Food Poisoning While Pregnant: What to Expect and How to Treat?

The period of pregnancy is a time when a woman must be very attentive to her own health. It is the time when the future mother should be especially careful with the issue of her diet. It concerns not only the quantity but also the quality of the consumed food. A bad food product can lead not only to unpleasant but also dangerous consequences. The talk is about food poisoning while pregnant. It can bring the future mother a lot of troubles and cause legitimate concerns about the health of a growing baby.

Sources of Food Poisoning While Pregnant

It turns out that not only people love food, but also microbes. Getting into food, pathogenic organisms produce toxins. What are these infectious agents?

  • Staphylococcus. It occurs most often. Reproduction of microbes occurs because of improper storage of cooked products. You can get poisoned after drinking milk of sick with mastitis animals, or if you violate the rules of hygiene during cooking. The items of factory production serve as a source of staphylococcus in case of violation of sanitary standards, when the health of employees is not checked well enough (skin diseases, acute inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, etc.).
  • Salmonella. Its source is raw eggs and products cooked on their basis, due to insufficient or lack of heat treatment. It can affect all parts of the digestive tract beginning with the stomach and ending with the large intestine.
  • Proteus and clostridia. They feel comfortable in meat and fish products, canned food, milk, and sausage. One of the types of this infection is botulism.

The susceptibility to food infection is very high and is more than 90%. During pregnancy, it is even higher.

Causes Of Food Poisoning While Pregnant

An unusual craving for a variety of foods during pregnancy is familiar to many women’s symptoms. Diversity in the food itself is a reasonable necessity, but one thing is quality nutrition with all the components necessary for a future mom, (meat and fish products, vegetables and fruits, cereals and root vegetables) and quite another is the appearance on the table of a pregnant woman exotic food, which she had never eaten before.


First of all, when trying a new food product, even a person not prone to allergies can get an allergic reaction. What concerns future mothers, their immune system during pregnancy is already experiencing a certain additional burden – because the baby is growing up in the womb, and genetically it is half foreign to the mother. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the body will not perceive an unknown food as a threat, even if before pregnancy there were no prerequisites for this.

In addition, overseas fruits can also be the cause of poisoning due to the fact that on the way to shops they overcome a very large distance. In order to protect against spoiling, they are generously flavored with antibiotics and other chemicals. There is also no guarantee that fertilizers and pesticides are not used where they grew up.

Another common cause of such a phenomenon as food poisoning while pregnant is poor-quality products.

Other Causes

Food toxic infection is a group of diseases of various origins that occurs after the consumption of foods containing a large number of toxins and pathogens. The infection gets on products by contact. What’s more, the products infected with staphylococcus, do not change their smell and taste. That’s why it is hard to tell the difference between good and bad quality food.

The greatest danger is represented by protein products, which are more prone to contamination by pathogenic microorganisms. First of all, these are:

  • milk products;
  • meat and sausage products;
  • salads with mayonnaise;
  • canned fish and meat;
  • cakes and pastries with cream.

The mechanism of development of toxic infections is very diverse and depends on the type of pathogen and the toxins which this pathogen releases. Food poisoning while pregnant can cause serious damage to the fetus. It can affect the metabolism, disrupt the circulation and heart activity of the baby. General dehydration of the mother due to profuse vomiting and diarrhea promotes the washing away of minerals and vitamins from the body, as a result of which the child feels their lack. Of course, the most dangerous complication of food poisoning while pregnant is a miscarriage or premature birth.

Symptoms of Food Poisoning While Pregnant

Food poisoning while pregnant does not have specific symptoms.

The first symptoms of poisoning, if there is one, will not take long in coming. A few hours after eating poor-quality food, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting;
  • Rapid, loose stool;
  • Heaviness in the stomach;
  • Weakness;
  • Pale skin;
  • There may be an increase in temperature up to 38-39 ° C;
  • Headache;
  • Fatigue;
  • Cold sweat;
  • Chills;
  • Lowering blood pressure.

The strength of manifestation of each of the symptoms will result from the severity of the pathological process.

