can you eat feta cheese while pregnant ?- Pasteurized milk feta cheese is likely safe to eat because the pasteurization procedure kills any hazardous germs. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source, pregnant women should only eat feta cheese that has been prepared from pasteurized milk. Only eat cheese that has a clear label that says “produced from pasteurized milk.”
Having said that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source advises that there is always a danger for pregnant women who consume soft cheeses – even pasteurized goods might include germs if the cheese is prepared in an unclean plant.
can you eat feta cheese while pregnant ?
You may begin to worry which cheeses are off-limits for the next 9 months as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test. After all, many foods should be avoided when pregnant since they offer significant hazards to you or your kid. In general, when it comes to soft cheeses such as feta, you should avoid eating any spreadable cheese that has not been pasteurized. However, feta cheese manufactured from pasteurized milk is safe to consume.
“[Avoiding unpasteurized feta] is advised due to the risk of a bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes, which can be harmful to your unborn baby,” explains Kristie Leigh, RDN, a registered dietitian and senior manager of scientific affairs at Danone North America with over 15 years of experience in the food, beverage, and supplement industries.
Listeria food poisoning, also known as listeriosis, can be avoided in part by avoiding raw animal products. Soft cheeses are traditionally prepared from raw milk, however pasteurizing the milk eliminates the listeria danger. Listeria and other germs will be killed by the pasteurization process, which involves heating followed by rapid cooling.
Most fresh, soft cheeses in the dairy case are pasteurized, but it is always a good idea to double-check the label. If the label is unclear or you have concerns, select something alternative, such as hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan, or other dairy products such as milk and yogurt.
“Read labels carefully and avoid feta or other soft cheeses made from raw, unpasteurized milk, such as goat, brie, camembert, ricotta, and blue cheese,” Leigh says.
Every pregnancy is unique. If you have any concerns about eating feta cheese while pregnant, speak with a healthcare specialist about your specific situation.
Is it safe for the baby?
Only pasteurized feta is healthy for you and your unborn child. As previously stated, eating feta prepared with raw, unpasteurized milk puts you at risk of contracting listeria. Listeria, albeit uncommon, can have devastating repercussions for an unborn child.
This infection can lead to miscarriage, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. It can potentially result in preterm labor, low birth weight, baby death, or major developmental issues.
Feta Cheese Advantages During Pregnancy
Cheese is one of the most typical pregnancy cravings, owing to its numerous health advantages. In reality, there are several major health benefits of eating cheese, including calcium, protein, and even vitamin D. Here is a deeper look at these advantages.
Calcium is one of the most vital minerals for both you and your baby during pregnancy. Calcium plays an important function in the development of strong bones and teeth. During pregnancy, your baby will take what they require for growth and development, so make sure you consume enough to maintain your own bones strong as well. Keep in mind that your body cannot produce calcium on its own, thus it is vital to take calcium-rich meals such as feta cheese or other calcium-rich foods.
“[Make sure] you’re getting enough dairy foods—three servings a day—which are important for your baby’s growing bones and good growth,” says Leigh.
Protein consumption during pregnancy promotes fetal growth and brain development. Protein is also required for tissue development and blood volume increase. Feta is a rich source of protein, with 1 ounce having roughly 4 grams.You need around 60 grams of protein each day when pregnant, so aim to consume meals that include meat, tofu, eggs, or beans to meet that need.
Consuming feta cheese is a fantastic method to acquire some of the vitamin D you require while pregnant. Vitamin D is required for normal prenatal development. In fact, a lack of vitamin D has been linked to a slew of issues for both mothers and newborns. Preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature labor, low birth weight, and childhood asthma are among the most serious complications.
Consult your doctor about how much vitamin D you require. The standard prescription is 400-600 IU, which is commonly given in the form of a prenatal vitamin.If you are severely lacking in vitamin D, your doctor may advise you to supplement.
Precautions for Safety
- If you are pregnant, you should avoid soft, unpasteurized cheeses. Consuming raw animal products always puts you at risk for listeriosis, a potentially fatal infection for your unborn child.
- You may have chills, disorientation, diarrhea, fever, headache, muscular pains, or even loss of balance if you contract listeriosis. In certain circumstances, you may have no symptoms at all. When this occurs, you may unwittingly transmit the virus to your kid.
