As a surrogate, you’ve already been through a pregnancy of your own, and probably remember some the dietary changes that are necessary. There are the obvious basics, like nixing alcohol and cutting out (or at least reducing) caffeine, but then there are the not-so-obvious ones. Some foods are usually healthy and safe, but they have special risks when you’re pregnant. These are three such foods to steer clear of as a surrogate, so can avoid the unexpected dangers they pose.
- Raw Meat, Seafood, or Eggs
Most women won’t pick up a raw steak and try to eat it, but sometimes these uncooked foods wind up in dishes you might not anticipate. For instance, raw eggs are often used in hollandaise sauce, Caesar dressing, homemade mayonnaise or ice cream, and even in tiramisu. While restaurants and food companies tend to use pasteurized eggs, which are safe, it’s good to be aware so you can ask before you eat. Sushi is out for the time being too, and you should also make sure that any seafood or meat you eat is thoroughly cooked.
The biggest concern with these is salmonella though shellfish may additionally be contaminated with vibrio vulnificus. Most people who ingest these bacteria simply suffer from diarrhea and dehydration, but even those symptoms can pose serious risks during pregnancy. The bacteria can also spread into the blood and lead to severe conditions like meningitis, which causes brain and spinal cord swelling. Once a gestational surrogate has salmonella on board, the baby may be exposed to it as well.
- Deli Meat and Hot Dogs
Hot dogs, cold cuts, and other deli meats, whether prepared for sandwiches or served alone, pose risk as well. This includes whole cuts, sectioned, and processed varieties.
Even though a turkey sandwich may seem healthy and wholesome, deli meat has the potential to be contaminated with listeria. It’s normally killed when meat is cooked or pasteurized, and some companies now spray their products with something that kills listeria before packaging. Even still, it’s really not worth the risk if you’re unsure how the meat was handled. The bacteria can cause an infection, which produces flu-like symptoms as much as 30 days after exposure. Although rare, listeriosis has the potential to be deadly, to both the surrogate and the baby she’s carrying.
- Soft Serve Ice Cream
Ice cream is a favorite among most pregnant women, and it’s generally safe to eat in moderation. It’s typically made with pasteurized milk, so the store-bought kind that comes in cartons should get your doctor’s seal of approval. Soft serve ice cream, itself, is usually safe, too. However, when the equipment used to serve it up isn’t properly cleaned, listeria can grow. It’s doubtful you’ll find an ice cream shop that will actually admit when they don’t disinfect their machines daily, so skip the soft serve and opt for the traditional variety of ice cream when a craving calls.
As a surrogate, you should also be careful about cross-contamination. Avoid foods that may have come in contact with the items on this list, just to be safe. You should also take care to avoid eating in establishments that may not handle food in a way that prevents bacteria from transferring. The good news is that serious complications from listeria and salmonella are rare. If you do your best to avoid these three foods, the likelihood of having an issue is very slim.