AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —The holiday season brings with it some great food and experiences with friends and family, but it can be a tricky time for new and expecting parents.

Dr. Teresa Baker, Co-Director of the TTUHSC InfantRisk Center says pregnant people are at an increased risk of food poisoning. She says they’re ten times more likely than others to get Listeria, which can lead to problems with a pregnancy, series illness or death in newborns.

Dr. Baker says don’t eat the following:
– Unpasteurized soft cheese, like queso fresco or brie
– Unheated cheeses sliced at a deli
– Unheated deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs and fermented or dry sausages
– Premade deli salads like coleslaw, potato, tuna or chicken salad
– Refrigerated pate or meat spreads
– Refrigerated smoked fish
– Raw or lightly cooked sprouts
– Cut melon left out for more than 2 hours or left in a refrigerator for more than a week
– Raw milk, yogurt and ice cream

Most of the cheeses that are pasteurized are totally fine. You’ll often hear that it’s not okay to eat cold cuts. It’s not really that the cold cut itself is dangerous, it’s a cold cut that’s been sitting out for a long time. So, you can eat cold cuts when you’re pregnant, but just be careful to make sure they’re fresh and refrigerated, and then obviously, stay away from nitrates as much as you can.

When it comes to the drink choices of those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, Dr. Baker says don’t drink raw or unpasteurized juice and cider, and to avoid alcohol. She says any amount of alcohol can impact the growth and development of your baby.

Don’t drink holiday punches and eggnogs that might contain alcohol. Avoid eggnog entirely unless you know it doesn’t contain alcohol and is pasteurized or made with pasteurized eggs and milk.

If you’re nursing, you can have your glass of wine right after nursing and that alcohol will move into the breast milk and move out of the breast milk, and by the time the baby’s ready to nurse again in four hours, it won’t be present. There’s no reason to pump and dump.

Dr. Baker says they get asked about caffeine intake and that it’s fine in moderation. For example, she says a tall coffee per day is fine, but any more can impact you and your baby.

Families should really pay close attention, though, to those tried and true food safety rules during the holiday season, right?

Yes—pregnant or not, feasting with family is part of many holiday celebrations. Follow these tips to help prevent food poisoning, or foodborne illness, during the holidays.

– Keep foods separated
– Cook food thoroughly
– Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
– Use pasteurized eggs
– Do not eat raw dough or batter
– Thaw your turkey safely
– Wash your hands frequently!

It’s hard to navigate holiday eating, we know! But there’s lots of guidance out there if you’ll go to reputable websites like the CDC. Talk with your doctor. You can also learn more at InfantRisk Center (IRC). The IRC is a world-wide call center at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, in Amarillo. It’s used by physicians, nurses, lactation consultants, and mothers in every part of the world. Virtually all calls are about multiple drugs, averaging three to four individual drugs. We do our best to help moms, lactation consultants, and doctors evaluate the risk to the infant from exposure to multiple drugs, and keep the mom breastfeeding.

InfantRisk Center

At Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

1 (806) 352-2519