When you are pregnant, it is hard not to worry about everything you ingest from vitamins to drinks and also even the foods you eat.
There is a lot of conflicting information and sometimes even your doctor can’t tell you indefinitely if something is safe or even helpful.
One of my favorite lunch foods is chicken salad and one of my coworkers one day had me second guessing this choice. You too may be wondering if it is safe to eat chicken salad while pregnant.
Why Can it Be Dangerous?
Chicken salad is usually made from a mixture of mayonnaise along with chopped chicken and optionally things like celery, onion and even pickles.
If you are purchasing your chicken salad from a deli counter or even a restaurant it is probably a good idea to skip it while you are pregnant. This is because you have no way of controlling the preparation process or knowing how it was made.
Chicken salad could contain something called listeria. You could contract listeriosis and pass it along to your unborn baby. Even if you don’t feel ill, or don’t display ill effects, you could carry it and inadvertently harm your fetus.
Do I have to Give it Up?
You don’t have to quit chicken salad altogether while you are pregnant. Just start making your own at home.
Practice safe cooking habits and cleaning up thoroughly after each step. Cook the chicken well and make sure you refrigerate the chicken salad mixture right away. Both chicken and mayonnaise require refrigeration to avoid any type of food poisoning or bacterial contamination.
How About the Fixings?
With chicken salad, it is hard not to enjoy a little cheese or lettuce to accent or enhance the flavor. However, as tasty as they may be, you need to be aware of which fixings to avoid while pregnant.
The following chicken salad add-on’s are on the list of foods to stay away from while pregnant:
Soft/Unpasteurized cheeses (For example: Brie, feta, queso fresco)
Raw or Undercooked Sprouts (For example: alfalfa, clover, radish)
Unwashed vegetables (romaine lettuce, carrots, etc.)
These additional dressings could contain E. Coli or Listeria, which both have serious repercussions to your health and that of your baby which include the risk of miscarriage.
What are the Warning Signs?
If you happen to indulge in a delicious chicken salad while out at a deli or restaurant without knowing it isn’t the safest idea, you will want to be on watch for warning signs of potential infection.
The warning symptoms of Listeria include:
Abdominal cramping and/or pain
Feel like food poisoning
Feeling foggy or unalert
Issues with balance
The warning symptoms of E. Coli include:
Diarrhea that is persistent and/or contains blood
Abdominal pain and/or cramping
Nausea and/or vomiting after exposure
Other Foods to Avoid or Limit
When you are expecting, there are some foods which should be avoided to prevent potential health risks and harm to both you and your unborn child:
Raw fish or sushi--could contain bacteria or parasites that would make you very ill
Undercooked Meat--even a medium rare steak could have ill effects, it’s best to cook thoroughly to avoid E. coli or salmonella exposure
Raw Cookie Batter--although very yummy, it could contain salmonella because of the raw eggs in the recipe
Oysters or Clams--these raw foods could be contaminated with a bacteria called Vibrio
Hot Dogs/Lunch Meat--these are best to avoid because of possible exposure to listeria
Anything with uncooked eggs--raw eggs could cause salmonella poisoning
Unpasteurized Meat Spread or Pate--refrigerated versions could expose you and your baby to listeria; canned ones are fine
Certain types of fish--King mackerel, fresh tuna, swordfish could have high levels of mercury
Staying Food Safe Throughout Your Pregnancy
Looking over these listed items, you may feel that your food choices are limited or you may be a little more paranoid about safe eating during pregnancy. However, there are still many delicious choices.
With a little care and planning ahead, you will enjoy a full palate of food choices and even treat options too.
Hopefully this has helped you understand the safety concerns about chicken salad while pregnant and how you can avoid becoming ill or causing harm to your unborn baby. Please leave a comment or feedback since we enjoy hearing from our readers.