I Am 6 Months Pregnant And Yesterday Had A Tummy Upset From Food Poisoning. Should I Be Worried I Have Listeria?


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Julii Brainard answered
Not really.

Although we think of it as a food-bourne illness, the symptoms of listeria are not like food poisoning, at all. In fact, listeria feels more like a bad cold or a touch of flu. Headaches, fever, chills, aches. Also it incubates for between 2 and 10 weeks, so rarely possible to say exactly where you caught it.

Pregnant women are advised to avoid certain foods because of the risk of listeria. These include soft cheese, unpasteurised milk, mayonnaise unless you know it's from pasteurised eggs and deli meats. Ham is listed as one of the meats to be avoided, by some sources.

The risk is that the listeria bug, if caught by a pregnant woman, may cause a miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth.

The only (sort of) good news is that listeria doesn't cause stillbirth in all cases. What's more, if the pregnant woman does get listeria, it either causes premature labour/stillbirth -- or it doesn't. It's unlike other pathogens (e.g., rubella, chickenpox) that can cause death or birth defects. Listeria is all or nothing.

As a result, if you feel okay now and there's no sign of premature labour, then you have little to worry about (other than recovering from the tummy bug).

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