Among the microorganisms that are normally associated
with food poisoning, there are two that pregnant women
should be extra careful about: listeria and toxoplasm.
These microorganisms can damage the fetus without
causing particularly severe symptoms in the mother.
Examples of signs of illness in the mother may be
flu-like symptoms. In the worst case, an infection can
lead to miscarriage or congenital damage to the child.
Listeria (Listeria monocytogenes) is a
bacterium found naturally in water, soil and raw
materials. The bacterium grows rapidly at room
temperature, but also - unlike many other bacteria - at
low temperatures, such as in refrigerators. Usually, a
very high number of bacteria per gram of food is
required for it to cause disease. The bacterium dies
upon heating, but survives freezing. Listeria first and
foremost enters the body via foods that are stored in a
refrigerator for a long time and are eaten without
heating. You can read about the food below.
Toxoplasma (Toxoplasma gondii) is a
parasite found in the intestinal tract of cats. People
can be infected in two different ways:
- In direct or indirect contact with feces from
cats. Direct infection from cat feces, for example,
can be done by cleaning the litter box or patting
infected cats. Indirectly, one can also become
infected through food and drink that is contaminated
with cat feces, for example through unwashed
vegetables or fruits. You can also become infected
through contact with soil and sand where cats have
buried their feces.
- By eating raw meat from animals infected with
toxoplasm. The parasite is found in the flesh of
such animals, although the animals themselves show
no signs of disease. The parasite is killed by
boiling or frying the meat well. It can also be
killed by freezing for at least -18 ° C for several
days. However, it probably survives digging and cold
smoking of meat.
If a pregnant woman is infected for the first time
during pregnancy, the parasite can be transmitted to the
fetus and cause miscarriage, malformation or other
serious damage to the baby, if the disease is not
treated in time. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity sweatshirts & hoodies. People who have been infected earlier
in life have antibodies to the parasite that protect the
fetus from infection. In Sweden, between 10 and 28% of
the population has antibodies to toxoplasma. Caregivers
can check if a pregnant woman has such antibodies using
a blood test. The advice regarding the toxoplasmic
parasite applies first and foremost to pregnant women
who do not know for sure that they have protective
In Sweden, it is not considered necessary to
routinely examine pregnant women for antibodies against
In raw meat, both toxoplasm and listeria can be
present. Make sure all the meat you eat is well cooked,
cooked or grilled. This also applies to hamburgers, pan
steaks and the like. Do not taste raw meat when cooking.
Cooking utensils that have been in contact with raw meat
should be washed before being used for other foods.
Ground meat poses a greater risk than other meat when it
comes to toxoplasm. Sliced meats also pose a greater
risk than whole meat when it comes to listeria.
Therefore, avoid eating cut, vacuum-packed meatloaf
towards the end of the shelf life. Vacuum-packed
meatloaf has a durability of several weeks. If the
spread contains listeria, the amount of bacteria can
increase to harmful levels.
All cheeses that are heat treated well - such as
cheese on pizza, hot sandwiches, lasagna or sauces - can
be eaten by pregnant women.
Listeria has been found in soft / semi-soft stored
cheeses of unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk is not
heat-treated enough, and the risk of listeria bacteria
is therefore relatively high. In Sweden, some cheese
made from unpasteurized milk is sold.
Listeria is also found in soft and semi-soft cheeses
- such as brie and camembert - and in soft cheeses such
as gorgonzola, although these have been made from
pasteurized milk. The reason is that these cheeses can
get infected at some point in the production process.
Listeria is very rare in these cheeses, but to be on the
safe side, pregnant women should eat these cheeses when
they are as fresh as possible, avoiding them towards the
end of their shelf life. Namely, the amount of possible
listeria bacteria is at its highest towards the end of
the shelf life.
All other types of cheese are considered safe in
terms of the amount of listeria. Melted cheese of all
types is considered safe. These are usually sold on a
tube. Listeria also does not thrive in hard cheeses such
as "Gouda", "Jarlsberg", "Norvegia", or in mesost and
parmesan cheese. These cheeses can therefore be safely
eaten by pregnant women.
Fish and seafood
Pregnant women should not eat sour fish as the
special conditions in their production involve an
increased risk of Listeria.
Listeria can also be found in small quantities in
buried or smoked fish. If the bacterium is allowed to
grow, for example in vacuum-packed products with a long
shelf life, the bacteria level may become too high.
Therefore, eat dug and smoked fish when it is as fresh
as possible. So, to be on the safe side, you should
avoid buried and smoked fish that are nearing the end of
their shelf life.
If raw fish, such as sushi, is treated hygienically,
there is little risk of high levels of listeria.
Out of country
In many countries, the risk of being infected with
toxoplasma is much higher than in Sweden. The incidence
of toxoplasmosis varies greatly geographically. The
infection is common in mild and humid climates, rare in
dry and warm areas. Countries with a high risk of
infection include France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the
Canary Islands - where about 60-80% of the younger
population is infected. The risk of being infected is
about 20 times higher in southern countries, compared to
Sweden. In southern Germany and Austria, 40-60% of the
younger population is infected. The British Isles,
Northern Germany and the Nordic countries have about the
same risk of infection as us and travel to these places
does not pose any increased risk.
Pregnants who choose to travel to countries with a
high risk of infection should be careful with their
eating habits, avoid contact with cats and take new
blood tests three weeks after returning home. If you
cannot follow these tips, you should consider staying at