Hi I’m Doctor Andrea Pennington and I know
what you’re going through. As a medical professional I’ve been working with pregnant
women for several years and I’m pleased to be talking to you today on behalf of The
Food and Drug Administration. These nine months can be an exciting time but prepare yourself;
everyone from your favorite aunt to the local bus driver is going to be giving you advice.
Welcome to the wonderful world of pregnancy. Eating, one thing we women don’t have to
remember to do when we’re pregnant. What you may not be aware of, because of the simple
fact that you are pregnant, you are at high risk for certain food borne illnesses. When you are pregnant, you are in the high
risk group for food borne illness. That’s because during this time, your immune system
is weakened which could make you more susceptible to some types of food borne illness. It’s important to remember that food safety
during pregnancy is not just about your health. Some food borne bacteria and other hidden
risks can harm your growing fetus as well. But prevention can keep you and your unborn
child safe. You may wonder, exactly how does bacteria
cause harm to your growing baby? Food borne bacteria, and even some metals
in food can actually cross your placenta and affect your developing fetus, even if you
don’t feel sick. As a result, the fetus or newborn can experience a wide range of
health problems. It’s surprising to a lot of women, and it
is a scary thought. But the positive news for you, is that it’s actually pretty easy
to prevent these illnesses. There are four simple steps that will prevent most food borne
illness. These are steps that you should always take, and they take on a particular importance
right now, while you are carrying your baby. The four steps are:
Clean – to wash away bacteria. Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and
after handling food, and especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Wash
surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap after using them. Rinse fruits and vegetables
under running water. Separate – to keep bacteria from transferring
from foods, surfaces, and hands, to other foods. Don’t cross contaminate. Separate
raw foods from ready to eat foods when preparing and storing. Cook – to kill food borne bacteria. Cook
meat, poultry, and seafood, thoroughly to proper temperatures. I know that I should not eat sushi while I
was pregnant which was not a problem for me. That’s right, raw sushi is definitely on
the don’t eat list. Any raw fish can harbor dangerous bacteria,
so just follow the “cook” rule we talked about earlier. Cook fish thoroughly until
it’s milky white and flakes with a fork. Chill – to keep most bacteria from multiplying.
Refrigerate all leftovers immediately after serving. Never leave perishable food unrefrigerated
for more than 2 hours. Doesn’t sound so hard, right? So, to avoid
food borne infection to you and your baby, remember the four simple steps; clean, separate,
cook, and chill. These steps are especially important for you to do now. And you should
continue these practices after your baby is born, to keep your family safe. For more information on food safety during
your pregnancy, visit the FDA website (www.fda.gov/pregnancyfoodsafety) as shown on your screen. I’m Dr. Andrea
Pennington, wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy.