Eating safely during pregnancy
- Keep you and your unborn baby safe by following basic safe-handling practices for food and avoiding certain foods in pregnancy.
- Using clean cutting boards, washing produce and thoroughly cooking meats are simple practices to avoid food contamination.
- Food poisoning symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — all of which can cause dehydration.
Along with good nutrition, food safety is particularly important for pregnant women. During pregnancy, your immune system is weakened and your unborn baby’s immune system is still developing. It’s important to follow basic safe-handling practices for food that can help protect you both.
Food safety tips
- Keep both hands and surfaces clean when preparing foods.
- Set your refrigerator to the right temperature (below 40º F).
- Refrigerate perishable food as soon as you get home from the store.
- Wash produce well.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, in cold running water or in the microwave.
- Keep raw foods, like meat, separate from prepared foods, like salad or already cooked food. This includes using separate knives, spoons, and cutting boards — unless they have been cleaned well with hot, soapy water.
- Cook foods to the correct temperatures (e.g. 165º F for chicken; 160º F for ground beef).
- Throw out leftovers that have been out for over two hours (one hour if the temperature is over 90º F).
Symptoms of food poisoning
Symptoms of food poisoning include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache. These symptoms can start within two hours, but may not show up for 24 hours. Talk to your doctor immediately if you think you might have food poisoning.
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