The holiday season is drawing near and many of us are looking forward to drinking eggnog. Eggnog is a frothy drink that is made from eggs, sugar, milk, cream and can also have alcohol added to it. This drink is considered to be an irreplaceable part of the holidays and is often enjoyed with friends and family. If you are pregnant during this time you might want to be careful before drinking eggnog because eggnog contains eggs and alcohol, and eggnog lattes can both be dangerous for you and your baby. This does not mean you have to give up the drink completely just because you are pregnant. There are many ways to reduce the risks of eggnog that can threaten you and your baby’s health.
One of the main risks when having eggnog while pregnant is the risk of salmonella. Salmonella has many undesirable effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, muscle pain, headaches, nausea and blood in feces. While all these can be extremely unpleasant, salmonella can even be fatal for a pregnant woman and her child since it puts them both at a risk of meningitis. If you consume an egg that is infected with salmonella bacteria, you will get infected. One of the most common foods that contain bacteria are raw and under-cooked eggs or any product made with using such eggs. Eggnog is usually made from raw eggs.
Eggnog also contains alcohol. Usually eggnog is made using a strong alcohol such as bourbon, brandy, rum or even a mixture of them. When you are pregnant, the alcohol is able to pass through your placenta to the fetus. Excessive drinking can cause the baby to develop FASD or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which causes physical, mental and neural birth defects that are lifelong. The more you drink the more chances there are of your baby developing FASD. There is no specific amount that can be considered dangerous, so pregnant women are told to just avoid alcohol in general.
It is important to remember that even though eggnog contains alcohol this does not mean that salmonella is not present. If the drink has been made from contaminated eggs then the alcohol will not be able to kill all the bacteria.
One popular variation of the drink is an eggnog latte. This is eggnog made with coffee. Pregnant women are told to refrain from consuming caffeine which is a major ingredient of coffee, because caffeine is diuretic and a stimulant. Caffeine makes your blood pressure higher and speeds up your heart rate, both of which can be dangerous during pregnancy and can even cause dehydration. A fetus’ body is still developing and cannot break down caffeine which can pass through the placenta to the baby. No matter the amount, caffeine causes issues with your baby’s sleep and movement when it is in the womb. Studies on animals have also shown caffeine to cause birth defects, premature labor as well as increasing the risk of the baby having low birth weight. This is why when having an eggnog latte when you are pregnant you must first inquire for the amount of espresso in it to make sure that it is a safe amount. You may consult your doctor or midwife to guide you on how much is safe for you
You can drink eggnog while pregnant but some safety measures need to be taken and there are some things you should be cautious of . You must ensure that the eggnog is made from pasteurized eggs and does not contain alcohol. Pasteurization is a process in which the eggs are heated at a low temperature which destroys any salmonella bacteria that may be present in the eggs. The eggnog that is sold in retail is made from pasteurized eggs and is safe to consume. If you are having eggnog in a restaurant or made at home by someone, check to make sure that the eggs are pasteurized. If you are making it yourself, make sure the eggs you use are pasteurized. If you buy eggs from the grocery store check the carton to see if the eggs are pasteurized and if you buy them from a farmer’s market then check if the eggs are chilled and pasteurized. You must keep the eggs refrigerated until you need to use them. To stay on the safe side it is best to make eggnog that is not only made from pasteurized eggs but also cooked eggs.
You can find recipes for eggnog made from cooked eggs online. However, even if you cant find a suitable one then it is pretty easy. Start by combining the eggs and half of the milk you need. After this you may add any other ingredients such as sugar into the mixture. Then you have to set the mixture on the stove and heat it until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit and stir it constantly. If you cook it at this temperature then the salmonella bacteria will be killed. You can check the temperature using a clean food thermometer. After it is done cooking you can take the mixture off the stove and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Any additional ingredients can be added later on.
If you have already consumed eggnog and fear that it is making you sick, then contact the doctor immediately. If you have a salmonella infection then you may need to take antibiotics or intravenous fluids if you are dehydrated.