Pregnancy can be incredibly crazy and nerve-wracking for any mother.
The constant strange desires for certain types of food and the general unpleasantness of being 9 months pregnant are incredibly stressful. However, that stress is nothing compared to hearing the news that your newborn baby may potentially have a life threatening sickness. For one Iowan mother, this was sadly the case. It turns out that a type of food she had eaten made her baby sick just two weeks after birth!
In June of 2014, an Iowa mom was finally getting home from the hospital with her two week old son.
That’s when she began to notice something seemed to be wrong.Lucinda, the mother, began to notice that her baby boy, Erza, was crying a lot more than he should’ve been. Lucinda had already raised her two year old daughter, so she knew the difference between a hungry cry and a cry indicating a bigger problem.
She began to worry.That’s when she noticed that her baby’s skin was turning red.
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Quickly Lucinda got the temperature of her baby. 102 degrees. Lucinda rushed her baby boy to the hospital before it was too late.
The doctors worked and had to perform a spinal tap on Ezra to find out what the issue was. It turned out that Erza had a very serious case of listeria meningitis, which is an infection of the brain. Lucinda was shocked and terrified to hear that her poor baby boy, just two weeks after birth was suffering from such a severe condition.
Lucinda thought she had done everything right to reduce the risk of sickness for her baby, as she did for her two-year-old daughter.
That’s when Lucinda learned that babies generally get listeria meningitis during labor from their mother. The mother can get it from a food she had eaten not too long prior to labor.
So what kind of food could’ve caused her to pass this onto her son? Spoiled meat? Contaminated food? Well…
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If you can believe, it turns out it’s cold cuts. The exceptionally popular lunch and snack meat.
Refrigerated deli meats and cheese are typically served cold and are never warmed up. Due to this, they can host listeria bacteria. This bacteria can live at refrigerator temperature and stay on the meat unless cooked off. While deli meats are perfectly fine for adults to eat, babies on the other hand have weakened immune systems especially right after birth that cannot fight off the bacteria.
Pregnant women should avoid eating deli meats unless they have been fully cooked like any other meat product. Ham, turkey, salami, bologna, and hot dogs should all be avoided unless fully cooked.
If Lucinda had attempted to wait out the meningitis, it was very possible Ezra may have died from it. Thankfully due to her smart thinking, that tragedy was avoided. But Lucinda also wants to make sure all pregnant women know to avoid this common food item, so they do not need to go through the terrifying experience she did.
I had no idea a food this common could be so dangerous for pregnant women. Typically, the only things you hear pregnant women shouldn’t consume are sushi and alcohol. We can certainly add cold cuts to that list to make sure everyone stays safe!