Food Poisoning during Pregnancy. Treat it naturally and safely!

3 min read

So, this happened very recently when I started feeling uneasy in the stomach and soon after, I threw up all that I had eaten for dinner that day. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was nothing but ‘food poisoning’! The fact that I have experienced it before [years ago] on a much severe scale, I knew exactly what all is happening within and what will happen next. But, the only reason I was a little more anxious this time was – the ongoing 6th month of pregnancy!!!

To make the situation even worse, I couldn’t get in touch with my doctor which left me with only one option – treating it at home, with various foods. Interestingly, that gave me another beneficial topic to write on. 😀

Just to brief a little on food poisoning:

  1. It occurs on consumption of contaminated food or water [with bacteria, viruses or parasites].
  2. These microorganisms then make their way from the stomach into the intestine where they attach to the intestinal walls and begin multiplying.
  3. Some produce toxins that enter the bloodstream whereas some directly invade the body tissues.
  4. Diarrhea, vomiting, fever, weakness, stomach cramps are some very common symptoms which may take a couple of hours to a days time to show.
  5. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most normal reaction as the body tries to rid itself of harmful organisms.

I agree that our first response in such a situation would be – run to the doctor immediately! Right?

But remember what Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Now, how do we get rid of this infection without antibiotics?

Ginger!!!! Take 1 glass water and add 1 inch fresh grated ginger into it. Let this boil till the water changes its color and reduces a little. Strain it, add a pinch of cinnamon powder and a tsp of fresh lime juice to it. Have this decoction once a day for at least 3 days or till the symptoms subside.

Why ginger?

  • Phenols and gingerols present in ginger is useful for treating acute and chronic inflammation in the body which is why it becomes your antibiotic powerhouse and you can, without thinking twice, replace it for store-bought antibiotics!
  • It has carminative and intestinal spasmolytic properties that soothes and relieves an upset stomach.
  • Zingerone, active compounds found in ginger, can gather the toxins and help them flush out of the body so they can’t affect the stomach.
  • Ginger is anti-bacterial in nature.

Here is a list of foods that’ll be gentle on your stomach and help you recover:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Curd with ½ tsp roasted jeera powder and some mint leaves
  • Rice
  • Vegetable or chicken soup
  • Coconut water
  • Buttermilk, thin
  • Toast or well-roasted chapati without ghee or oil
  • Cooked carrots
  • Black coffee, squeezing some lime in it
  • Plain or mashed potatoes
  • Glucose biscuits
  • Barley water
  • Curd rice
  • Fresh fruit juice, especially pomegranate
  • Sabudana [sago] kanji
  • Arrowroot powder kanji
  • Thin khichdi with curd
  • Dal water
  • Moong soup

If you have ONLY these foods alternatively for 2-3 days depending upon the severity of your symptoms, you’ll recover naturally.

Road to recovery

  • Stick to bland, light, low-fat foods as fat is difficult to digest especially when the stomach is upset.
  • Keep sipping [remember you have to take sips only to avoid throwing up] on fluids throughout the day to replenish what has been lost. You have to make sure you are not dehydrated as it will affect the growing fetus big time!
  • Prepare and finish at least 1 lt of oral re-hydration solution [electral powder] in a day till the time diarrhea and vomiting persists. Also, there are flavored ORS tetrapaks available with the chemists that can be consumed twice a day in case you can’t tolerate the taste of plain ORS.
  • No milk and milk products, wheat and wheat products – won’t be accepted well by the gut.
  • Avoid citrus fruits [lemon is an exception, it helps in this case], raw veggies, alcohol, tea, coffee, greasy, fried, spicy foods at this time.
  • Remember the acronym “BRAT” – Bananas, rice, apples, toast [the BRAT diet].
  • Once you feel fine, return to a normal diet but do it very gradually and step by step as the gut has just recovered and it may be taxing for it if you have complex foods like chicken and meat immediately.
  • Contact your doctor post recovery for a pre and probiotic supplement to replenish the gut micro flora.
  • REST a lot, it’ll help you recover faster.

P.S.: Going for over-the-counter diarrhea medication is not a good idea because it’s important for your body to follow its natural reaction to cleanse and purge the digestive tract to get rid of the harmful bacteria and taking antibiotics will no doubt suppress the symptoms but will do a lot of damage inside [I might write another blog on this topic separately sometime soon].

So, the next time you or a family member suffer from food poisoning, you know what has to be done! And you don’t have to worry as everything I said above is tried and tested by me. 😉

Zahra Nulwala, Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist

Zahra Nulwala, Dietitian, Sports Nutritionist

Zahra is a qualified Dietitian and a Sports Nutritionist ('Nutritionista' to her loved ones) who practices a holistic approach to health and wellness. She helps her clients to change their relationship with food into a positive one which results in having a lasting impact on their nutritional choices as well as their lives. She believes that a healthy, balanced life is a journey, not a destination and it's never late to get on board! In her own words, "Nothing tastes better than feeling great! :)"

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