Ask a pregnancy nutritionist : Can I eat cheese during pregnancy?
This is the first in a series of posts around the theme of 'Ask a Pregnancy Nutritionist', covering some of the top questions that I get asked on a regular basis on social media and by clients.
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Pregnancy nutritionist or not, if you’re anything like me, cheese is a pretty big part of your life.
Goats cheese on a pizza.
Halloumi on the barbecue.
Paneer in a curry.
Baked Camembert at Christmas.
Is there any meal that isn’t improved by a good sprinkling of mature cheddar?
One of the first most common questions clients ask a pregnancy nutritionist is ’do I have to stop eating cheese?‘ or ‘which cheese am I allowed to eat during pregnancy?’
Sometimes it’s more of a plea
please let me continue eating cheese, I’ve already stopped drinking wine!
Cheese and a healthy pregnancy
As a non-diet pregnancy nutritionist, I don’t give people strict pregnancy diets to follow. Some guidelines recommend switching to low fat dairy and cheese when pregnant, but if that ruins the enjoyment of it for you, then my view is don’t bother.
We have to enjoy the food we eat, especially during pregnancy.
Some women may find that cheese and other dairy products can affect heartburn or their digestive system slightly differently when they’re pregnant. If that’s the case then you may want to cut back.
But cheese can absolutely be part of a healthy diet for pregnancy. In fact, dairy-based cheeses are a source of vitamin A, iodine, calcium, protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin B2 - all super helpful for you and your growing baby.
What cheese should you avoid during pregnancy?
Thankfully there are only a few cheese that are specified as foods to avoid during pregnancy. These are:
- mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating (Brie, camembert)
- soft blue cheeses (Gorgonzola, Roquefor)
- any cheese made from unpasteurised milk (soft goats cheese and some feta)
Check out my blog on some of the other foods to avoid during pregnancy
Why should you avoid cheese during pregnancy?
It’s recommended to avoid these during pregnancy as they are more likely to contain bacteria that could cause listeriosis.
Listeriosis is a rare infection that can cause severe harm to your baby.
In fact, some sources suggest that cases of listeriosis are 20 times more likely in pregnant women than someone else in the population.
Pregnancy nutritionist-approved cheeses for pregnant women
Whilst that might not have been the news you were hoping for, there are plenty of cheeses that you can enjoy.
Any hard cheese is fine during pregnancy, as the level of moisture is too low for bacteria to grow.
You can also enjoy any cheeses that have been pasteurised. You might need to start reading labels a bit more closely, and this is where working with a pregnancy nutritionist can really come in useful!
And to make things even better you can actually enjoy some unpasteurised and soft cheeses as part of a healthy pregnancy diet!
As long as they’ve been cooked thoroughly until they are steaming hot, cheeses such as Brie and goat's cheese can stay on the menu. So get creative about how you use them in your cooking.
How a pregnancy nutritionist can help you have a healthy pregnancy
If you are feeling worried about keeping you and your baby safe when it comes to eating cheese during your pregnancy, or the thought of ordering the right option from a restaurant makes you nervous then working with a pregnancy nutritionist could be for you.
Find out why I love working as a pregnancy nutritionist
I take the guesswork out of choosing the right foods and help you feel happy about the food choices you are making. Plus you have me on hand to ask a pregnancy nutritionist all the questions you have throughout the 9 months.
I work with what’s important to you for your pregnancy and will support you to find a way to be confident and enjoy the foods you eat. Your diet during pregnancy shouldn’t have to be restrictive and boring!
Pregnancy is a short window of time, so to get started working with me, get in touch at email@example.com or fill out the form here and I’ll get back to you.