Here’s What Experts Say About Charcuterie During Pregnancy
Can pregnant folks enjoy these delicious and beautiful spreads or are they also on the long "no" list?
This past year I’ve really gotten into charcuterie boards. I know I’m probably late to the game, but it never occurred to me how slices of deli meat and a wide variety of cheeses on a board with some fruit, nuts, and bread or crackers, is the perfect meal. It’s filling, delicious, and fun to make and eat. Plus, aren’t they so pretty to look at? But I am so glad I wasn’t pregnant when I had my newfound love for charcuterie boards, because I know I would be craving them 24/7. While some charcuterie boards are safe to eat during pregnancy, some require a closer look to make sure the cheeses and meats available aren’t going to make you or your baby sick.
Can You Eat Charcuterie When Pregnant?
Mindy Cockeram, a certified childbirth and breastfeeding educator, tells Romper that safe is a subjective word when it comes to eating charcuterie while pregnant. “Charcuterie and soft cheeses are completely safe if they do not contain listeria monocytogenes bacterium,” she says. However, she adds that we have no way of knowing this ahead of eating them, so pregnant women are advised to steer clear.
“Listeria is more commonly found in unpasteurized cheeses and deli or luncheon meats,” she says. Which is the definition of a charcuterie board, unfortunately. “The CDC also purports that pregnant women are 10 times more susceptible — Hispanic women 24 times more susceptible — to listeria infection and that one in six reported cases of listeriosis are from pregnant women. Listeriosis can cause a number of serious complications including stillbirth,” Cockeram says.
Additionally, OB-GYN Kim Langdon says to avoid all soft cheeses, like brie, and veined and marbled cheeses, since they’re unpasteurized. She also says to avoid pâtés.
However, Langdon says that dried fruits, nuts, and hard cheeses are fine to eat while pregnant. Cockeram adds that if you still want to have some deli meats to go with your dried fruits, nuts, and hard cheeses to make it a pregnancy-safe charcuterie board, just heat all your deli meats to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before tossing them onto the board.
Kim from The Cheers Experience blog includes an itemized grocery list for her “Baby on (Cheese) Board” recipe, including manchego, cheddar, marinated mozzarella balls, aged gouda, blackberries, apples, blueberries, grapes, apricots, cranberries, figs, almonds, pickled veggies, olives, cheese straws, crackers, or a baguette, grainy mustard and flavored honey, and dark chocolate.
She also offers some pregnancy-safe charcuterie pairings including manchego and grainy mustard; gouda and smoked almonds; cheddar, apples, and wildflower honey; whipped ricotta and berries; and cheddar and dark chocolate.
So while real charcuterie on its own isn’t pregnancy-safe, there are a lot of fun ways to enjoy charcuterie during pregnancy, whether that means heating up the meats, or just sticking to dried nuts, fruits, and hard cheeses for your board. Perhaps have someone bring you a massive charcuterie board as soon as you give birth so that can be your first meal.