggs. Lots of foods are made with raw or undercooked eggs: Caesar dressing, homemade ice cream, cookie dough, mayonnaise, and eggnog, to name a few. To avoid contamination and possible food poisoning, always use pasteurized eggs and avoid runny yolks by cooking thoroughly.
    • To learn more about food safety and/or infections during pregnancy contact CDC-INFO at cdcinfo@cdc.gov or 1-800-CDC-INFO. Or, you may visit CDC's Pregnancy Information gateway, the FoodSafety.gov portal for pregnant women.

      More Information

  • Protect Your Unborn Baby from Infections

    If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, find out how to protect your unborn baby from infections that can cause serious health problems.

    A few of the infections that affect unborn babies or newborns include:

    • Group B Strep -- About 1 in 4 women carry Group B Strep. This bacteria is usually not harmful to you, but it can be passed on to your baby during childbirth and lead to a potentially deadly infection in your newborn.If you test positive for Group B Strep, you can protect your baby by getting IV antibiotics during labor.
    • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) -- Some babies born with CMV infection will develop permanent health problems, such as hearing or vision loss or mental disabilities. Help protect your unborn baby by washing your hands often, avoiding contact with saliva and urine, and taking additional precautions to reduce your risk of exposure to CMV.
    • Listeriosis -- Pregnant women are 13 times more likely than the general population to get listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria. Protect yourself and your unborn baby by avoiding certain foods while you're pregnant.
    • See Child First Aid & Infant Care Products

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