Some soft cheeses, such as Brie and chevre, are off-limits during pregnancy because they can harbor bacteria that can make you quite ill, as well as pose a risk to your unborn baby. Havarti cheese, however, isn't one you usually have to worry about, though you should always ask your doctor what's safe to eat and what you should avoid. The cheese also supplies nutrients your baby needs to grow normally, which is one advantage to including Havarti in your pregnancy diet.
Have Some Havarti
Havarti cheese is softer than some other types of cheese, such as cheddar, but it doesn't fall into the same category as the soft cheeses you need to avoid during pregnancy. The risk with soft cheeses is that they can harbor the listeria bacteria, which can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis doesn't always cause you problems, though you might come down with flulike symptoms, according to the BabyCenter website. The infection is more much dangerous for unborn babies, however, which is why soft cheeses are off-limits. Listeriosis is rare, but it can cause miscarriage, fetal health problems and stillbirth. As far as cheeses go, Havarti is safe because it's pasteurized, a process that kills any listeria bacteria.
In addition to being safe, Havarti supplies two key nutrients that you need for a healthy pregnancy and that your baby needs for growth. One slice of Havarti cheese contains 15 percent of the minimum 1,000 milligrams of calcium you need daily during pregnancy. Calcium promotes your baby's teeth and bone development and also encourages normal muscle and nerve function, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Havarti cheese also supplies 4 or 5 grams of the 71 grams of protein you need every day. Protein is essential for the entire growth process your baby goes through in utero.
Moderation, the Name of the Game
Havarti cheese contains between 3.5 and 4.5 grams of saturated fat per slice, which is between 17 percent and 23 percent of your daily saturated fat limit. While some fat is essential because it promotes normal development and proper nutrient absorption, too much fat can contribute to excess weight gain beyond what you need to support a healthy pregnancy. A slice of Havarti cheese also contains 135 milligrams of sodium, which is 6 percent of your daily limit. Too much sodium won't necessarily negatively affect your pregnancy, according to the BabyCenter website, but eating too much, whether you're pregnant or not, can increase your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Your Pregnancy Diet
Reap the nutritional benefits of Havarti cheese by adding a slice to a sandwich or by rolling the cheese around a piece of grilled chicken breast for a tasty, protein-packed snack. Shred Havarti cheese over minestrone soup or a bowl of chili for a slightly different taste and creamier texture than cheddar or mozzarella cheese. A slice at a time is probably enough. If you're having a tough time limiting yourself to just one slice, look for reduced-fat and reduced-sodium options, which are available at some supermarkets and health food stores.