What Affect Does Salmonella Have on an Unborn Baby?

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When a woman is pregnant, hormones suppress her immune system, making it harder to overcome infections such as that caused by salmonella. This can also have adverse effects on the fetus.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a bacteria that infects humans after coming into contact with animal waste, usually via raw or unpasteurized foods.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and chills. These symptoms generally appear 12 to 36 hours after contact with Salmonella. If a fetus is infected, there will be no symptoms recognizable to the mother.

Effects on Fetus

A rare form of the bacteria known as Salmonella typhi can be passed on to the fetus, possibly leading to abortion, stillbirth or premature labor. However, most forms of Salmonella cannot be passed onto the fetus and pose little risk to the child's health.

Prevention

Pregnant women should wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, poultry, or dairy products and after each bathroom use. Do not eat uncooked food or drink unpasteurized beverages.

Treatment

Though doctors may be able to prescribe antibiotics to a pregnant woman, depending on factors such as the severity of the illness and how far along the pregnancy is, it's most common for victims of Salmonella poisoning to allow the illness to pass naturally over time.

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