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In the first consultations with the midwife or gynecologist, one of the most common recommendations usually refers to foods that should not be consumed during pregnancy, which can scare the future mother.
For this reason, it seems appropriate to explain the reason for some of these prohibitions and the diseases that the consumption of these foods can cause.
It is recommended not to consume raw fish or shellfish, such as sushi, since they can harbor a worm called anisakis that, although it does not affect the fetus, can cause a stomach reaction, and sometimes allergic, of certain seriousness in the mother. Bivalve molluscs and dried salted fish, such as cod, do not present a risk of anisakis, and in the rest of the fish, cooking or freezing below -20C for 24 hours, ensure that the worm does not cause any damage.
It is also advisable to avoid fish high in mercury, as this metal is harmful to the brain and the developing nervous system of the fetus.
Smoked salmon has occasionally been linked to outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes, a food pathogen of great importance during pregnancy, since it can cause abortions, premature births or even the death of the fetus depending on which trimester it contracts. Freezing below -18C is generally assumed to kill this pathogen, but some researchers have found colonies still viable at this temperature.
In general, it is not recommended to eat any raw or undercooked food, be it meat, fish or eggs. Among the meat products, it is also advisable to avoid raw cured sausages, since they are made with raw meat. In these cases there may be a risk of toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Recent investigations assure that the risk of contamination by the sausages is minimal, but it seems advisable to take extreme precautions.
Cheeses made with raw milk (fresh cheese, mozzarella, feta ...), as well as raw milk itself, are also foods to avoid. The possibility of finding Listeria monocytogenes in these it is high, so it must be ensured that the dairy products consumed have been made with pasteurized milk.
Outbreaks of this pathogen have also been related to the consumption of already prepared salads, so, although they are already washed, it is advisable to do it again before consuming them, as well as all fruits and vegetables that are going to be consumed raw. Prepared or precooked foods can also be a vehicle for Listeria, due to possible cross contamination after cooking, so it is always advisable to heat even foods that are already cooked until they smoke.
It is recommended not to consume raw eggs or any type of sauce made with them, be it mayonnaise or similar. The reason, the probability of contracting salmonellosis, a food poisoning whose symptoms and consequences are aggravated during pregnancy, and can cause harm to the fetus.
Although they seem too many, the recommendations or food prohibitions during pregnancy try to protect the health of both the mother and the baby, so it is convenient to keep them in mind as soon as the pregnancy is known and throughout the gestation.
You can read more articles similar to Dangerous foods in pregnancy, in the Diets category - menus on site.