What Happens if I Get Salmonella While Pregnant?

February 9, 2024

Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, but coming down with food poisoning while you are pregnant can be cause for concern. The numerous medical guidelines for pregnant women can be exhausting to follow, however, these guidelines are in place to protect you and your growing baby as your body goes through the normal changes of pregnancy. Regular and thorough handwashing is a key protection against bacteria.

Continue reading below as our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team explains what salmonella is, how it might impact you while pregnant, and how to avoid it.

Why Is Salmonella Dangerous?

Many of the guidelines for pregnant women are in place to help them avoid contracting foodborne illnesses such as a salmonella infection. Salmonella is an infection in the intestines and is a bacteria that can be found in undercooked meat, raw eggs, and on unwashed fruit and vegetables. You can also become infected due to close contact with reptiles and their environment.

For most people, salmonella infections cause general gastrointestinal symptoms and recovery is achieved within a week. If you are pregnant and begin to experience gastrointestinal symptoms, keep a close eye on them. While your symptoms should be the same as what others experience, it is possible for the infection to spread to your baby or cause you to become incredibly dehydrated, which can be harmful to both of you.

Salmonella Symptoms to Expect While Pregnant

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache

How Can I Avoid Salmonella While Pregnant?

The best advice is to follow the directions laid out by your OB/GYN and other members of your care team. Avoid eating undercooked or raw meat, cook your eggs thoroughly (no over-easy or sunny side up) and be sure to wash all your produce thoroughly, even if you plan to cook it.

It is possible to contract salmonella through interaction with certain pets or animals. Be diligent in washing your hands after exposure to any pet reptile or bird or their environment. If you visit a petting zoo and you or children you accompany might encounter common carriers of salmonella such as cows, pigs, or fowl, be sure they and you wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Symptoms of a More Serious Infection

  • Symptoms lasting more than a few days
  • Bloody stools
  • A high-grade fever of 102 degrees or higher that won’t go away
  • Severe dehydration

Salmonella shares the same symptoms as the stomach flu and only a lab test can verify whether you have a case of salmonella. It is rare for a salmonella infection to cause miscarriage, and an increased chance of birth defects from the infection has not typically been observed. It is, however, possible for salmonella to have some negative impacts on a pregnancy or baby, so it is wise to consult with a medical care provider.

If you are pregnant and suspect you have food poisoning, it is always best to consult with a medical professional. Visit us at AFC Urgent Care Cleveland for a diagnosis.

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