Raw eggs and pregnancy: is it all what it’s cracked up to be?


At first I didn’t think anyone would care much about raw eggs. I mean, who really eats them that often except maybe Mr. Olympia wannabes?

Then a reader pointed out that cookie dough would have raw eggs in it. Sweet hammer of Thor, this one had to be addressed immediately! Raw eggs are in everything wonderful – brownie mix, caesar salad (sometimes), homemade mayonnaise (if you’re Martha Stewart) and cookie dough.

So Salmonella is the potential bacteria here.

Salmonella bacteria is everywhere and it spreads easily. The bacteria can be found in the intestinal tracts of animals, birds, reptiles, insects and people. While the egg itself may not be contaminated when you buy it, it can become contaminated from improper handling with unclean hands, pets, other foods and kitchen equipment.

If you eat an egg containing salmonella, you may experience abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever and/or headache within 6 to 72 hours after consuming it. You’re usually over it within 4 to 7 days and while it doesn’t affect your baby directly, there is a very low chance that it can escalate into sepsis which can affect your baby. Dehydration is the bigger concern so keep watch for that if you have a prolonged assplosion going on.

Scientists estimate that, on average across the U.S., only 1 of every 20,000 eggs might contain the bacteria so, if you’re an average consumer, you might encounter a contaminated egg once every 84 years. Furthermore, in the U.S., eggshells are washed and sanitized to remove possible hazards that could be deposited on the outside of an egg.

There are over 2,500 known types, but the three most common ones are Typhimurium, Enteritidis, and Typhi.  From what I can gather, the samonella that affects eggs is Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium. Salmonella typhi (from the folks that brought you Salmonella enterica enterica and Darryl and his other brother Darryl) is the type that causes typhoid fever and it’s relatively uncommon in developed countries.

Confusing, non?

Dear Science Nerds, OPI comes up with names for every single one of their nail polishes so maybe you could come up with a better distinction between a bacteria that give you the trots for two days and something that can kill you? Just sayin’.

As for our beloved cookie dough, it seems unlikely that you would come across a contaminated egg and it doesn’t sound like it’s all that awful if you did. Once again, I’m sure somebody somewhere has some horror story about an egg “incident” but I’m sure there’s somebody somewhere that knows somebody that died from a paper cut – perhaps from the cutalingus cutalingus bacteria. *snort*

search: raw eggs salmonella, raw egg dangers, salmonella pregnancy, s. typhimurium, s. enteritidis

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  • Oh thank sweet baby Jesus. I LOVE me a runny yolk, and I’ve been dejectedly ordering them over hard or scrambled and feeling like a fool and being pissed off because my eggs suck. Thank you for your service to the world! And sanity. And swearing. I love this blog, and I hated WTEYE because it was like "we don’t really know and can’t be bothered to research if this is a real danger, but you wouldn’t want to risk it, and it’s only nine months, and if you do risk it, well, you’re a bad mother, and did you see our miscarriage section, bad mother?"

  • [email protected] says:

    Evidently chickens in some countries (the UK and New Zealand) have to be immunised against salmonella in order to produce eggs for commercial use. This means the risk in these countries is very low indeed and probably not something to worry about. Just an extra tidbit to add to the mix…

  • Actually, Salmonella does come from the inside of the egg. Hens that are exposed to the bacteria from the environment (dirt, water, feces, feed..) can then become carriers for the bacteria and they shed it into their eggs.

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