cinapism

10+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2007
21
0
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Hey,

Im a resident not in OB and my wife is pregnant. She keeps telling me things that she cant eat like lunch meat and sprouts because it said so in some book. My understanding is that pregnant women are more susceptible to Listeria and other foodborne illnesses.

I keep telling her that some of these things are dumb because we dont tell our HIV Pts not to eat them and they are certainly at risk.

Im not saying she should eat sushi and drink beer, but isnt some of this overkill. Ive tried to find evidence to back it up but there issnt much out there.

Thanks for any input.
 

THP

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 3, 2005
1,048
140
281
Status
Attending Physician
Hey,

Im a resident not in OB and my wife is pregnant. She keeps telling me things that she cant eat like lunch meat and sprouts because it said so in some book. My understanding is that pregnant women are more susceptible to Listeria and other foodborne illnesses.

I keep telling her that some of these things are dumb because we dont tell our HIV Pts not to eat them and they are certainly at risk.

Im not saying she should eat sushi and drink beer, but isnt some of this overkill. Ive tried to find evidence to back it up but there issnt much out there.

Thanks for any input.
I agree that some of it is overkill. I don't know about sprouts but I would avoid uncooked lunch meats and unpasteurized cheeses and changing kitty litter. Its not so much that you wife is going to get sick from an infection but if there is a transient bacteremia there can be devastating effects on your baby.
 
Oct 7, 2009
33
0
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I agree that some of it is overkill. I don't know about sprouts but I would avoid uncooked lunch meats and unpasteurized cheeses and changing kitty litter. Its not so much that you wife is going to get sick from an infection but if there is a transient bacteremia there can be devastating effects on your baby.
I think the risk with lunch meat and deli cheese is when you buy it fresh-sliced at the counter since all those meats and cheeses are in such close proximity to each other, repeatedly taken in and out of refrigeration, put on the same slicer, etc. and could spread listeria and other pathogens easily if one is contaminated. Same goes for all those salads and things they have sitting out like that in those glass cases.

Prepackaged meat and cheese are usually made/cooked and then packed immediately at the factory so would pose less of a problem.

Also, if you have cats, your wife can get tested for toxoplasma antibodies to see whether she's had it and now become immune. I've got 3 cats so I'm sure I'll be safe when we start a family in the next year or two. \


ETA - I agree with the unpasteurized cheese, ex. soft Mexican cheeses. Stay away from those.
Congrats!
 

lulubean

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2004
410
0
0
Status
Resident [Any Field]
so the food issues are less about risk to the pregnant woman and more about risk to the fetus.

lunch meat is fine if you see it sliced off the turkey/ham at the counter, but i would stay away from anything presliced (even pre-packaged). listeria isn't a big deal for mom, but can cause serious, life threatening infections to the fetus. seen some terrible IUFD from listeria. same goes for unpasteurized cheese.

sprouts are bad simply because the way they are grown lends themselves to being little petri dishes of bacteria that is hard to really clean.

hope that helps.
 

Global Disrobal

Along for the ride
Moderator
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2002
1,002
13
351
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
(To the original poster)
Nutrition in pregnancy, and specifically the avoidance of food borne illnesses involves common sense. Your wife is correct regarding sprouts. Their root structure lends to a higher bacterial load that other vegetables. Yes, she likely will not be affected, but is it really worth the chance when he can easily switch to lettuce, spinach, or other greens?

The cold cut issue comes up frequently in our MFM clinic. I am biased given that I've personally cared for 7 listeria cases in 3 years, but again I think common sense goes a long way here. Odds are profoundly in her favor that the cold cuts from the local marker will not be infected, and YES, most infections are seen in set populations that trade cheeses and meats amongst themselves; but then again, is it that hard to limit it for 9-10 months? As I told my own wife, there is probably nothing wrong with the cold cuts but just let it be for now.

lastly, you may view these recommendations as "dumb" given that you're a medical professional and well aware of general precautions, but put yourself in her position: embarking on a new journey with relatively little prior knowledge about what is ahead, and doing your best to do "everything" right for the pregnancy. Can you fault her for sticking closely to the recommendations? To that end, I wish you both a very smooth pregnancy and birth!

Best of luck!
 
May 3, 2009
43
0
0
Status
I won't make medical comments, especially as I do not know the exact wording of what she is referring to, but I can make some comments about references to seek.

Is that book called "What to expect when you're expecting"? If so, that book is written by someone that has zero medical training, and she has gotten a ton of criticism not just from medical professionals but also people who read her book. That book is notorious for promoting fear and paranoia. She also wrote books about pediatric care too...

The best source really is for her to continue following with a medical professional and if she would like to read more, to ask the doc what they would recommend. There is a ton of information out there, some correct, some very misleading or downright wrong.
 
Last edited:

Global Disrobal

Along for the ride
Moderator
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2002
1,002
13
351
Texas
Status
Attending Physician
Is that book called "What to expect when you're expecting"? If so, that book is written by someone that has zero medical training, and she has gotten a ton of criticism not just from medical professionals but also people who read her book. That book is notorious for promoting fear and paranoia. She also wrote books about pediatric care too...
I'm just curious, but have you personally read the book? I'm also intrigued about some of the "criticisms" and wonder if you would be kind enough to post them. As an obstetrician, I had no issues with the book, found it to be a much better read that the equivalent book from ACOG, and found the the reassuring tone refreshing for my patients. I don't have anything to gain from the book's sales or losses, but I do have a problem with criticism purely based on the author's medical training experience. My patients, albeit all high-risk as I do MFM, generally come in with questions regarding the content (i.e. cat litter), but never an outright criticism of the content.

With respect to your last comment, ironically, I generally recommend they avoid forums and to instead utilize web sources such as Babycenter and MayClinic.
 

civic4982

FM => Geri
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2003
341
8
251
37
Where "The stars at night, Are big and bright"
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I'm just curious, but have you personally read the book? I'm also intrigued about some of the "criticisms" and wonder if you would be kind enough to post them. As an obstetrician, I had no issues with the book, found it to be a much better read that the equivalent book from ACOG, and found the the reassuring tone refreshing for my patients. I don't have anything to gain from the book's sales or losses, but I do have a problem with criticism purely based on the author's medical training experience. My patients, albeit all high-risk as I do MFM, generally come in with questions regarding the content (i.e. cat litter), but never an outright criticism of the content.

With respect to your last comment, ironically, I generally recommend they avoid forums and to instead utilize web sources such as Babycenter and MayClinic.
+1

As an Ob/Gyn resident I commonly suggest this book to my patients. I skimmed it myself and admittedly did not read it in detail but found that what I found was very reassuring for patients and answered a lot of questions for those who were looking to educate themselves.

I wish more of my patients would read it with their first pregnancy.