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What cheeses should I eat during pregnancy?

You (or someone you know) are pregnant, but your love of cheese is stronger than anything? Would you like to know exactly which cheeses are safe to eat and why? 

Here’s a quick and precise answer. The cheeses that are safe to eat when you’re pregnant are : 

  • Hard cheeses; 
  • Mozzarella ; 
  • Certain soft and bloomy-rind cheeses; 
  • Fresh cheese… 

To find out more and discover all the cheeses you can eat when you’re having a baby, come and talk to the French experts at Paroles de Fromagers!

Hard cheeses

Good news, ladies! Hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan and Comté are generally safe to eat, as they are made from pasteurized milk. What’s more, they also have a low moisture content, making it difficult for bacteria potentially harmful to the fetus to grow. Parmesan pasta and gratin sprinkled with Gruyère!

Mozzarella 

Mamma mia! Here’s one of Americans’ favorite Italian cheeses: the famous mozzarella. Mozzarella is also made from 90% pasteurized milk. However, you should always check that you’re not buying fresh, unpasteurized mozzarella, which could present a risk.

Soft and bloomy rind cheeses 

Here’s some news that will delight lovers of strong cheeses! Certain soft cheeses, such as Camembert or Brie, can be eaten during pregnancy. On one condition, however: it must be made from… pasteurized milk! As you can see, this condition is a sine qua non. What’s more, bloomy-rind cheeses have an edible outer layer that protects them from undesirable bacteria.

Fresh cheese

Ricotta, one of the world’s lowest-calorie cheeses, is also one of the cheeses permitted during pregnancy. Fresh cheeses such as cream cheese and ricotta are usually made from pasteurized milk.

Why do cheeses for pregnant women need to be pasteurized?

We explained earlier that the cheeses permitted during pregnancy are pasteurized. Are you wondering why? Here’s a detailed explanation. 

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to destroy or inactivate pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts. Producers can pasteurize their milk at temperatures ranging from 63°C to around 72°C. 

During pregnancy, many bacteria can be harmful and dangerous to the baby. This is particularly true of listeria bacteria, which can lead to complications such as: 

  • miscarriage 
  • Neonatal infection; 
  • premature birth. 

This is why the cheeses recommended during pregnancy are necessarily pasteurized cheeses. Heating the milk kills any bacteria potentially harmful to fetal development.

List of the 12 most popular cheeses for pregnant women

For the greediest and most impatient among you, here’s a short list of 12 cheeses for pregnant women that you’re sure to love. A list made in Paroles de Fromagers, of course: 

  1. Comté : origin : France | Family : hard cheese 
  2. Colby : origin : USA | Family : hard cheese
  3. Cheddar: origin: England | family: hard cheese 
  4. Gruyère: origin: Switzerland | family: hard cheese
  5. Parmesan: origin: Italy | family: hard cheese
  6. Emmental : origin : Switzerland | Family : hard cheese
  7. Edam : origin : Netherlands | Family : hard cheese
  8. Gouda : origin : Netherlands | Family : hard cheese
  9. Monterey Jack: origin: USA | Family: hard cheese
  10. Mozzarella (made from pasteurized milk): Origin: Italy | Family: String cheese
  11. Goat’s cheese (made from pasteurized milk): origin: variable, many found in France | Family: soft cheese
  12. Fresh cheese  (ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese): origin: variable, produced in many countries

Our best cheese recipes for pregnant women

Well, it’s all making us hungry, isn’t it? So here are the best recipe ideas for pregnant women who love cheese – let’s get started! 

Vegetable and cheddar pie

Prepare a savory pie with shortcrust pastry, then top with vegetables of your choice (such as zucchinis, peppers and tomatoes) and slices of cheddar cheese. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted and lightly gratinated. Don’t forget salt and pepper if you want and you’re ready!

Warm goat’s cheese salad 

A great classic! Prepare a green salad with fresh vegetables, then toast slices of farmhouse bread. Add slices of goat’s cheese to the toasted bread, then place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted slightly. Arrange the slices of bread with the warm cheese on top of the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette of your choice.

Pizza margherita with mozzarella

Prepare a pizza by spreading tomato sauce on pizza dough. Top with slices of mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Bake until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Spinach and feta quiche

Prepare a quiche by mixing eggs, cream, cooked and drained spinach and diced feta cheese. Pour the mixture into a shortcrust or puff pastry, then bake until the quiche is cooked through and golden-brown.

Original idea: Crostini with ricotta and red berries

Delicately baked bread slices topped with a generous helping of ricotta, red berries, a little honey and a few mint leaves. Perfect to eat during parties and events!

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