Baby Your Baby: Listeria in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Baby Your Baby - Listeria

(KUTV) Summertime brings up questions about meats and other picnic foods for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This is because of the fear of listeria. Listeria is the bacteria found in seafood, raw meats, raw milk, and on raw vegetables. Food can get contaminated with listeria during their processing. Listeria infection during pregnancy can increase the risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. If a mom is infected late in pregnancy, the newborn can have the infection also, but we don't see it passed through breast milk.

Not everyone has symptoms, but the symptoms might include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever/Chills
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Other Flu-like Symptoms

The symptoms might not start for a few days or weeks. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection.

The usual food preparation processes help prevent listeria and other food-borne illness. Wash hands, knives, cutting boards, and areas after preparing raw food. Avoid foods that have set out too long and are not hot or cold since they can be contaminated by growing bacteria. This is common with foods like potato salad that start out with cold ingredients but quickly warm up to room/outside temperature.

If moms have concerns or questions about a particular medication or her situation, she can call, email, or get more information from Utah Department of Health Experts. To do so visit