Information About Pregnancy

INFORMATION ABOUT PREGNANCY

Q: How do I avoid infection during pregnancy?

A: Many infections during pregnancy can be dangerous to an unborn child. Urinary tract infections and any sexually transmitted diseases need to be treated immed iately.
Cat litter and raw meat may contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, wh ich can cause toxoplasmosis infection. It's rare for a pregnant woman to get the infection, but if she does, her baby could be at risk for serious illnes s or death. Get someone else to change the kitty litter if possible, or wear a f ace mask and rubber gloves for protection. Problems also may arise when a pregnant woman eats undercooked or raw foods, or cooked foods that have been cross-contaminated with bacteria from raw food ne arby. Food poisoning can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or even death to an unborn child, plus the vomiting and diarrhea involved leave the mother exhausted and d ehydrated. (See "On the Home Front" in the November-December 1997 FDA Consumer.

Keep Your Baby Safe:
Eat Hard Cheeses Instead of Soft Cheeses During Pregnancy
As a pregnant woman, eating for two, you should be aware that certain soft cheeses can become contaminated with bacteria called Listeria. .
If you become sick from Listeria, the baby you're carrying could get sick or die. To protect your unborn baby, eat hard cheeses instead of soft cheeses while you are pregnant.
Soft cheeses that can easily become contaminated include:
Mexican-Style Soft Cheeses
queso blanco
queso fresco
queso de hoja
queso de crema
asadero

Other Soft Cheeses
feta (goat cheese)
brie
Camembert
blue-veined cheeses, like Roquefort

Listeria can also contaminate other foods. Contaminated food may not look, smell or taste different from uncontaminated food.
Symptoms of infection can develop from 2 to 30 days after you eat contaminated food. If the infection spreads to your unborn baby, you could start early labor. Tell your doctor right away if you get any of these symptoms:
fever and chills, or other flu-like symptoms
headache
nausea
vomiting To prevent infection, take these precautions:
Use hard cheeses, like cheddar, instead of soft cheeses during pregnancy.
If you do use soft cheeses during pregnancy, cook them until they are boiling (bubbling).
Use only pasteurized dairy products. It will state "pasteurized" on the label.
If you do use hard cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, use only those marked "aged 60 days" (or longer).
Eat only thoroughly cooked meat, poultry or seafood.
Thoroughly reheat all meats purchased at deli counters, including cured meats like salami, before eating them.
Wash all fruits and vegetables with water.
Follow label instructions on products that must be refrigerated or that have a "use by" date.
Keep the inside of the refrigerator, counter tops, and utensils clean.
After handling raw foods, wash your hands with warm soapy water, and wash the utensil you used with hot soapy water before using them again.

Q: How do I avoid infection during pregnancy?
A: Many infections during pregnancy can be dangerous to an unborn child. Urinary tract infections and any sexually transmitted diseases need to be treated immed iately.
Cat litter and raw meat may contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, wh ich can cause toxoplasmosis infection. It's rare for a pregnant woman to get the infection, but if she does, her baby could be at risk for serious illnes s or death.
Get someone else to change the kitty litter if possible, or wear a f ace mask and rubber gloves for protection.
Problems also may arise when a pregnant woman eats undercooked or raw foods, or cooked foods that have been cross-contaminated with bacteria from raw food ne arby.
Food poisoning can cause meningitis, pneumonia, or even death to an unborn child, plus the vomiting and diarrhea involved leave the mother exhausted and d ehydrated. (See "On the Home Front" in the November-December 1997 FDA Consumer.)

Q: What fish should pregnant women avoid?
A: Pregnant women and women considering pregnancy should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because they could contain enough mercury to harm an unborn infant's nervous system, according to an FDA advisory.
The advisory says that young children and nursing women also should avoid those species of fish, which tend to live longer and have higher mercury concentrations in their tissues. I
n its advisory, the FDA says that fish are an important source of protein and part of a healthful diet. Joseph Levitt, director of CFSAN, says pregnant women safely can eat 12 ounces of other types of cooked fish each week. Levitt says that it's important to eat a variety of other kinds of fish.

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