Listeria – the real takeaway!

raw salmon, listeria, fertility lifestyle program

Is Listeria dangerous to a mother and unborn child? We all hear about foods not to eat once pregnant or after an embryo transfer.

Firstly, Listeria can be found in almost everything. One in 20 adults carries the bacteria but remains unaware because of having no symptoms. It’s an illness caused by consuming foods that have been contaminated by a bacteria found in soil, water, chicken, cows and animal feces. The infection can be dangerous for the elderly, ill or pregnant women. Listeria can cross the placental barrier which can cause serious fetal infections leading to miscarriage, premature birth, still born or an ill child. Although fairly rare in Australia, pregnant women are around 10-20 times more likely to get Listeria than other healthy adults.

Symptoms can be mild to severe.

aches and pains
septicemia (blood poisoning)
It can feel a bit like having food poisoning so do have a check-up if you’re pregnant and feel such symptoms. If your blood test shows you’re positive for Listeria then you will be given antibiotics which should clear up the infection.

To prevent any risks from Listeria it’s best to avoid certain foods to begin with and remain hygienic. Listeria flourishes in your refrigerator so if you haven’t eaten your goods within a few days then toss them out while pregnant. Wash all your produce really well when you bring it home (or even from your own garden) – cooking food kills Listeria.

So, limit your raw food intake. Only eat takeaway food if it’s hot and not sitting around at room temperature.


ready to eat seafood (smoked fish, sushi, sashimi, mussels)
premixed raw veggies (coleslaw prepackaged salads)
soft serve ice-cream
soft cheeses (brie, camembert, ricotta) unless cooked
deli meats
unpasteurized milk
Yoghurt and cottage cheese are fine

We also recommend following these guidelines immediately after an embryo transfer. Everyday I’m asked if during the 2 week wait you should treat yourself as you would during pregnancy. Well, yes, because that’s the goal and to have the attitude that ‘the last transfer didn’t take so neither will this one’ can lead to distress when you get a positive pregnancy test and haven’t taken care of yourself up until that point. So, avoid Listeria foods, don’t over-exercise (especially if you weren’t doing it before pregnancy), avoid alcohol and other toxins.

Don’t panic in regards to Listeria, just take precautions.

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