Pregnancy is a beautiful time in your life, but it's not flawless. Not only do you battle morning sickness, stretch marks, and hemorrhoids, but you can't even have a glass of wine to take off the edge from creating your mile-long baby registry. So many things are off limits during pregnancy like roller coasters and sushi, but do you have to give up all of your favorite things? Let's just get specific ― can you eat cheese while pregnant?
Forget lumping cheese into the dairy section, it deserves its own entire pyramid. Cheese is so versatile and lovely that the thought of cutting it out of your pregnancy diet is super disappointing. It can be used with savory dishes, it's great for sweet things like fruit, and cheese is a healthy snack packed full of calcium and protein, which are both recommended as good intake for pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
So it should be a resounding yes to eating cheese while pregnant, right? Well, not always. Not all cheeses are created equal, so there are a few things to keep in mind when indulging while you're pregnant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women should avoid any soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. The reason for the ban is because of the potential to contract a listeria infection. Listeria is a bacteria found in many contaminated foods, but especially foods made from unpasteurized milk, like your favorite soft cheeses.
The American Pregnancy Association notes that checking the label is the best thing you can do to make sure your cheese is safe. If the label says pasteurized, you're safe. But avoid blue-veined cheeses, feta, brie, goat cheese, and Mexican cheeses like queso blanco if the label doesn't say pasteurized. Semi-soft cheeses, like mozzarella, and spreads like cream cheese and cottage cheese are OK. Also, pasteurized cheese slices and your favorite hard cheeses like Swiss and cheddar are safe to consume according to Parents.
I know that passing on the feta is a bummer when you're craving a Greek salad, but contracting listeriosis is no joke. According to the federal food safety website, listeriosis can cause miscarriages, premature labor, low birth weight, and infant death. So pass on your favorite soft cheeses and keep your snacks to the harder variety for a healthy pregnancy and baby.