Connect with Us: Foodservice RDs & Health Professionals

Pregnant? Follow these Food-Safe Tips

Pregnancy is a time when you are keenly aware of caring for your health. And during this special time, food safety is particularly important, because your immune system may not be as strong as usual. Both mom and baby are at heightened susceptibility to foodborne illness.

Pregnant moms at risk

In fact, 1 in 7 people who contracts the foodborne illness called Listeriosis (caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria) is a pregnant woman, according to the CDC. This serious illness can result in miscarriage. Unpasteurized milk and soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk are major sources. Lunch meats, hot dogs, and smoked seafood can also be sources. Listeria grows even under refrigeration, so even processed meats, if contaminated, can be a problem if stored too long.

Another foodborne illness that can strike during pregnancy is Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that is linked to eating undercooked meat. It can also be passed through cat litter boxes. While the mom may not have symptoms of illness, the baby can suffer disabilities, such as loss of vision or hearing.

There are many more potential sources of foodborne illness, including bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli. To learn more, visit the CDC Food Safety Homepage.

 happy pregnant woman with paper bag full of food at street market

Protect yourself from foodborne illness

The same food safety tips that keep all of us safe are worth diligent attention during pregnancy, including:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly before handling food.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Washing cutting boards and work surfaces between foods.
  • Keeping raw meats separate from other foods.
  • Monitoring use-by and sell-by dates on foods in your refrigerator and pantry.
  • Cooking food thoroughly and use a thermometer to check the final temperature before you eat.
  • Keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot; don’t let perishable foods sit out at room temperature.
  • Avoiding risky foods, such as unpasteurized milk or cheeses, raw bean sprouts, raw juices, and unpasteurized, uncooked or undercooked eggs.

You can safely use Davidson’s Safest Choice® pasteurized eggs for any style of cooking—even raw in a smoothie, Caesar salad dressing, or poached on a salad.

For more food safety tips, visit For safe, nutrient-packed recipes, visit the recipe center. We wish you a safe and happy pregnancy!