Is it safe to eat cheese during pregnancy?

Is it safe to eat cheese during pregnancy?

Cheese is often a food that many pregnant women are very unsure about. The good news is that lot of cheeses are absolutely fine to eat during pregnancy, so you don’t have to completely cut out your favourite after dinner vice. Cheese is also an important source of nutrients such as protein, calcium and zinc and therefore moderate intakes can help to provide you with a balanced diet during pregnancy. Of course we need to watch how much cheese we include, as cheese is a high fat food and eating too much of it could quite easily lead to excess weight.

However, during pregnancy the main culprits to watch out for when it comes to cheese are:

  • Soft mould ripened cheeses and
  • Soft blue cheeses

This is because these cheeses are more likely to contain (and have the perfect environment for) a type of bacteria called listeria. Although rare, eating listeria can have harmful effects on your growing baby. However, before you panic and throw out all the cheese in your fridge, it’s important to know that there are PLENTY of cheeses you CAN safely eat during pregnancy.

Is it safe to eat cheese during pregnancy?

Hard cheeses are fine to consume during pregnancy

Cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy include all hard cheeses such as:

  • cheddar
  • edam
  • emmental
  • parmesan and
  • stilton

Soft cheeses are also safe to eat during pregnancy too, as long as they are pasteurised, and these include:

  • cottage cheese
  • mozzarella
  • feta
  • cream cheese, including mascarpone
  • quark
  • paneer
  • ricotta
  • halloumi

What cheese should I avoid during pregnancy?

So cheeses to avoid during pregnancy really come down to just a few of those mould ripened soft cheeses such as brie, camembert and chevre.

In terms of blue soft cheeses, Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort are not recommended to be consumed during pregnancy.

However, these cheeses should be fine to eat if they have been well cooked and are hot all the way through, so make sure you check with whoever is cooking your dish.

Can I eat goats cheese during pregnancy?

Goats cheese is a little more complicated as it does depend on the type that you’re consuming. Unless you’re the world’s biggest goats cheese fan, it might be worthwhile giving goats cheese a miss during pregnancy, especially when eating out and about. However, if you do want to have goats cheese it’s recommended that you avoid a soft goats cheese called chèvre (often served in restaurants) which has a white mould ripened rind to it. Other goats cheeses without the white rind should be safe to eat and any goats cheese you have is fine if it is well cooked all the way through.

For more information see the following link which explains what the UK’s Department of Health says about consuming cheese during pregnancy.

Additionally, for more on what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy, check out my blog posts:

Nutrition During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Nutrition Page