Pregnancy Tip #37 – Don’t eat soft or poached eggs, opt for hard boiled eggs
During pregnancy, if you are including eggs in your diet it is a great way to up your protein intake. Eggs are considered to be nutritious and a storehouse of proteins which help in cell and muscle growth in both mother and baby. This is a reason why pregnant woman are encouraged to eat more protein during pregnancy. But when it comes to eating eggs, this should be done with caution. While they are high in nutrition quotient if cooked the wrong way they can give rise to intestinal infections too.
Raw or undercooked eggs have been associated with salmonella infection which could lead to food poisoning presenting symptoms like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea. During pregnancy, this kind of infection can be life-threatening as it could lead to a miscarriage or still-birth. Of all the other foods that should be had with caution during pregnancy, eggs are among the most common causes of salmonella infection, a food-borne illness caused by non-typhoid salmonella bacteria. While this infection causes havoc in the intestinal tract of the mother, it can cross the placenta and give rise to intrauterine sepsis. However, if the eggs are well cooked this reduces the chances of infection or food poisoning. So, doctors and nutritionists urge expectant mothers to avoid raw or uncooked eggs.
The right way to buy, store and eat eggs during pregnancy
If you love eating eggs and want your baby to get a taste of it inside the womb, here are some guidelines you need to follow
Buying and storing eggs:
- Well, eggs do have an expiry date. So if you are buying from a high-end supermarket check on the date. Here are ways to find if your egg is way past its expiry date.
- Always take care that the eggs don t come in contact with other foods, as the shells could contain harmful bacteria. Keep them in the egg tray or in a separate box.
- Always wash your hands after handling eggs.
- Wash the eggs thoroughly before using, as they can have some remnant bacteria on their surface.
- Don t use eggs whose shell have dirt or are damaged as that could mean the yolk could be contaminated.
- Don t keep hard boiled eggs in the fridge for more than three days.
- Always store the eggs in the refrigerator in the egg tray.
Cooking and eating:
- If you are having boiled eggs, make sure you boil them for around seven to eight minutes so the yolk is cooked properly, which has the highest chance of housing the salmonella bacteria. When cooked at high temperatures it kills the bacteria and makes it safe for consumption.
- If you want to have a fried egg or omelette, make sure you fry both sides of the egg thoroughly. Take care that you don t burn the egg.
- Avoid eating poached eggs during pregnancy, as they remain semi-cooked. However, if you are craving for one, cook the egg until the white part is completely set and opaque and the yolk is firm. It takes about five minutes for a medium-sized egg to be set.
- Avoid splashing raw eggs over food as it increases the chances of food poisoning and infection.
- Stay away from foods that can have raw eggs in one form or the other, like sauces, homemade mayonnaise, icing, ice cream, mousse, tiramisu, salad dressings, etc. Always read the contents of the food you pick up to avoid any contamination through eggs.
Avoiding infections through raw eggs:
- In case, you accidentally break an egg and its contents spill over the kitchen counter or the floor, make sure that you wash the entire area thoroughly with mild soap and warm water.
- Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
- Use a disinfectant to be sure that the area is clean and germ-free.
Image source: Shutterstock
Tam, C., Erebara, A., & Einarson, A. (2010). Food-borne illnesses during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician, 56(4), 341-343.
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