Salmonella, officially Salmonellosis, is a type of food poisoning caused by the genus of bacteria Salmonella.
Salmonellosis is unpleasant enough, but the effects of salmonella during pregnancy can be serious and even life-threatening. So how do you treat salmonella naturally during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, Salmonellosis does not have any natural treatments. The body often takes care of itself in eradicating the bacteria, however, there are greater risks for pregnant women demanding that medical attention is sought.
How do you get Salmonella during pregnancy?
Salmonellosis can be contracted in one of two ways:
- Coming in contact with an infected animal
- Consuming infected foods
Infected animals can spread the bacteria Salmonella through their feces, through the soil or water they occupy, through their food, and through their bedding. Household pets can be carriers for Salmonella, so it is important to use caution when handling animals. Animals that are the most common carriers of the bacteria include reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, etc.) and poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, etc.).
One of the better-known ways to contract Salmonella is through foods that are infected with the bacteria.
There are several foods that are the most common types of food, which contain Salmonella and should be avoided:
- Raw or undercooked poultry, meat, and fish
- Raw or undercooked eggs or foods made with eggs
- Unpasteurized milk, milk products, and juice, or foods made from them.
- Food that comes in contact with animal poop in the soil or water where it grows
- Food that comes into contact with Salmonella while you’re preparing it
Signs and Symptoms of Salmonellosis
The symptoms of Salmonellosis can take a few hours or up to a few days to present after coming in contact with the bacteria.
- Belly pain, nausea or vomiting
- Muscle pains
- Blood in your stool
Although Salmonellosis typically resolves itself on its own, it can present many problems for pregnant women.
Issues that Pregnant Women Face with Salmonellosis:
- Extreme Dehydration
- Bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream)
- Meningitis caused by bacteremia
- Reactive arthritis
As you can imagine, these are serious issues. What’s more concerning is that Salmonellosis can be transferred from mother to child, so, if you think you may have this condition, it is important to seek help right away. Your baby would be receptive to meningitis, which could be life-threatening.
How to Prevent Salmonellosis during Pregnancy
We do not recommend trying to treat Salmonellosis naturally during pregnancy. Instead, it is best to take precautions to prevent contracting Salmonellosis.
- Practice Safe Food Handling – Wash foods before eating them, and be careful to avoid cross-contamination between different foods while cooking.
- Wash Your Hands Often – Take the extra effort to wash your hands throughout the day especially if you come in contact with animals or raw foods.
- Cook Foods Thoroughly – For food-borne Salmonella, the bacteria can be killed by cooking foods thoroughly and pasteurizing milk and juices.
How to Treat Salmonellosis during Pregnancy
These are a couple of options that your doctor may prescribe to alleviate your symptoms and fight the bacterial infection:
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics might be prescribed in cases of bacteremia when the bacteria spread to the bloodstream.
- Replenishing Fluids – If you are severely dehydrated from diarrhea, your doctor may recommend that you receive IV fluids to replace your fluid intake quickly.
There is a risk to the health and wellness of your baby. Although more than likely your body will rid itself of salmonellosis on its own, the risks to the baby create the expectation that you seek immediate medical attention.
Want to Know More?
- Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Medications During Pregnancy
- Herbs and Pregnancy: Risks, Caution and Recommendations
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Salmonella
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What is Salmonellosis?