Food poisoning during pregnancy can wreck havoc on not only the body of the pregnant woman but can harm the fetus as well. A balanced diet filled with nutritious food is essential for the health and well being of the mother-to-be as well as the unborn baby.However certain food borne infections can cause pregnancy food poisoning.
The severity of the symptoms may vary based on the infection contacted and the health of the pregnant woman. While some may suffer from mild symptoms such as heartburn others may cause severe nausea, dehydration, vomiting along with fever and chills. Certain infections may be passed on to the baby or can even result in a miscarriage or stillbirth.
There are a number of types of food poisoning that can be parasitic, bacterial, amoebic or protozoan. A common form of food poisoning in pregnancy is listeriosis caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The bacteria present in the cells and the blood stream produce toxins that can damage the cells. While a healthy person can combat the bacterial strain effectively, for people with compromised immune systems the bacteria can pose a great risk.
In pregnancy listeriosis can lead to infection being passed on to the fetus which in turn can cause stillbirth, infancy sepsis, result in premature delivery or cause a miscarriage. It can be transmitted through the placenta or affect the child during the birthing process.
The bacteria are usually found in dairy products like soft cheese or in fruits and vegetables. Mild flu like symptoms along with muscle cramps, fever along with diarrhea are some common symptoms of the infection. If the infection affects the nervous system then headaches, stiff neck, decreased consciousness and loss of balance may ensue. To prevent this infection stay away from uncooked meats, soft cheese and milk that has not been pasteurized.
Pregnant women are also prone to parasitic food poisoning caused by the Toxoplasma gondii. A pregnant woman is infected with Toxoplasmosis when she swallows the eggs of the parasite that are present in the soil and other contaminated surfaces.
Placing your hand in the mouth accidentally when gardening or when cleaning your pet cat’s feces can result in this infection. This can pass on to the fetus and result in birth defects, stillbirth or miscarriage.
Toxoplasmosis does not cause any apparent symptoms. However some women may suffer from swollen lymph nodes and muscle pain. Wearing gardening gloves and avoiding contact with contaminated surfaces can help prevent this infection.