Listeriosis During Pregnancy: I Heard the Warnings, But Didn't Listen by Erin Elam
“Stay away from cold cuts unless heated, and wash fruits and vegetables.”
That’s absolutely the last thing that concerned me about my seventh pregnancy, but now the only thing I seem to ever remember coming from my OB-GYN’s mouth. After five miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy that resulted in tube removal, my biggest concern was being able to carry my child – not necessarily washing my vegetables. After battling through IVF because of the tube removal, I became pregnant with a little girl.
In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 1600 cases of listeriosis each year. About 200 of those cases occur in pregnant women, out of about four million pregnancies a year.
I am one of those 200.
My daughter was born at 1 pound, 12 inches long, at an early 23 weeks. Her chances of survival were thin.
Immediately I questioned every single thing I ate. Did I wash all fruits? Wait, oh no, not the grapes. Or was it that ham sandwich that I quickly made on my way out the door? I’ll never know what it was. What I do know is that I should have never thought I couldn’t be one of 200.
My daughter is 2 now. Her favorite thing to do: wash veggies.
Listen. Ask questions.