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How Can Food Poisoning Affect an Unborn Fetus?

 Posted on May 30, 2016 in Food Poisoning

How Can Food Poisoning Affect an Unborn Fetus?

When you read about recent food poisoning outbreaks and ways to prevent and treat the different types of food poisoning, you have probably come across a warning about how dangerous food poisoning can be to a pregnant woman and the developing fetus. Generally, adults with normal immune systems only suffer inconvenient, uncomfortable symptoms of food poisoning that subside within a few days. But young children, the elderly, those who are suffering from immune system disorders, and pregnant women can suffer significantly more from food poisoning.

Below are the ways various types of food poisoning can harm a developing fetus. If you are pregnant and you experience food poisoning symptoms like dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, chills, and fatigue, speak with your doctor about the possibility that you are suffering from food poisoning right away to determine if you need treatment.


Listeria, which can grow in soft cheeses and deli meats, can cause a mother to suffer an infection that can be transferred to the fetus. This infection can cause the child to be stillborn or the mother to go into labor prematurely.


Salmonella can be found in many different animals. Handling, eating, and other contact with these animals and their products can cause a victim to become ill with Salmonellosis, which can be passed from a mother to her child. It is possible for a baby to be born suffering from salmonellosis symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.


Toxoplasmosis is generally associated with cat feces and litter, which is why pregnant women are advised not to clean their pet cats' litter boxes. Toxoplasmosis can also be found in soil and the bacteria can transfer to vegetables found in that soil, which can in turn cause individuals who eat the vegetables to become ill. Toxoplasmosis can cause issues like miscarriage, early labor, stillbirth, and birth defects.

Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

Pregnant women are cautioned to avoid a variety of foods in order to avoid food poisoning. These foods include the following:

  • Soft cheeses;
  • Deli meats;
  • Refrigerated pate;
  • Raw milk and dairy products;
  • Store-made salads like tuna, chicken, and egg salad; and
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood.

Other ways to reduce your chance of suffering from food poisoning include practicing proper storage and preparation for your food, washing cutting boards and utensils thoroughly to avoid cross-contamination, and generally practicing extra caution in the kitchen. For example, you might want to be more careful about how long you keep foods out on the counter during this time than you would be normally.

Work with a Chicago Food Poisoning Attorney

If you contracted Listeria, Salmonella, or any other type of food poisoning while you were pregnant and your baby suffered as a result, you can potentially recover compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, set up a consultation with a member of our team of experienced food poisoning attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP. Our offices serve Arlington Heights, Libertyville, Waukegan, Itasca, and Chicago.

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