Soft cheese can be a difficult thing for many mothers to give up during pregnancy. Especially if their Friday night ritual involves a get together and cheese snacks with the girls.
Cheese is a great source of essential nutrients for pregnant women, but certain kinds can be dangerous for an unborn baby. Cheese will supply you and your baby with necessary calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B12. Bone growth and tooth formation are just some of the benefits. But it needs to be the right kind of cheese to be safe.
The problem with soft cheese during pregnancy
Soft cheeses are considered too risky for pregnant women and you should avoid them. Even those made with pasteurized milk. This is because during the manufacturing process, soft cheeses may be exposed to and contaminated by a dangerous bacterium called listeria.
Listeria can cause a rare but dangerous infection called listeriosis. This infection can be especially serious for pregnant women if it is transmitted to their unborn baby. It can unfortunately lead to complications including, blood poisoning, miscarriage, premature labor, or stillbirth. Pregnant women are more at risk from listeria because hormonal changes lower their immunity.
You should avoid these types of cheese and foods during pregnancy:
- Blue-veined cheese
- Danish Blue
- Cottage Cheese
- Any cheese made from un-pasteurised milk
- Soft serve ice cream
It’s important to avoid other types of food that may be at high risk of contamination with listeria. Processed, ready-to-eat luncheon meats, salads and chilled or cold-smoked seafood are the most risky types of food.
Some common examples include:
- Processed chicken and turkey
- Pâté and other meat spreads
- Pre-made and refrigerated salads
- Pre-cut fruit salads
- Seed sprouts
- Cooked and chilled prawns
- Smoked salmon or trout
- Smoked oysters
- Chilled crab meat
- Pre-prepared sushi
- Raw fish, including sashimi and salmon
- Fresh oysters
- Raw eggs
- Unpasteurized milk and dairy products
Cheese that is safe to eat during pregnancy
All types of hard cheese are mostly considered safe to eat during pregnancy. The levels of listeria found present in hard cheeses are extremely low and are therefore not considered a risk for pregnant women.
Some of the hard cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy include:
- Cooked haloumi
- Pecorino (hard)
Enjoy the above cheeses as a snack with whole-grain crackers or fresh fruit; grated and sprinkled over soups and salads or in a sandwich or omelet.
Soft cheese also becomes safe to eat when it is fully cooked. So, products made with soft cheeses that are fully cooked, like pizza or baked cheese, are safe to eat when you are pregnant.
Cooking food at risk of contamination with listeria kills off the bacteria and makes it safe to eat. To ensure all the bacteria have been killed in the cooking process, make sure that any cheese is cooked until it's steaming hot the entire way through.
Soft cheese that is warm and just melted could still contain listeria and harm your unborn baby.
It is also important to wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. And be careful too about kitchen hygiene.
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The information published herein is intended and strictly only for informational, educational, purposes and the same shall not be misconstrued as medical advice. If you are worried about your own health, or your child’s well being, seek immediate medical advice. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website. Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries assumes no liability for the interpretation and/or use of the information contained in this article. Further, while due care and caution has been taken to ensure that the content here is free from mistakes or omissions, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information here, and to the extent permitted by law, Kimberly-Clark and/ or its subsidiaries do not accept any liability or responsibility for claims, errors or omissions.