Food Safety Tips for Pregnant
By Medical Advisory Board
during pregnancy it harder for your body to fight off germs, you and
your growing baby are at higher risk for illnesses caused by eating
improperly prepared, cooked, and stored food. The U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) recommends some steps to avoid becoming sick
with foodborne illnesses (food poisoning).
1. Do not defrost food at room
Thaw food in the
For quick thawing,
submerge food in cold water in airtight packaging, or thaw food in the
microwave if you’ll be cooking it immediately.
- Wash hands and surfaces thoroughly
with warm water and soap before and after handling food.
- Rinse raw fruits and vegetables under
Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from ready-to-eat foods.
Use one cutting board for raw meats, poultry, and seafood AND A
SEPARATE cutting board for fresh fruits and vegetables.
place cooked food on unwashed plates.
- Refrigerate promptly. Your
refrigerator should be set at 40° F (4° C) or below and the
freezer at 0° F (-18° C).
- Keep leftovers for no longer than 3
days and reheat them to an internal temperature of 74°C
(165°F) before eating.
2-Hour Rule: Discard foods left out at room temperature for more
than two hours.
In addition to the
above steps do not eat
foods that have not been pasteurized such as soft cheeses made with
unpasteurized milk and mayonnaise or sauces like béarnaise and hollandaise made with
uncooked eggs. These foods may contain disease causing bacteria such as
or Salmonella. Pasteurized foods have been heated to a temperature that kills these harmful germs without affecting the taste or quality of the food.
Fish and seafood can be an important part of a balanced diet for pregnant women.
Nonetheless, some large fish contain high levels of a form of mercury that may potentially harm an unborn baby's developing nervous system.
The EPA and FDA advise pregnant women or women who may become pregnant to
avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to high
levels of mercury in these fish. You can still choose from a variety of
fish and seafood low in mercury such as canned tuna, salmon, pollock,
catfish, tilapia, herring ,crab, shrimp, clams and oysters. Just make sure
that these foods are thoroughly cooked. Uncooked seafood may contain
hepatitis A virus, or Norwalk virus.
cheeses or ice cream made from unpasteurized milk aren't the only
foods that may contain the bacteria
. Do not eat refrigerated pâtés, meat spreads, smoked fish, deli
meats, hot dogs, or raw sprouts (especially alfalfa) . Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 3°C allows Listeria to
multiply in these refrigerated foods.
It is best to avoid homemade eggnog which is usually made with unpasteurized eggs
that may contain
Salmonella. You can make a safe alcohol free version at home with a pasteurized
egg product. Pasteurized store-bought eggnog is also available.
|1 quart of 2% milk
||1 teaspoon vanilla
||1 cup whipping cream
|¼ teaspoon salt
||whipped ground nutmeg
|½ cup sugar
Calories: 135 per ½ cup
Cholesterol: 120 mg per ½ cup
Yield: 2 quarts
- Heat milk in large saucepan until hot
(do not boil or scald). While milk is heating, beat
together eggs and salt in a large bowl, gradually adding
- Gradually add the hot milk mixture to
the egg mixture while continually stirring.
- Transfer the mixture back to the large
saucepan and cook on medium-low heat. Stir constantly with
a whisk until the mixture thickens and just coats a spoon.
The food thermometer should register 160° F (71° C). Stir
- Cool quickly by setting pan in a bowl
of ice or cold water and stirring for about 10 minutes.
- Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly
chilled several hours or overnight.
- Pour into a bowl or pitcher. Fold in
whipped cream. Then dust with ground nutmeg.
Turkey and Stuffing
Improperly handled or undercooked poultry is a common cause
of Campylobacter and Salmonella food poisoning.
Whole turkey should be cooked in an oven at 325 degrees F until it
reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F deep in the thickest
part of the inner thigh (use a meat thermometer
to check it ).
The safest way to cook stuffing is in a a separate baking dish in a 325
°F oven. If you choose to stuff your turkey, fill the cavity just before
cooking. Fill the cavities loosely. Use a food thermometer to check the
internal temperature of the stuffing. The center of the stuffing should
reach at least 165°F whether it is in a baking dish or in the turkey.
Refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2
hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey and stuffing
within 3-4 days or freeze these foods. Reheat thoroughly
to a temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming.
Those Other Holiday Meats
Use a food thermometer to determine that meats reach a safe
minimum internal temperature. Raw or undercooked meat,
especially pork, lamb, or venison may contain the parasite
sip of champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve is unlikely to have harmed your
developing baby. Beyond
that it is best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy since the amount of alcohol that
will not harm the developing baby is not known.
Tips for Pregnant Women with Diabetes or on Diets
If you have diabetes,
or have been instructed by your physician to limit your weight gain
during pregnancy you may find it a challenge to remain faithful to
your diet during the Holidays. Here are some tips to help keep you on
- Prepare foods in ways that reduce fat content such as steaming instead of sautéing in butter.
- Use reduced fat ingredients such as low fat milk, or reduce the
amount of sugar or oil in a recipe.
- Eat smaller portions
- Be selective about what you eat. Eat the foods that only come around once a year, and pass on the foods that are available year round.
- If you have diabetes ask your diabetes educator about increasing your insulin dose or exercise after eating
so that you may eat certain Holiday foods.