Everything You Need to Know About Food Poisoning During Pregnancy

Pregnancy increases the chance of getting food poisoning. It can be a frightening experience for moms and dads. There are many risks that come with food poisoning during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can alter a person’s immune system, making them more susceptible to food poisoning.

Food poisoning can happen after a person eats or drinks something that contains bacteria, viruses, parasites, or other contaminants.

Food poisoning during pregnancy can cause premature birth, pregnancy loss, or stillbirth. However, there are many ways to prevent or treat it.

This article will explain the symptoms of food poisoning during pregnancy, explore its potential dangers, and discuss treatment and prevention methods.


General symptoms of food poisoning can include:

  • Nausea
  • abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fire

The timing of symptoms can vary depending on when a person eats contaminated food and what type of food poisoning a person has.

The type of food poisoning can also cause a variety of symptoms.

According to the CDC, the following types of food poisoning have the following symptoms:


Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to contract Listeria infection than the general population. It can take a week to a month for symptoms to develop. They may include:

  • Fire
  • muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Tiredness


Salmonella symptoms may begin 6 hours to 6 days after exposure to contaminated food and may include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea


Norovirus symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after a person consumes the contaminated food or drink. Norovirus symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

E. coli (Escherichia Coli)

3-4 days after the person consumes the contaminated food or drink coli may begin to experience symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Staph (Staphylococcus aureus)

Staph symptoms can occur rapidly, 30 minutes to 8 hours after a person consumes the affected food. They may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Conditions with Similar Symptoms

There are other conditions that can give a person symptoms similar to food poisoning.

Food Poisoning Or Stomach Disorder?

Stomach inflammation or gastroenteritis is highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person. It is an inflammation of the gut. Contaminated food or drink can cause gastroenteritis, but the main cause is usually a bacterial or viral infection.

Food poisoning is not usually contagious. When people eat the same contaminated food, they will only ingest it at the same time as others.

Food Poisoning Or Morning Sickness?

Morning sickness also shows symptoms similar to food poisoning. A person with morning sickness may experience symptoms during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but they can occur at any time.


Food poisoning can be dangerous for the unborn child as well as the parent. It can cause serious health problems in the child, loss of a child, premature birth, stillbirth, and even death of the person carrying the child.

Developing fetuses need to get as much nutrients as possible from their bearing parents. If the parent cannot keep enough food in their body for their body to absorb the nutrients, the fetus may not grow properly.

A person with mild symptoms can pass the infection to their unborn child during pregnancy without the parent even knowing they have food poisoning.

Newborns may also experience health problems and may even be born with food poisoning if the person carrying the child becomes infected.

Treating Food Poisoning at Home

Pregnant people should always see a doctor if they have symptoms of food poisoning, but there are some things they can do at home to help, too.


It can be difficult for a person to want to eat anything when they have food poisoning. However, a pregnant person needs to eat to keep their strength high and ensure that they eat enough for themselves and the unborn child. It is best to eat light, low-fat foods that will help keep the stomach as calm as possible.

Foods they can eat include:

  • Pretzel
  • Toast
  • applesauce
  • mashed potatoes
  • boiled rice


A person with food poisoning has a high risk of developing dehydration. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that they consume enough fluids.

Easy ways to replace lost fluids include:

  • This
  • Fruit juices diluted with water
  • Sports drinks containing electrolytes
  • Meat Water

Oral rehydration solutions or salts can also help replace glucose and electrolytes. They consist of water with extra salt and glucose that helps in rehydrating the body.

natural remedies

Ginger has properties that relieve nausea and vomiting. Ginger tea can help a person experiencing these symptoms.

Source: Medical News Today. 2020. Everything to know about food poisoning in pregnancy.


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  • Olmedo-Requena, R., Fernández, JG, Prieto, CA, Moreno, JM, Bueno-Cavanillas, A., & Jiménez-Moleón, JJ (2014). Factors associated with a low adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern in healthy Spanish women before pregnancy. public health nutrition, 17(03), 648-656
  • Leung, CW, Epel, ES, Bush, NR, Coleman-Phox, K., Adler, NE, & Laraia, BA (2016). Maternal diet quality during pregnancy and fetal growth outcomes: a pilot study of lower-income pregnant women. The FASEB Journal, 30(1 Supplement), 671-20
  • Strakovsky, RS, Zhang, X., Zhou, D., & Pan, YX (2011). Gestational high fat diet programs hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene expression and histone modification in neonatal offspring rats. The Journal of physiology, 589(11), 2707-2717

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