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Can The Fetus Survive Listeria?

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Listeria is in the news again following a recall on frozen vegetables at Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Costco. When you eat foods contaminated with listeria you're at risk for listeriosis, a bacterial infection, which, if not treated, can be fatal for you and your unborn baby. And, unfortunately, pregnant women are more at risk. Although eating contaminated food is scary, the possibility of death and losing a pregnancy is even scarier, and I don't blame you for wanting to a concrete answer to the question can the fetus survive listeria?

Unfortunately, how listeria can affect your pregnancy is really hard to answer (sorry). Only your physician can advise you on what to do, which is why you should see your doctor if you even think you might be at risk: a blood test will let you know STAT, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although a study published in The National Institute of Public Health suggested that listeriosis is 18 times more common in pregnant women, what's not so well-researched is how listeria can affect the fetus. According to the CDC, listeria infection occurs in 14 percent of pregnancies, and infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, and illness or death in newborns. That being said, there are no statistics available on the website of the CDC to explain how common these risks are. In my humble opinion, I think that's good news. I'm not particularly good at calculating risks given to me by statistics. Just as anything having to do with your pregnancy, when you're concerned, enlist the help of your physician, don't troll the internet. However, there are a couple of facts about listeria when you're pregnant that you should be aware of to bring up to your doctor.

1. The Risk For Pregnant Hispanic Women Is Higher Than The General Population

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According to the CDC, pregnant women of hispanic origin are 24 times more likely than the general population to develop listeria. How this statistic affects the health of your fetus is something to discuss with your physician.

2. When Infected With Listeria, Antibiotics Are Vital To Protect Mom And Fetus

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If you are pregnant and have contracted listeria, your doctor will put you on a course of antibiotics. The good news is that, according to The Bumpm high doses of antibiotics during pregnancy decreases the incidence of listeriosis-related preterm births and stillbirths. For more information on how to use antibiotics effectively, consult your physician and avoid the common mistakes made when taking antibiotics.

3. If You're Pregnant, Avoid Foods The CDC And FDA Says Not To Eat

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Because you catch this infection from contaminated food, make sure to read the Food and Drug Administration's most recently updated list of foods to avoid while pregnant.

4. Boost Your Immune System, Because It's Healthy Anyway

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Because the CDC said people with lowered immunity are also at risk for developing listeria, expectant mothers should take extra precautions to boost immunity. What can you do? Ask your physician for pregnancy-safe immune boosters.

5. Step Away From The Pregnancy Message Boards, M'am

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When your health and your baby-to-be's health is at risk, it's only natural to go into panic mode. The increased media attention doesn't help, but only makes you more nervous; am I right? However, of course you want to be informed.

So, again, in my humble opinion, do some reading up on risk-factors, take notes for questions you want to ask your doctor, and then log off. For every story you read about a baby born to an mom infected with listeria with a negative outcome, there's a story with a positive outcome. As of now, research indicates that listeria can pass through the placenta, —but some in the medical community disagree with that theory, according to The Bump. Try not to calculate risk factors on your own. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself and the bun in your oven.