Food safety musts for moms-to-be

March 1, 2017

iStock-525033368.jpgAs a mom-to-be, you know a healthy diet is a must for both you and your growing baby. But an extra safe diet is also essential—one that protects the two of you from food poisoning.

Food poisoning is never a good thing. But it's especially risky now that you're expecting. Pregnancy alters your immune system, making it harder to fight off harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that can multiply in food and make you seriously ill.

What's more, even if you have no outward symptoms after eating contaminated food, your unborn child can still be harmed. Among other things, foodborne illnesses can cause a miscarriage, early labor or stillbirth.

So take extra care to keep you and your baby safe. Here's how:

Wash those hands. With proper handwashing, nearly half of all cases of foodborne illnesses might be eliminated, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What's a proper cleaning? Scrub your hands regularly with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

Separate. Bacteria from raw meat, poultry or seafood can contaminate ready-to-eat food. So keep these foods apart. That means using one cutting board for raw foods and another for foods such as fruit, vegetables, and bread.

Toss it. Perishable foods that have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours aren't safe to eat.

Avoid it. Certain foods are off-limits during pregnancy. On the list: raw or undercooked meat and poultry (such as rare hamburgers); fish with high levels of mercury (such as swordfish); foods with raw or undercooked eggs (such as runny eggs); and unpasteurized dairy products (such as raw milk or cheese).

Additional source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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