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(03) 9848 4262


Fertility IVF Specialist

Food-Borne Illness

What is Food-borne illness?

Food poisoning is a sickness that occurs when people eat or drink harmful microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses) or chemical contaminants found in some foods or drinking water.Should I be concerned about foodborne illness

Should I be concerned about food-borne illness?

You are at particularly high risk for foodborne illness because your immune system is weakened during pregnancy. This is a natural condition, which helps you and your baby get along with each other. However, this weakness also makes it harder for your body to fight off harmful foodborne microorganisms. Your unborn baby is also at high risk because the baby's immune system is not developed enough to fight off harmful foodborne microorganisms.

Symptoms of food-borne illness

You might get pain in the stomach, vomit, or have diarrhea. Sometimes foodborne illness is confused with the flu because the symptoms can be flu like with a fever, headache, and body aches.

Symptoms may appear in one-to-three days, but sickness can also occur as soon as 20 minutes after ingestion. It can take as long as six weeks. Exposure to some metals, such as methylmercury, may take months before any effects are seen because the mercury levels in the body may take time to build up.

What should I do if I experience symptoms of food-borne illness

Check with your doctor immediately. 

If you become ill after eating out, also call your local health department, so the department can investigate to see if there's a serious food-borne illness outbreak in the area.

How serious can food-borne illness be for me?

Food-borne illness during pregnancy can cause serious health problems, miscarriage, premature delivery, or even death of the mother. Different microorganisms or chemical contaminants can affect the mother and fetus or newborn in a variety of ways.

It can make the mother sick, leaving her exhausted and dehydrated. Sometimes the symptoms are absent or so mild that the mother doesn't even know that she's been infected, but she's still passing the infection to her unborn child. The unborn child may then experience serious effects from the illness.

How can food-borne illness affect my baby?

Harmful food-borne microorganisms or some metals in food can cross the placenta and infect or affect the developing fetus. As a result, the infected / affected fetus or newborn may experience a wide range of health problems or even death.

General treatment for food-borne illness

  • Blood, urine, foecal and other tests.
  • Hydration is an important part of the treatment, especially if the mother is vomiting or has diarrhea.
  • Antibiotics that are safe in pregnancy may be used to get rid of the mother's infection. 
  • The antibiotics, in most cases,also prevent infection of the fetus or newborn. 
  • Antibiotics may also be given to babies who are born with food-borne illness.

Prevent Food-Borne Illness with 4 Simples

  1. Wash hands and surfaces often.
  2. Separate, don't cross-contaminate.
  3. Cook to proper temperatures.
  4. Refrigerate promptly.

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