Pregnancy is a time in which you want to make sure you are having all of your nutritional needs met. Adding some cheeses to your pregnancy diet will help you consume the vitamins, minerals, protein and calcium that your baby needs to grow. There are certain cheeses that you should avoid while pregnant because they are often made with unpasteurized milk, which increases your risk of food-borne illness such as listeria, report Hope Ricciotti and Vincent Connelly, authors of "The Pregnancy Cookbook." Reading the label will help you ascertain whether the cheese is made with pasteurized milk or not. Keep in mind that cheese is high in fat, and should be consumed sparingly.
Brie cheese is one of the most common soft cheeses and is often eaten with crackers or spread on toast. Many types of brie cheese are made with unpasteurized milk, which does not kill dangerous bacteria that could make you or your baby sick, report Dani Rasmussen and Antoinette Perez, authors of "The Essential Pregnancy Organizer: 40 Weeks +." Eating contaminated brie cheese can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or potentially fatal infections in a newborn baby. Cream cheese is an alternative that can be eaten with many of the same foods you enjoy with brie. Cream cheese is pasteurized and is considered safe to eat while pregnant.
Blue cheese is another common soft cheese that is often added to salads or sprinkled on meat dishes. Unpasteurized milk is one of the main ingredients in many kinds of blue cheese, which increases your risk of passing a dangerous illness on to your baby, note Ricciotti and Connelly. Pass on the blue cheese crumbles and opt for shredded hard cheeses, such as cheddar, mozzarella or Monterrey jack, because they are made with pasteurized milk and are safe to eat while pregnant. Feta cheese is a similar cheese and is often used in place of brie, but Ricciotti and Connelly caution against eating feta cheese as well because it too is often made with unpasteurized milk.
Many Mexican soft cheeses, such as queso fresco, are made using unpasteurized milk, note Rasmussen and Perez. Many popular Mexican dishes include queso fresco so it is important to ask restaurants about the ingredients in the plate you order if you eat out. Unpasteurized queso fresco can lead to listeria, which is life-threatening for unborn babies. Ricciotti and Connelly suggest ordering the cheese heated until bubbly, because this will kill the germs that could make you and your baby sick. You can also substitute safe cheeses, such as cheddar, Colby or pepper jack, in place of queso fresco. Other soft Mexican cheeses that should be avoided include queso blanco, queso de hoja, queso de crema and asadero varieties.
- "The Pregnancy Cookbook"; Hope Ricciotti and Vincent Connelly; 2002
- "The Essential Pregnancy Organizer: 40 Weeks +"; Dani Rasmussen and Antoinette Perez; 2008