Salmonella Poisoning During Pregnancy – Everything You Need To Know

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Salmonella is a painful bacterial infection that you are vulnerable to during pregnancy. It can cause diarrhea, fever, and cramps in the abdomen, and sometimes prove to be dangerous.

You need not have to get panicky about the infection, as you can avoid the infection by taking care of your diet and keeping your surroundings clean. Read more about Salmonella poisoning during pregnancy as MomJunction attempts to alert you to it.

What Is Salmonella Poisoning:

Salmonella, also referred in medical terms as Salmonellosis, is a type of food poisoning that is caused by the bacteria with the same name. The bacteria leads to infection in your intestinal tract. In most cases, the salmonella is already present in your intestine and normally comes out along with the feces.

Whether or not you are pregnant, most of the signs and symptoms of salmonella are the same, but the effects could be severe during pregnancy.

[ Read: Bacterial Infection During Pregnancy ]

Sources Of Salmonella Poisoning During Pregnancy:

1. Contact With An Infected Animal:

  • If you come in direct touch with an animal that is infected with salmonella, you have a high chance of acquiring the condition.
  • When an animal is infected with salmonella poisoning, it will spread the bacteria through its feces as well as through the soil, water, or food that it comes in contact with. It can also spread the bacteria through its bedding.
  • Some of the most common animals that are known to get infected with salmonella poisoning are poultry (chicken, geese, ducks and the like), and reptiles (turtles, snakes, lizards and the like).

2. Eating Infected Food:

  • If you eat certain types of food that may be infected with salmonella bacteria, you are vulnerable.
  • You should stay away from raw or undercooked meat, fish and poultry as they are the most carriers of salmonella.
  • Eating raw or undercooked eggs or dishes made of raw or undercooked eggs can also lead to salmonella poisoning.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, dairy products, and juices.
  • In case you eat any food that has come into contact with the feces of an animal that is affected by the salmonella bacteria (it can happen in the soil where the ingredient grew or through water), you have a very high risk of getting infected.
  • Sometimes, you can also contract salmonella poisoning in pregnancy period if the food that you are cooking comes in contact with the bacteria during preparation.

[ Read: Food Poisoning During Pregnancy ]

When Are You More Likely To Contract Salmonella Poisoning:

Here are a few situations that may make you more susceptible to salmonella poisoning:

1. If You Take Antacids:

Antacids are medicines that help in reducing the amount of acid that you have in your stomach and can often treat indigestion and heartburn.

2. Unhygienic Sanitation System:

Unhygienic sanitation places are often breeding grounds for bacteria, and it is a common place where you can get exposed to the salmonella bacteria. Make sure you use only clean toilets and maintain basic hygiene levels.

3. There Is A Pet Or A Reptile In Your Home:

House pets or animals you come in contact can be carriers of the salmonella bacteria, and petting them can also lead to you contracting the salmonella poisoning.

4. Low Immunity Level:

If you have low immunity, your body will not be able to fight the salmonella bacteria.

Signs And Symptoms Of Salmonella Poisoning:

Here are some of the most common symptoms of salmonella poisoning that you can keep a watch out for:

  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in your muscles
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Blood or spotting in the stool

Dangers Of Salmonella Poisoning During Pregnancy:

While salmonella poisoning can often resolve on its own, it can turn into a serious health issue especially when you are pregnant, affecting both you and your unborn baby. Here are some of the risk factors related to salmonella poisoning when you are pregnant:

  • Meningitis that can be caused by bacteremia (1)
  • A very extreme case of dehydration
  • Reactive arthritis (2)
  • Bacteremia (bacteria present in the blood)

All the above are serious health conditions as you can pass on the salmonella poisoning to your unborn baby, complicating the matters. In most cases, the unborn baby becomes vulnerable to meningitis.

If you suspect that you have any of the above symptoms, get in touch with your healthcare provider immediately.

Treating Salmonella Poisoning:

Here are a few ways in which your doctor can help you to come out of the problem when you are pregnant:

1. Antibiotics:

If your doctor feels that you are suffering from a case of bacteremia, which means that the bacteria has spread to your bloodstream, you may have to start a course of antibiotics. Even as doctors try to avoid giving you antibiotics while you are pregnant, in some cases it may be the best or the only choice. Your doctor will also try to make sure that the antibiotics prescribed are as safe as possible.

[ Read: Safe Antibiotics During Pregnancy ]

2. Replenish The Lost Fluids:

One of the symptoms of salmonella poisoning especially when you are pregnant is that it leads to an extreme form of dehydration. If you have severe dehydration, whether from diarrhea or otherwise, your doctor will first try to replenish all the fluids that you have lost from your body. To do so, your doctor may ask you to get admitted to hospital so that you can be put on intravenous fluids that will help to replenish the lost fluids faster.

Prevention Of Salmonella Poisoning:

While you are pregnant, make sure to take extra care and pay attention to everything that you eat or drink, and also the way in which you prepare your food. Here are a few ways in which you can prevent or cut down your risk of contracting salmonella poisoning while you are pregnant:

1. Handle Food In A Safe And Clean Way:

  • Before you chop food items or cook them, you wash them thoroughly.
  • While you are preparing or cooking food, it can often come in contact with other food items that could lead to cross-contamination and increase your chances of contracting salmonella poisoning.
  • Be careful to handle food items separately so that you can reduce the chances of cross-contamination in food.

2. Keep Your Hands Clean:

  • Always wash your hands properly before you handle any food item while cooking or eating.
  • Wash your hands properly if you are handling raw meats or animal produce.
  • In addition to washing your hands right after you come in contact with such food items, wash them as many times as possible throughout the day.

[ Read: Hygiene Tips To Follow During Pregnancy ]

3. Avoid Undercooked Or Raw Food:

  • The salmonella bacteria are mostly present in foods that are undercooked or raw and can significantly increase your chances of contracting the poisoning.
  • When you cook the food thoroughly, especially meat, fish and poultry products, it will kill the bacteria and reduce your chances of contracting the poison.
  • When you have milk or juice, make sure you have only pasteurized products, so that you have a lower chance of contracting the infection.

Moms, did you ever contract salmonella poisoning while pregnant or know of someone who did? If yes, do share some advice and suggestions here.

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