How Does Eating Soft Cheese While Pregnant Affect The Baby?

When you're pregnant, the list of foods you can't eat can seem to outweigh the things you can eat. And, as frustrating as it can be, staying away from certain foods during pregnancy is usually in the best interest of both you and your baby. Soft cheese has been a no-no for pregnant women for years, but just how does eating soft cheese affect the baby? Experts say it can have some pretty serious consequences if you eat a cheese that is "at risk."

According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA,) soft cheeses are more commonly made with unpasteurized milk, which raises the risk of them becoming contaminated with listeria. A bacteria that can be found in food and soil,listeria can infect anyone, but the APA stated that pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to contract it than a non-pregnant, healthy adult.

Although Baby Center noted that almost all cheeses sold in the U.S. are made with pasteurized milk, if you're shopping at farmer's markets or anywhere that uses unpasteurized milk, it's best to steer clear.

Listeriosis in healthy adults rarely causes severe symptoms, but in pregnant women whose immune systems are already weakened, they're at greater risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, or pre-term labor, according to the Bump. Furthermore, mothers who have listeriosis during pregnancy can pass the sickness on to their baby after birth.

However, as stated before, most cheeses in large grocery stores are made with pasteurized milk, which Fit Pregnancy assures moms that there's close to no risk involved with those cheeses. So, even though your heart may be broken at the thought of giving up your greek salads or your wine and cheese platters (minus the wine, of course,) as long as you're picky about the kind of cheese you eat, listeria shouldn't ruin your cheesiest cravings.