Is it safe to eat leftovers during pregnancy? Should pregnant women even come close to leftover food seeing how easily exposed they are to certain diseases?
Eating leftover foods during pregnancy can expose you to the risk of bacterial infections. Food contamination caused by bacteria such as listeria, E. coli and salmonella is all dangerous to contract during pregnancy. In severe cases, salmonella can cause meningitis and even pollute your bloodstream thereby infecting your unborn baby.
The result may be miscarriage or stillbirth. The normal human being might not be negatively affected by eating contaminated leftovers, but as a pregnant woman, you might be adversely affected because your immune system is a bit weaker than others at this stage. It is important to mind what you eat so that you don’t bring unnecessary discomfort during pregnancy.
How to safely eat leftovers during pregnancy
When you eat your leftover, bring them out of the fridge and place in the microwave or a bowl of water so that it thaws.
If you are using cold water to thaw the leftover, cover it with a plastic bag to prevent air or water contamination.
To make the food thaw faster to prevent bacteria from growing on it, set the microwave to 165 degrees, if you are using water, change it frequently.
All leftovers should be reheated at least to 165 degrees before eating. If you are boiling the leftover, remember to cover the lids that it can cook properly. Stir the food once in a while to evenly distribute the heat.
Return the remaining leftovers in the fridge after taking out the portions you want.
Storing leftovers to prevent food contamination.
There are precautions you need to take when storing leftovers to prevent food poisoning while pregnant.
There is something called the danger zone which refers to the range of temperature at which bacteria can grow, usually between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. When hot foods are not refrigerated immediately, the danger zone becomes effective.
Perishable leftovers are not to be stored as they have increased the risk of infection. Throw them away if you are not eating it immediately.
When storing leftovers, share them out in small shallow containers so they can cool faster and prevent bacteria from settling on them
Place the leftovers at the top of your fridge after covering it with a tight-fitting lid or cling film. Avoid placing them side by side with raw foods in the fridge.
Don’t store leftovers for a long period, three to four days are enough for leftovers to stay in your fridge. Also, ensure to keep the remaining back in the fridge as soon as you are done using it.
If you are not going to use them within that time range, then you should consider freezing them.
One thing about food contamination is that you will not know if the leftover is contaminated because the color or smell would not change. In most cases, it will be better to throw them out if you are not sure of its safety again. Eating fresh food during pregnancy is more rewarding than munching leftovers.