Pregnancy is the time that we women are very fragile. We need to be extra cautious about ourselves that must be careful what we eat, what we do, and where we go.
One of the things you need to remember when you're pregnant is not to eat smoked salmon. This is because it can cause harm to not only your body but to the child inside your womb as well. This is what most people say. But is it true?
There's no doubt that smoked salmon is delicious to eat, which is why we'll surely crave for one. I can attest to it because I have been in the same situation as most of you. In this article, I'm going to share my thoughts and knowledge on the matter.
Risk of Listeriosis during pregnancy
The reason why many pregnant women avoid eating smoked salmon is that it is advised by most medical experts that eating cold meats or smoked fish is dangerous for pregnant women. This is because these foods might contain a certain bacteria called Listeria Monocytogenes. When this bacteria is taken into the body, there is a high risk for infections that might affect the developing baby inside your womb.
So, Is It Safe to Eat Smoked Salmon?
Technically speaking, there is a certain level of risk when you're eating any food. Listeriosis is not just confined to smoked fish or cold meat, but these can also be present in other food types.
Eating smoked salmon also doesn’t guarantee you that you’ll immediately be infected with the Listeriosis bacteria because the smoked salmon that you’re eating might be clean and prepared hygienically. In simpler words, it’s safe to smoked salmon. But you just need to understand that there’s a higher level of risk of ingesting the Listeriosis bacteria when you’re eating one.
Possible Outcomes of Listeriosis
Listeriosis can be obtained through eating foods that are contaminated with this bacteria. Based on statistics, Listeriosis is a rare infection which isn’t that widespread. With this alone, you don’t have to worry too much especially if you’re sure that the food you’re eating is prepared properly and cooked thoroughly.
But then again, there is still that certain level of risk you need to factor in. Here are some of the possibilities that can happen if you eat smoked salmon that is contaminated with Listeriosis:
Listeriosis is a strong bacteria that can prey on the nutrients of your baby. It can cause abnormalities within your baby's development which can then result in miscarriage. This is the most likely thing that could happen if you eat smoked salmon that is contaminated with Listeriosis, which is why it's better not to eat smoked salmon than to take the risk of possibly getting this bacteria within your body.
Another outcome of being infected with Listeriosis is a stillbirth. This can happen because of the abnormalities that your womb experiences as a result of the Listeriosis infection. The baby may lack the needed strength due to the absence of vital nutrients in their underdeveloped body. It's because of this that they might not survive the pressure of being born. Thus – stillbirth happens.
3. Congenital Defects
It might also be that you won’t experience miscarriage or have a perfectly normal delivery. However, it might be that your baby will be born with a congenital defect or with a severe terminal illness. This is because of the effects of the Listeriosis bacteria in the smoked salmon you have eating while you were pregnant.
Other Fishes that Pregnant Women Should Avoid
Shark is among the fishes that might also have Listeria, aside from smoked salmon. This is because sharks usually eat anything and bite on anything or anyone. It’s because of this that they might ingest listeria obtained from other fishes or from other sea creatures it might have terrorized. Though listeriosis is not that dangerous to a shark’s health, it becomes a lethal bacteria when ingested by a human being.
Swordfishes also belong to the fishes that might harbor listeria or listeriosis. This is because of their long flat bill that they use to hunt for their food. Their way of lifestyle is the cause of the high likelihood that they have listeriosis. They eat different kinds of fishes and sea creatures and the way their digestive tracts digest the food they eat are not that refined. This leaves the listeriosis bacteria to be alive still possiblyalived.
You should also avoid eating marlin because this type of fish contains high amounts of mercury. Mercury is very dangerous to your baby’s health because this can cause abnormalities in the development of their nervous system. This can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or inborn defects.
Tuna also contains high amounts of mercury, which is then again dangerous to your baby’s nervous system development. Though you can eat this, you should not go beyond the maximum amount, which is only three to five spoon servings.
5. Oily Fish
Oily fishes such as trouts, mackerels, sardines, herrings, and pilchards, are also a big no-no to pregnant women. This is because these kinds of fishes contain pollutants that can pose health risks to your child. It contains a lot of dioxins and PCBs that can affect the growth of your baby.
Other Foods that Might Have Listeria
Soft cheese, especially those that are ripened by molds, are another perfect breeding ground for Listeria. This is the reason why you should avoid them. Brie, chevre, camembert, and other types of goats’ cheese are some of the other types of cheese that might be infected with Listeria. Pate is also a breeding ground for Listeria because of its texture and chemical composition. This is another big no-no to pregnant women.
Ways to Avoid Listeriosis Infection
1. Eat Before Expiry Date
There are a lot of ways to avoid Listeriosis infection. However, one of the best ones is always to eat the food before its expire date. Listeriosis is not only limited to fishes, but to all food types as well. If a food product already went past its expiry date, there's a huge chance that it already has bacterial growth in it, and one of it might be Listeria. So before eating something, always make it a habit to check the expiry date and make sure that it’s not past it yet.
2. Proper Storage
Another important thing to consider is always to make sure that your food, especially your meat products are all stored in a clean, hygienic, and safe container. It should not be exposed to the outside environment, and it should always be stored in a temperate place. Food that is exposed to high temperatures are the ones most susceptible to bacterial and fungal growth, so you want to avoid those situations.
3. Buying from Hygienic Stores
When you buy food, always make sure that the store where you're buying food from is clean. It's recommended that you buy only from the reputable grocery or supermarket stores so that you are assured that the food is clean and free from bacteria and other pathogens. Avoid from buying from food stalls or those foods that are found in the streets.
4. Eating Indoors
It's also better for you to eat indoors especially if you are pregnant. This is because you are less exposed to the outside environment where pathogens, bacteria, and viruses might freely flow through the air, and you might get contact with. It's through this that you can have the peace of mind in knowing that you only need to ensure that your home is free from these dangerous microscopic organisms that can harm your health and your baby's.
With all of these being said, you can see that all kinds of foods can pose a risk to pregnant women. However, the level of risk just differs from food to food. Fishes just like smoked salmon are among the foods that have a high amount of risk because of the possibility that the bacteria Listeria or Listeriosis might be inside it.
This is the reason why it's safer just to avoid eating this kind of fish and the other oily fishes just like swordfish, marlin, and tuna, instead of taking the risk in eating them. By simply following the advice presented in this article, there's no doubt that you'll have a healthy pregnancy.
If you like this article, feel free to share it with your family and friends especially to those pregnant women whom you know. You freely share your thoughts in the comment section below. We would really love to hear from you.