Food is in the spotlight when you are pregnant. Every time you eat – you remind yourself that you are eating for two. But do you know that if you focus only on eating healthy – you and your baby – may not be safe! There may be bugs in your food that are conveniently hidden in the shadows. Bugs that are not baby friendly. Watch out for them!
Food Poisoning is ugly
Bugs can contaminate any food that is not properly cleaned, cooked and stored. You can get food poisoning when you eat or drink something with these harmful bugs in it. Stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhoea and less frequently fever headache and body ache follow which can lead to dehydration and exhaustion. Pregnant women who have lowered immunity to accommodate their babies usually suffer more severe consequences. There is the possibility of miscarriage, severe health problems in the baby, premature labour and in extreme cases, even death. Alarmingly, food poisoning can sometimes exist without symptoms in the mother and the bugs can move in and quietly infect the baby.
Keep the bugs away
The thought of bugs affecting your unborn baby is scary, but don’t panic. There is good news. These bugs run miles away when certain food safety rules are followed and certain foods avoided.
Stay away from the risky stuff
1. Throughout pregnancy it is a good idea to avoid eating undercooked meat and seafood. Watch out for kababs – they are sometimes - only partially cooked on the inside.
2. It is best not to eat raw fruits and vegetables in salads if there is a chance of their being unwashed.
3. Soft cheeses are likely to be made with unpasteurized milk and are unsafe. Cheeses like Feta, Brie and Camembert should not be eaten during pregnancy unless they specifically say “made with pasteurized milk”. Watch out for locally available non packaged paneer and cream as well – these are not safe either.
4. Raw undercooked eggs by themselves or in mousses, custards, salad dressings and sauces should be skipped.
5. Always prefer fried eggs to sunny side up.
6. Unpasteurized milk is a strict no-no. Even if the milk is boiled, it is not uncommon to find that the boiling has been inadequate. UHT milk is the best to consume. And since UHT milk is packaged in Tetra Pak cartons – it does not require boiling either. It thus tastes better, retains all its nutrients and is more convenient to consume. Just cut – pour and drink.
7. Juices that are not sold packaged in Tetra Pak cartons must also be avoided as they are not pasteurized and may contain bugs.
The bugs causing food poisoning can be present in food that smells and tastes good and so it is vital not to abandon these golden rules when you are eating for two.