- Listeriosis is far more dangerous to a developing newborn than it is to an adult. Indeed, there is a danger of fetal or newborn mortality immediately after birth.
- Babies with listeriosis are also more likely to be born preterm or with low birth weight.
- For these reasons, it is critical to avoid raw animal products such as unpasteurized feta while pregnant.
The dangers of eating feta cheese
- The biggest concern of eating feta cheese, or any soft cheese, during pregnancy is that it contains a dangerous form of bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes, which may be extremely hazardous to your unborn baby.
- Listeria monocytogenes is frequently found in meals manufactured from animal products such as dairy and meat, as well as crops cultivated in contaminated soil, such as celery. It can also be present in meat products such as cold cuts and hot dogs.
- Many animals may carry the bacteria without becoming ill, so farmers are unaware they have it. Animal products, such as cheese from a cow, will also contain the bacterium.
- It’s also a cunning bacteria. It actually thrives at refrigeration temperatures, therefore refrigerating items containing Listeria will not prevent the bacterium from proliferating.
- Cheese may seem and smell normal in the presence of germs, so you’d have no way of knowing whether the bacterium is there. You might not notice anything was wrong after eating a soft cheese harboring the bacterium, either.
- It will not necessarily make everyone sick who consumes it, but Listeria is especially dangerous to pregnant women, persons over the age of 65, and those with weak immune systems.
- According to the CDC, Hispanic women who are pregnant have a 24 times higher chance of contracting Listeria, so it’s crucial to be aware of your risk before eating any soft cheese.
What exactly is listeriosis?
Eating Listeria-contaminated food can result in listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Listeriosis is extremely deadly on its own; according to the CDC, it is the third largest cause of death from a foodborne infection.
It is, however, extremely harmful in pregnant women. Listeriosis can result in miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy. It can also lead to preterm birth later in pregnancy, which increases the risk of prematurity and possibly death if the baby is born too soon.
The bacterium can also affect the newborn. This can result in the infant developing:
- Disorders of development
- Disorders of the brain
- heart problems
- renal problems
It can also cause blood infections and meningitis, a brain infection. It has also been connected to stillbirths.
Again, determining whether or not you have listeriosis can be tricky. In pregnant women, it produces very minor symptoms. Typical symptoms include:
Pregnant women who consume soft cheeses or other foods containing Listeria should be mindful of the signs and symptoms of preterm labor or stillbirth. Among these indicators are:
- cramping or contractions
- any kind of discharge or bleeding
- having a “odd” sensation
- not sensing the baby’s movement
Is feta cheese safe to eat when pregnant?
Yes, feta cheese is safe if it has been pasteurized.
The problem with feta cheese is caused by a bacterium known as listeria. This can result in listeriosis, a serious form of food poisoning. Listeriosis is quite uncommon. Every year, only around 1,600 instances are reported across the United States, yet they can result in hospitalization and, in extreme situations, death.
Listeria may wreak havoc on persons with weakened immune systems, such as the very young, the very elderly, and the immunocompromised. Unfortunately, as a mama-to-be, you too fall into this group because your immune system is weakened during pregnancy to prevent your body from fighting your little peanut.
Most listeria outbreaks may be traced back to deli meats, unclean veggies, or soft unpasteurized cheeses. In certain circumstances, this may contain feta.
However, because to the miracles of pasteurization (kudos to Mr. Pasteur), most soft cheeses available in shops and restaurants today — including that delightful feta — have been safely cleansed of listeria, so they don’t have to be entirely off your menu. It’s simply a matter of being attentive.
So, can feta cause miscarriage?
The consumption of feta cheese will not result in a miscarriage. The concern is not the feta cheese itself, but the listeria that might be present in unpasteurized feta.
Anyone who contracts listeriosis while pregnant from unpasteurized feta cheese faces considerable dangers, one of which being miscarriage. Other issues, such as premature labor, stillbirth, or the illness being passed on to your baby, might occur if infected during the third trimester. So listeriosis is absolutely something to avoid.
The good news is that most feta is pasteurized, which means it is entirely safe to consume while pregnant.
What’s the bottom line? When eating soft cheeses, there is always a little risk. If at all possible, avoid them during pregnancy. And, if you’re going to buy feta cheese, be sure it’s made from pasteurized milk. Know the signs of listeriosis so that you can get medical attention if you acquire it.