Foods & Pregnancy

Be careful how you eat.
For you, and for your baby.

Find out about the main microorganisms that can contaminate your food, and in what foods they can be found, so you can eat safely during pregnancy.

Food can contain microorganisms that, if ingested, can cause serious diseases in both the mother and the foetus.

However, by adopting some correct behaviours, it is possible to reduce the risk of contracting these diseases.

Microbiological risks

These are the main microorganisms that can contaminate the food you eat.
Click on them to learn about the problems they can cause, in what foods they can be found,
and how to eat risky foods safely.

Risky foods

You may find pathogenic microorganisms in each of these foods.
Click on them to find out the risks involved and how to consume them safely.

Reducing risks

These are the main good practices you need to adopt to reduce the risk of contracting foodborne diseases,
which can have serious consequences for your health and for the one of your baby.

Foods to avoid

Foods to avoid

  • Raw, poorly washed vegetables or vegetables that you are not sure whether they have been washed thoroughly
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Fresh, unaged cured meats, especially if homemade
  • Raw, undercooked or smoked fish
  • Raw or undercooked seafood
  • Raw or undercooked eggs (fried, soft boiled)
  • Sauces, creams or dishes with raw or undercooked eggs (e.g. homemade mayonnaise, tiramisu)
  • Raw or unpasteurised milk, except after boiling
  • Soft semi-soft cheeses made from raw milk (e.g. Brie, Camembert)
Purchase and washing

Buying and washing

  • Always make sure that the water you use to drink, prepare ice to put in drinks, wash or prepare food or the one used to wash kitchen utensils is potable.
  • Avoid buying eggs that are too dirty or refrigerated: if eggs undergo temperature changes, condensation may form on their shells, which would facilitate the penetration of pathogenic bacteria inside.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming, cutting or cooking them (even those to be peeled); use running drinking water or, for greater effectiveness, chlorine-based detergents (bicarbonate, on the other hand, is ineffective).
  • If you use chlorine-based detergents to wash fruits and vegetables, do not just soak them in the water and detergent solution, but also rinse the products with running water.
  • Clean and wash the following with a clean brush: potatoes, carrots, melons, cucumbers and any peeled fruit and vegetable products that come into contact with soil; then dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth or disposable paper towel.
  • Do not wash poultry meat before cooking: any splashes may contaminate utensils and work surfaces or other ready-to-eat foods in the kitchen.
Preparation and cooking

Preparation and cooking

  • Accurately and thoroughly cook eggs, fish products (especially bivalve molluscs) and meat (especially poultry and minced beef).
  • Do not use the microwave oven to cook food: it does not ensure uniformly cooked food.
  • Do not break eggs on the edges of the container you will use to process them, use another container,
  • After breaking, remove the eggshells from the kitchen.
  • Raw vegetables, cured meats and sausages can only be used as pizza toppings if cooked together with the pizza itself.


  • Do not store cooked fish for a long time and consume fresh fish within a short time of purchase.
  • Do not store refrigerated products after the expiry date.
  • Consume precooked or ready-to-eat products within a short time.
  • Consume any stored food leftovers after careful and uniform heating at high temperatures so as to be sure that you have prevented any possible microbial contamination of the food.
  • In the refrigerator, separate the raw products (especially eggs, meat and fish) from each other and especially from the vegetables and cooked foods ready for consumption.
  • Store eggs on the middle shelf of the refrigerator (4-5°C), well separated from other foods, and only take them out shortly before use.
  • Do not wash the eggs before putting them in the refrigerator: water could facilitate the penetration of pathogenic bacteria inside. You can wipe them with a damp cloth before use.
  • Keep your refrigerator tidy and clean your interior walls and shelves regularly with warm water and liquid soap.
  • Keep the refrigerator temperature within 4°C and freezer temperature below 17°C.
Beware of contaminations

Beware of contamination

  • Pay attention to cross contamination, that is, contamination between raw products and ready-to-eat foods or between dirty surfaces and utensils and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Thoroughly clean kitchen surfaces and utensils that come into contact with raw meat, unwashed fruits and vegetables with a detergent.
  • Always wash your hands with a detergent before eating and after touching raw meat, egg shells, unwashed fruits and vegetables or soil.
  • Eliminate insects like flies and cockroaches from your home, and protect food from contact with them because they can be a vehicle for pathogens.
  • Always wear rubber gloves in all activities that may involve contact with materials potentially contaminated by cat faeces (gardening, horticulture, cat litter cleaning, etc.).
  • Take good care of your personal hygiene, wash your hands every time you use the bathroom, change a nappy, touch or stroke your pet and always before preparing food or eating.

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