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Pregnancy

      Can you eat cheese when pregnant?

      Summary

      Knowing which cheeses to avoid during pregnancy is vital. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can weaken the immune system and put pregnant women most at risk of developing listeriosis – a serious infection that can cause miscarriage1. That’s why you’re advised to avoid certain cheeses whilst pregnant. But you’ll be pleased to know that you can still enjoy many of your favourites throughout pregnancy. Learn more about which cheeses you should and shouldn’t eat.

      Cheeses safe for pregnancy

      The NHS recommends that all hard cheeses are safe to eat, even if they're made with unpasteurised milk. Some soft cheeses are safe to eat, too – whether cooked or not – as long as they’re not mould-ripened. 

      There are, however, a few cheeses which you should avoid during pregnancy: 

      • Mould-ripened soft cheeses such as:
        • brie
        • camembert 
        • cheese made with goats' milk
        • and others with a similar rind

      These cheeses can contain listeria bacteria which can cause an infection called listeriosis.

      If you’re not sure which cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy, see our Q&A below. We’ve answered the most common cheese-related pregnancy questions, so you can tuck into your favourite cheese, safe in the knowledge that it won’t do you or your baby any harm.

      Can you eat mozzarella when pregnant?

      Pregnant women can eat mozzarella as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat stilton when pregnant?

      During pregnancy hard blue cheeses, such as stilton, are safe to eat without cooking. However, other mould-ripened soft blue-veined cheeses should be avoided3.

      Can you eat halloumi when pregnant?

      As a semi-hard brined cheese, bacteria are less likely to survive in halloumi, making it safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat goats’ cheese when pregnant?

      Some types of goats’ cheese are fine to eat during pregnancy, as long as they’re made from pasteurised milk. However, chèvre and other soft goats’ cheese should be avoided during pregnancy as they can contain higher levels of listeria. Cooked goats’ cheese is safe to eat as cooking the cheese will kill any harmful bacteria.4

      Can you eat feta cheese when pregnant?

      Due to its high salt content, bacteria is less likely to survive in feta cheese, making it safe to eat in pregnancy as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat blue cheese when pregnant?

      The NHS recommends that pregnant women should avoid eating mould-ripened soft blue-veined cheeses as they are more likely to contain listeria.3 However, some hard blue cheeses, such as stilton are safe to eat.

      Can you eat Philadelphia when pregnant?

      You can eat Philadelphia and other cream cheeses when pregnant, as long as they’re made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat brie when pregnant?

      The NHS recommends that pregnant women avoid eating soft cheeses with white rinds. That means brie and camembert are unfortunately off the menu – unless they’ve been thoroughly cooked.3

      Can you eat cream cheese when pregnant?

      You can eat cream cheese when pregnant, as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat cooked brie when pregnant?

      Good news – it’s safe to eat brie as long as it’s thoroughly cooked. However, you should avoid raw brie throughout your pregnancy.3

      Can you eat mascarpone when pregnant?

      You can eat mascarpone when pregnant, as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Can you eat baked camembert when pregnant?

      You can eat baked camembert while pregnant as long as it’s thoroughly cooked. However, you should avoid raw camembert throughout your pregnancy.3

      Can you eat ricotta when pregnant?

      You can eat ricotta when pregnant, as long as it’s made from pasteurised milk.2

      Next steps

      • Brush up on your knowledge of safe cheeses and cheese to avoid in pregnancy.
      • Find out more about how how the right foods can boost your baby’s development on our Eating for 2 pages.
      • Read our nutrient-rich pregnancy recipes created by Chef Lorraine Pascale and Aptaclub nutritionists.

      1. NUS UK. Why can't I eat soft cheese during pregnancy? [Online]. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/why-cant-I-eat-soft-cheeses-during-pregnancy.aspx [Accessed July 2018]

      2. NHS UK. Are hard cheeses safe to eat during pregnancy? [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/are-hard-cheeses-safe-to-eat-during-pregnancy.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=216[Accessed July 2018]

      3. NHS UK. Can I eat cooked brie and blue cheese during pregnancy? [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/can-i-eat-cooked-brie-and-blue-cheese-during-pregnancy/ [Accessed July 2018]

      4. NHS UK. Is it safe to eat goats cheese during pregnancy? [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/is-it-safe-to-eat-goats-cheese-during-pregnancy/ [Accessed July 2018]

      Last reviewed: 28th June 2018

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