May your holiday be filled with love and joy … just not in the form of eggnog. That mix of milk, sugar, raw eggs, spices, and alcohol does NOT mix well with pregnancy.
Pregnant women should avoid eggnog for a few reasons:
1. Let’s not kid ourselves here: it’s usually gross. If you need a more scientific reason, see below.
2. Eggnog is usually made with raw eggs. The whisking of the eggs is what gives it that frothy texture. Consuming raw eggs can expose you to Salmonella, a type of food poisoning. Anyone ingesting raw eggs can get Salmonella, but pregnant women are especially sensitive, and can be more severely affected. Pasteurizing the eggs decreases this risk (most restaurants should be using pasteurized eggs, but home made eggnog probably doesn’t).
3. Traditionally, eggnog has been made from raw, unpasteurized milk. You should avoid unpasteurized dairy during pregnancy to avoid food exposure to a bacteria called Listeria. Pregnant women can get very sick with Listeria (if untreated, it can progress to maternal or fetal death). This sounds very alarmist, I understand, but it’s not an exaggeration.
4. What is eggnog without the brandy / rum / whiskey? Eggnog usually contains alcohol. I’ve said this before, but let me reiterate here: the occasional alcoholic drink during pregnancy is probably okay. Anecdotally, I know kids that have turned out fine. With exposure to alcohol in utero, however, the fetus can develop fetal alcohol syndrome. The most recent science suggests the amount of alcohol needed to adversely affect the fetus varies per person, and per fetus. This makes it impossible to give an amount that is safe to drink during pregnancy. My advice is to avoid it altogether. The risk just isn’t worth it.
My (obvious) bottom line: if you’re pregnant, enjoy your holiday feast sans eggnog. Let ol’ Aunt Betty drink to her heart’s content, and enjoy the spectacle that brings instead.
Here’s how we do snowmen in LA:
From Emmerson Troop store front on Beverly. They always have original (sometimes disturbing) holiday windows.
Source: Centers for Disease Control website. www. cdc.gov
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