Can I Eat Soft Cheese when Pregnant?

Are you searching to find if it is safe to eat soft cheese when pregnant? Confused which foods to avoid during pregnancy? Good news, I’ll go through all the different types of cheese here, and the risks. Unpasteurised and some soft cheese may contain a bacteria called Listeria. Infection with Listeria during pregnancy is extremely serious and has the potential to harm your baby. Pregnancy is a time when your body’s immune system is less active, to enable your baby to live inside you without your immune system attacking them. This is why there is a higher risk of infection during pregnancy, and why infection matters more.

All bacteria need water to survive, and so the water content of cheese also matters. This is why hard cheese, that has less available water is safer to eat, because the Listeria can’t survive.

Cheese to Enjoy During Pregnancy

All hard cheese, even those that are unpasteurised or have blue veins such as stilton, are safe. This is because they contain less water, meaning bacteria such as listeria are less likely to grow.

Some semi-soft and soft cheeses are low risk for Listeria and therefore considered safe in pregnancy. They are:

  • mozzarella
  • cottage cheese
  • feta
  • cream cheese
  • paneer
  • halloumi
  • ricotta

Any cheese that has been cooked thoroughly and is steaming hot all the way through is safe to eat, as this will kill any harmful bacteria.

Cheese to Avoid During Pregnancy

Avoid soft (except those listed above) and unpasteurised cheese in pregnancy. Cheese from farmer’s markets can sometimes be unpasteurised so it’s good practice to double check.

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If you found this information useful, check out my other articles on what to eat during pregnancy including what to eat during pregnancy.

For even more science backed information on what to eat during pregnancy, I’ve got a 44 page ebook that has all the information you need for ‘eating during pregnancy‘, also available on Kindle here.

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