NHS website - How can I avoid food poisoning during pregnancy?
You can avoid food poisoning during pregnancy by:
- not eating some foods – see foods to avoid during pregnancy
- washing your hands before handling food
- thoroughly washing all fruit and vegetables, including prepared salads, before eating
- washing your hands, all surfaces and utensils after preparing raw meat
- thoroughly cooking raw meat so there is no trace of pink or blood
- heating ready meals until they are piping hot all the way through – this is especially important for meals containing poultry
- keeping leftovers covered in the fridge and using them within 2 days
- eating food before it has passed its "use by" date
- preventing cross-contamination (when harmful bacteria is spread between food, surfaces and equipment)
There are several types of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. These include:
Salmonella is found in:
- raw meat and poultry
- unpasteurised milk
- raw eggs and raw egg products
Although salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to harm your baby, it can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting.
To reduce your risk of salmonella infection:
- choose British Lion Code of Practice eggs if you want to have raw or partially cooked eggs – these eggs have a red lion logo stamped on their shell and are considered safe to eat runny
- avoid raw or partially cooked eggs that are not part of the lion code, and avoid food that may contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise – cook these eggs until the whites and yolks are solid
- avoid raw or partially cooked meat, especially poultry
Campylobacter is found in:
- raw and undercooked meat, especially poultry
- unpasteurised milk
- untreated water
You can reduce your risk of campylobacter infection by:
- washing your hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food, and after handling raw food
- not washing raw poultry
- keeping cooked food away from raw food
- cooking food thoroughly, especially meat and poultry, so it's piping hot
- keeping all kitchen surfaces and equipment clean, such as chopping boards and dish cloths
- not drinking untreated water from lakes, rivers or streams
Listeria can cause an infection called listeriosis. Although the infection is rare, even a mild form of listeriosis in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in newborn babies.
Listeria can be found in unpasteurised milk and in many chilled foods, including:
- mould-ripened soft cheeses and soft blue-veined cheeses
- cooked sliced meats
- smoked salmon
You can reduce your risk of listeriosis by:
- not eating certain foods while pregnant, such as some soft cheeses and all types of pâté – see foods to avoid during pregnancy
- not drinking unpasteurised milk – only drink pasteurised or UHT milk
- heating ready meals or reheated food until they're piping hot all the way through
- making sure your fridge is set at 5C or below and working correctly
- not using food after its "use by" date
Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight loss & management
- Stop smoking
Repeat Prescription Service
An easy way to manage your Repeat Prescription online.
- Free Registration
- Auto reminder service
- Free Delivery
Common Health Questions
- NHS video wall with stroke, diabetes, and kidney and heart?
- Your health, your way. Your NHS guide to long-term conditions and self care?
- Can I take cough and cold remedies while I'm breastfeeding?
- Can I take paracetamol or ibuprofen with cough or cold medicines?