What cheeses can you eat during pregnancy?

Expecting a baby often leads to unexpected taste cravings. Due to the hormonal upheaval experienced by a pregnant woman, cravings, whether nocturnal or not, are common. What about eating cheese, especially Parmesan? We shop around for cheeses that do not present a risk of bacterial contamination and that can be safely consumed during pregnancy.

It's official, you are pregnant. Like many women who go through this every day in the world, you have food cravings at all times of the day. More greedy than usual since you have two mouths to feed, you sometimes have a lot of sudden food cravings. While some women love strawberries, chocolate or even burgers during the nine months of pregnancy, others cannot do without cheese. Good thing, it's an important source of calcium. In addition, a pregnant woman should ideally consume three dairy products per day. As a reminder, pregnant women have a weaker immune system than before, so before going shopping, you must check which cheeses are allowed during pregnancy because some cheeses are not recommended at all if you are having a baby and may even be dangerous for the fetus.

The risks can be caused by the listeria bacteria, which is present in many cheeses, especially those made with raw milk, but also soft cheeses with a bloomy rind, as well as blue-veined cheeses. You must therefore learn to read cheese labels to choose those that do not represent any risk. Explanations to help you eat a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy and avoid endangering your child's health.

Cheeses "forbidden" for pregnant women

Of course, eating cheese is a way to get calcium and protein intake, which helps build fetal muscles, bones, hair and nails, but sometimes you need to be vigilant. While cheese is useful for breastfeeding, it should not be consumed in any form during pregnancy. There are dietary rules to follow to take a minimum of risk for the baby. Raw milk cheeses must indeed be banned of feeding a pregnant woman. These may contain bacteria and there is a risk of contamination. Soft cheeses with a bloomy rind are also to be forgotten during pregnancy. We are talking about camembert, brie or coulommiers. These so-called "wet" cheeses can cause bacterial contaminations likely to affect the fetus.

Finally, blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Bleu D'Auvergne should not be consumed by pregnant women either. The reason is simple, since they contain listeria (a bacteria that is cold-resistant and can multiply easily), which can lead to severe infection with listeriosis. This is a disease that can have dramatic consequences for the fetus, cause premature delivery, severe respiratory or neurological infection, or sepsis. Above all, not eating these cheeses is a preventive measure, as it is rare for a pregnant woman to become ill after eating too much cheese. Only 50 cases per year are listed.

However, it is useful to know that listeriosis causes the following symptoms during pregnancy (which resemble those of the flu): moderate isolated fever or digestive problems. These appear several weeks after eating the cheese in question, promoting the proliferation of bacteria and especially listeria.

What about Parmesan?

Phew, Parmesan is one of the authorized cheeses. It is a hard cheese and made with pasteurized milk. You can sprinkle it over your pasta without any problem.

Cheeses allowed during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, it is better to give preference to hard cheeses or even cheeses made from pasteurized milk. Hard cheeses that contain unpasteurized milk can also be eaten with confidence while carrying your baby. Rest assured, during pregnancy, you can easily indulge yourself by introducing Emmental shavings, slices of gouda, pieces of Parmesan or cheddar cheese into your diet. (We can also include Comté, edam, pecorino, provolone and manchego). Emmental and Gruyère, which are therefore cooked cheeses, are very fatty. 100 grams equals 400 calories. A serving of 30 grams per day of these cheeses is enough to meet your needs.

Regarding soft cheeses, it is possible to eat them even if you are expecting a child, but they must absolutely be made from pasteurized milk. Camembert, coulommiers or even goat cheese can accompany your end of meals, if they are pasteurized, because their production at high temperature destroys any possibility of the presence of listeria. Bacteria therefore cannot survive in food. This limits the possibilities a bit, but still allows you to satisfy your day and night food cravings. So you can indulge yourself with feta, Philadelphia-type cheese spread, Apéricube-type cream cheese squares, ricotta, fresh cheese with herbs or even goat cheese without a bloomy rind … There is only one little advice to respect, namely remove the rind from the cheese before eating it.

You salivate at the idea of ​​preparing a tomato salad topped with Mozzarella ? No problem, because the majority of these spun cheese, which are made from cow or buffalo milk, are pasteurized. Same thing for ricotta and mascarpone. There is no contraindication, you can eat these cheeses as you like, it is safe for the baby. Good point also for cheese preparations which include fresh cheese, plain or with herbs, as well as industrial processed cheeses. Pregnant women can eat it without fear of bacterial contamination.

Where to buy cheese to take the least possible risk?

Either way, during your pregnancy, it is better to shop in supermarkets to buy cheese (preferably pasteurized milk). Vacuum-packed cheeses have less risk of contamination. than cut cheeses, sold at your cheese maker. Good news also for pregnant women who find it difficult to manage their gluttony. Cooked cheese is highly recommended during pregnancy (in moderation). Cheeses with a bloomy or unpasteurized rind can very well be eaten if they are well cooked and au gratin. You should know that listeria disappears thanks to a temperature of 70 ° c or even 74 ° c. The fondues and the tartiflettes are yours (but don't just melt the cheese, it must be perfectly cooked) … It's the same principle for meat, which can be eaten only if it is good. cooked to heart.

In addition, yoghurt, cottage cheese and pasteurized milk can also be introduced into the daily diet of a pregnant woman, without causing any risk to her health and that of her baby.

The summary of cheeses to put aside during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, forget about raw milk cheeses following: Brie de Meaux, Beaufort, Camembert with raw milk, Chaume, Goat, Coulommiers, Emmental with raw milk, Pont'Evêque, Crottin de Chavignol, Maroilles, Vacherin, Fribourgeois, Mont-Dore.

The blue cheese such as Fourme d'Ambert, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton should be banned during the nine months of pregnancy.

The soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk like certain goat and sheep cheeses (such as Chabichou or Valençay) should not be consumed during pregnancy either.

If you have inadvertently eaten any of these cheeses (or the rind that is not recommended during pregnancy), be careful to watch out for potential symptoms that may appear. If you have headache or fever within two months of consuming the famous cheese not recommended for pregnant women, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. Your obstetrician-gynecologist or general practitioner should give you a prescription for a blood sample. Blood tests will determine whether or not you have the famous listeria bacteria in you. To avoid bacterial contamination in the fetus, the doctor may also prescribe antibiotics. Rest assured, cases of pregnant women contaminated by a cheese that is not recommended are rare in France.

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