Listeriosis During Pregnancy - Diagnosis, Treatments & Prevention

listeriosis in pregnancy

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Listeriosis is a rare infection that can get very serious if contracted. For all pregnant women, the risk for contracting Listeriosis is quite high.

This is because your body’s immune system during your pregnancy works primarily to protect your baby. This makes you more vulnerable to Listeriosis.

What Is Listeriosis?

It is a bacterial disease that is triggered by the bacteria listeriamonocytogenes.

  • Listeriosis can be contracted via food items, soil or animals contaminated by the bacteria.
  • Usually, contaminated food is the commonest mode of ingesting listeria.
  • Listeriosis is a serious infection that needs the right kind of care and attention. It can affect your baby if left untreated.

[ Read: Lupus And Pregnancy ]

Recognizing The Symptoms Of Listeriosis In Pregnancy:

Listeriosis symptoms are often confused with the symptoms of flu. However, do not get confused by these similarities, especially during your pregnancy.

The signs of listeriosis in pregnancy are listed here for your ready reference:

  • Listeriosis takes time to show. The symptoms are observed several weeks after you come in contact with the listeria bacteria.
  • Once the symptoms start showing, they are usually mild.
  • The symptoms include high fever, shivering, chills in the body and muscle aches.
  • Diarrhea is another on the list of symptoms.

Once the infection starts spreading in the body and reaches the central nervous system, you may suffer:

  • Headaches
  • Constant nausea
  • Stiff neck
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of sense of balance

These symptoms are likely to confuse you. However, consult a doctor immediately and go in for a blood test to ascertain whether these symptoms are associated with flu or Listeriosis.

[ Read: Nausea During Pregnancy ]

Effects Of Listeriosis During Pregnancy:

If you are suffering from Listeriosis during your pregnancy, you should immediately get the right treatment for it as it can affect your baby:

Listeriosis during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages, premature delivery or stillbirth.

There are high chances that the bacteria may get transferred to the baby and infect through your placenta.

If listeria is present in your vaginal area, your baby may get infected at the time of birth.

In newborn babies, the infection is manifested gradually, and can lead to serious health problems such as acute pneumonia, meningitis, eye infections and jaundice.

You may even observe feeding related issues in your infant.

As stated earlier, Listeriosis, though a rare infection, can cause serious amount of damage to your baby’s health during your pregnancy. It is best to take all kinds of precautionary measures and go in for regular health check-ups during your months of pregnancy.

[ Read: Side Effects During Pregnancy ]

Prevention And Cure For Listeriosis:

The best way to avoid any kind of health related complications during your pregnancy as well as post and pre pregnancy is taking precautions:

  • Listeria is mainly contracted through food. Make sure that you have a healthy food habit and stick to your food plan religiously during your pregnancy.
  • Unpasteurized milk, pre-cooked or ready to eat meals, mold based soft cheese such as blue-cheese or feta cheese, unwashed fruits and vegetables, butter, ready to eat salads and frozen meat items such as hot dogs or sausages are the breeding grounds for listeria. Steer clear of such food items.

[ Read: Which Milk Is Good For Pregnant Women ]

  • Maintain hygiene while cooking. Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after you cook.
  • Keep all kitchen utensils clean and dry. Do not neglect washing up everything after you cook. Remember that it may cost your baby his or her health!
  • Keep tabs on the food items in your fridge and make sure that the temperatures are set according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Everything that is past its shelf-life needs to be disposed of. Yes! Even that unopened pack of frozen meat burgers that are just two days past the use-by date.
  • Most importantly, if you live near a farm or in the vicinity of animals, you should make it a point to stay away from animals during your pregnancy as they too are potent carriers of listeria.
  • Once you observe the symptoms mentioned above, make sure that you tell your doctor about it and get yourself tested for Listeriosis. Proper doses of antibiotics and medication will prevent the infection from spreading to your baby and also help cure your infection.

Listeriosis can be dangerous. Be very alert and seek medical attention if you are contaminated by listeria. It will give your baby a healthy life!

We would love to hear about your experiences and opinions about this article. Do write in to us.

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