Treatment of Food Poisoning During Pregnancy

What to do if a pregnant woman has symptoms characteristic of poisoning? How to treat a future mother? Note that in this case, the treatment is, in principle, standard. In severe cases of poisoning, immediately call a doctor.

Delay in treatment can cost two lives at once. Most likely, a woman is hospitalized for a detoxification treatment with a dropper. If the situation is not so serious and hospitalization is not required, the following treatment is prescribed:

Gastric lavage is possible only if there is no threat of miscarriage or bleeding, which can be caused by abruption of the placenta.

Retching movements can provoke repeated bleeding. It is best to wait until the stomach is free. Then it is possible to carry out treatment with sorbents, which will absorb harmful substances and bacteria and remove them from the body of a pregnant woman through the intestines. Such preparations include Activated carbon, Polysorb, Enterosgel.

When vomiting stops, it is necessary to replenish the lost fluid, but it should be done little by little. It is best to use this solution of minerals that are sold in pharmacies. You can also drink the usually purified water.

You should drink plenty of liquid but in small amounts. It is better to drink water very often – about every 15-20 minutes. Drink until the thirst and dry mouth disappear.


Most often, the use of antibiotics is not required, since the body is able to clean itself.


A couple of hours after the vomiting is over, you can gradually expand the fasting diet. First, it’s best to drink strong tea with sugar. Then you can eat low-fat chicken broth and dried bread.

Even short starvation, which is easily tolerated by ordinary people, is very harmful to pregnant women. Therefore, it is best to restore at least a slight carbohydrate and protein nutrition fairly quickly.

After food poisoning, while pregnant a woman should eat dried bread, low-fat broth, and vegetable soups for the first two or three days.

Later, you can gradually introduce various dishes from boiled or stewed vegetables into your diet. Drink strong tea with sugar, eat light porridges, but in small quantities.

Before the complete recovery of the body, it is better to abstain from meat, fish, raw fruits, and vegetables.

Threat To Pregnancy

Food poisoning while pregnant, first of all, is dangerous because of intoxication and possible dehydration of the body.

During diarrhea and vomiting, the body loses a lot of fluids. Consequently, it loses many vitamins and minerals that are so necessary during pregnancy. There is a thickening of the blood, thereby the risk of blood clots increases (for example, in the veins of the lower extremities and the placenta). The level of oxytocin in the blood increases, which can trigger the onset of contractile activity of the uterus and cause miscarriage or premature birth.

Among the consequences of food poisoning, while pregnant, doctors call the following: intoxication provoking disturbances in metabolism and, as a consequence, violation of the blood supply to the fetus; significant dehydration as a result of vomiting and diarrhea, with which the vitamins and minerals necessary for the future mother and baby are washed away. Considering the fact that food poisoning while pregnant can really cause significant complications, you cannot neglect immediate treatment in case of poisoning. If the poisoning is severe, accompanied by high fever, severe vomiting, and poor general condition, the emergency should be called as soon as possible. With severe food poisoning while pregnant, hospitalization and qualified treatment are a must.

Speaking specifically about intestinal infection, it does not go beyond the intestine. Thus, the baby cannot suffer from it. But the long pathological condition of the mother can affect the condition of the baby. Therefore it is very important to start treatment as soon as possible.


It is believed that with mushroom poisoning, their toxins can penetrate the placenta and harm the baby. Such cases are rarely recorded, but it is better to give up mushrooms for the period of pregnancy.

How To Avoid Food Poisoning While Pregnant?

To minimize the risk of poisoning, you should adhere to simple rules:

  • Always wash your hands before eating;
  • Eat only good-quality food. Always check the expiry date of the product before you buy it in the store;
  • Do not eat foods that are perishable or that can be potential sources of infection. Such products include raw eggs or soft-boiled, sausage products, canned meat, unboiled milk.
  • However, as we have already noted, food poisoning while pregnant can be caused even by the freshest products that have not harmed other family members. That’s why, a pregnant woman should be very careful about her diet.