How Common Is Listeria In Pregnancy


What Is Listeria?

Listeria is a type of bacteria found in contaminated food and soil that can cause serious health issues, including severe illnesses such as meningitis, sepsis, and pneumonia. The bacteria has also been known to cause miscarriages, premature births, and stillbirths. As a result, pregnant women are warned to take extra precautions when it comes to their food choices and hygiene habits.

How Common Is Listeria in Pregnancy?

The good news is that listeria is actually quite rare, especially in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of listeriosis (contracting the infection from a food source) is low during pregnancy. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly one in every 100 pregnancies will result in a listeria infection.

However, the CDC does note that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to contract listeriosis than the general population, so it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk.



How To Reduce Your Risk For Listeria

Foods to Avoid

There are a few types of food that should be avoided entirely, including:

  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products
  • Deli meats, hot dogs, and other ready-to-eat foods
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood

Foods to Eat Safely

Some foods must be cooked or reheated thoroughly before they are safe to eat. This includes food items such as:

  • Raw fish, poultry, and other meats
  • Soft-serve ice cream
  • Leftovers

It’s important to make sure your food has been cooked to the recommended temperature to kill any bacteria. Use a reliable food thermometer to check.

Good Hygiene Habits

  • Always wash your hands after handling raw foods or animals.
  • Be sure to wash all food before consuming it.
  • Avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen by using different cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  • Keep foods refrigerated at the right temperature (40 ˚F or below)
  • Clean the inside of the refrigerator regularly.
  • Throw away any food that is past its expiry date.


Taking these steps can help reduce your risk of listeria during pregnancy. However, it’s always a good idea to be extra cautious and speak with your doctor or healthcare provider about any concerns you may have.

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