Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pasteurization & Pregnancy

What is is and why is it important?In pregnancy, the immune system is weakened. This is normal and it helps prevent miscarriage which might occur due to the body's rejection of "foreign" matter. However, this means you are also at particularly high risk for foodborne illnesses and therefore must be extra careful about foods that might harbor bacteria. In a non-pregnant adult, the illness could be minor and transient. Besides your immune system suppression, the baby has not yet developed adequate immunity to fight these germs.

Pasteurization is a process that makes some foods safer. A little history...
In 1864, a French man named Louis Pasteur discovered that liquids such as milk could be heated to a temperature slightly below boiling and held there for a set amount of time to eliminate the most harmful bacteria. The process of pasteurization is named after Louis Pasteur in recognition of his immense contribution to food safety and disease theory.

Grocery stores carry a wide array of pasteurized goods including milk, juices, non-dairy milks, and other similar food products. Many nations require that foods be pasteurized for safety.
Pasteurization relies on the principle that most harmful bacterial can be killed by heat. The most effective way to kill bacteria is boiling, but this compromises the flavor of the liquid. Pasteurization strikes a happy medium, keeping the flavor delicious while making the food safer. In addition to minimizing the risk of sickness, pasteurization also makes foods more shelf stable and less likely to rot, meaning that fresh dairy products and juices are available to more people. (WiseGeek)
What's the word in pregnancy?

The recommendations for pregnant women are to avoid soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. Examples are Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, queso blanco, queso fresco and Panela. Check the label to see what kind of milk was used to make the cheese. All milk and any foods made from it should be pasteurized. So should juices. Cream cheese is not one of these soft cheeses of concern because it is typically pasteurized. That is the key word when looking at cheese. Often you will hear people refer to "soft" cheeses to avoid - again, it's not the "soft" that's the problem; if it's pasteurized you're good to go with it. Always check the label before eating. If you have any doubt -- for example, if it's served at a party and you can't look at the package -- it's best not to eat it. Listeriosis is the concern and while relatively rare, pregnant women are more often and more seriously affected than the general population.

Baby Center says
"Cottage cheese, ricotta, cream cheese, processed cheese (such as American), and hard cheese (such as cheddar and Parmesan), as well as cultured dairy products like yogurt and buttermilk, are generally considered safe -- either because they’re made with pasteurized milk or because they're processed in ways that help inhibit the growth of the bacteria.
Keep in mind that it's important to keep cheese and other dairy products refrigerated to prevent the growth of other kinds of bacteria."
In the fall...

At this time of year, you may find see unpasteurized apple cider (perhaps sold at local booths or in the refrigerated section of the grocery store). The CDC recommends not drinking this when pregnant. Some people are opposed to pasteurization or just like the natural flavors they believe are affected by the process. If you fall in this category, it's best to avoid milk (unpasteurized or raw milk) for the time being. Calcium is important so if you don't use dairy products regularly you should talk to your doctor or midwife about taking a calcium citrate supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamin. If you do, take it at a different time of day because your body can only absorb so much of this supplement at a time (about 500 mg).

'Tis the season for parties so don't forget baby - take care of you both. Don't indulge in high risk behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, overeating or indulging in high risk foods. Best Blogger Tips

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