While food safety is important for everyone, it’s especially important for women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. A pregnant woman’s immune system is weakened because of changes in the body that can make it harder to fight infections — including those caused by food poisoning.
The four rules of food safety — clean, separate, cook and chill — are especially important now. Because a fetus depends on the mother for everything it needs, it’s important that pregnant women watch what they eat. They and those who help cook for them should carefully store, prepare and cook food.
Food poisoning can be very dangerous to a fetus. During the first three months of pregnancy, it can cause a miscarriage. Later on in the pregnancy, it can cause premature birth, a stillbirth or a baby that’s born very ill.
Some bacteria, like listeria, can go through the placenta. This means if a woman becomes sick with these kinds of bacteria while pregnant, the fetus could be affected. This is a serious concern because a fetus’ immune system isn’t developed enough to fight off harmful bacteria.
Find more information at Canada.ca/FoodSafety.