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Can You Test For Listeria?

If you’re expecting a baby soon, chances are you’re on the lookout for anything that can adversely affect your health. And few things are more crucial to your health at this point than what you eat. However, it can be difficult to know whether your food is indeed safe from listeria. So can you test for listeria, or do you just have to avoid brie and hope for the best?

The dangers of listeria for pregnant women are pretty scary. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), listeria is a bacteria that may be found in contaminated foods, most often hot dogs, deli meat, or soft cheese. As the APA further noted, pregnant women may be at risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or neonatal death if they come into contact with listeria. So of course it’s natural for pregnant women to be extremely concerned about it.

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Potential signs of listeriosis include fever, stiff neck, nausea, muscle aches, and headache, as the Mayo Clinic explained. However, in healthy adults the symptoms may be rather mild, although it could have terrible consequences for your developing infant. So if you suspect these symptoms are related to listeria, especially if you’ve eaten potentially contaminated foods, it’s a good idea to get tested for listeriosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can get a blood or spinal fluid test to see whether you have listeriosis. If the results come back positive, you will probably be prescribed pregnancy-safe antibiotics, as explained by Baby Center. So if you suspect you’ve come into contact with listeria, then it would be a good idea to get to your doctor at once for testing, just to be on the safe side. Fortunately, once the baby has arrived, you can go back to enjoying deli meats and soft cheeses without much worry.