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Pregnancy and practising proper food safety

October 11, 2014

Even if you are generally quite lucky when it comes to avoiding illnesses and conditions such as food poisoning, it’s important to remember that your circumstances change when you become pregnant.

The immune system of a pregnant woman is more vulnerable and susceptible to infection than it would be in normal circumstances. What’s more, unborn babies and new-borns have not yet developed their own immune system for fighting back against infection. Because of this, even a simple case of food poisoning can easily lead to birth complications, miscarriages and even stillbirth.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to protect yourself against dangers of food poisoning.

Keep food at the right temperature

Meat, seafood, poultry and egg products should always be thoroughly cooked before consumption. This is especially true in the case of preparing food for pregnant women, and if you are not sure about whether a particular item of food has been properly cooked, it is better to avoid it entirely.

Ensure that any items of food that you purchase from the store are transported home quickly and refrigerated immediately to keep them as fresh as possible.

Avoiding cross contamination

One of the most common causes of food poisoning is the cross contamination that occurs as a result of improper segmentation between ready-to-eat foods and raw meats. You should always use separate cutting boards to slice produce and raw meat even if you thoroughly clean the surfaces between each use.

When it comes to refrigerating foods, poultry and raw meat should be placed on the lowest shelf. This will reduce the chances of any juices dripping onto other foods.

Healthy hygiene practices

For pregnant women, there is no such thing as being “too clean”. You should always wash your hands on a regular basis – especially before and after you have handled food, been out in public, or used the bathroom. Also, make sure that you take extra precautions in keeping cutting surfaces, refrigerators, and countertops as clean as possible when at home.