Is It Safe to Eat Goat Cheese During Pregnancy?

Should You Consume Goat Cheese in Pregnancy?

When pregnant, you should be very careful with regards to your food choices. Certain foods can be good for your health during pregnancy, but then there are other foods which can be harmful. You will also come to know about certain food items that might be safe for consumption under certain conditions. Goat cheese is one such food item. If you love eating cheese, especially, goat cheese, you probably want to know if you can consume it now that you are pregnant. Let’s find out!

Can Pregnant Women Eat Goat Cheese?

The simple answer is ‘yes’, but there are certain types of goat cheese that should not be consumed during pregnancy. Goat cheese can be classified into types: hard version and soft version. The hard goat cheese is generally considered safe during pregnancy. The soft cheese, on the other hand, might not be recommended during pregnancy. You can distinguish between hard goat cheese and soft goat cheese by pressing your fingers into it, soft cheese will have an indent while hard cheese will remain as it. When buying goat cheese, you must check the expiry date and the type of cheese. Another important point is to note is that cooking kills all the harmful yeast and bacteria, so if you are planning to use the goat cheese as a topping for pizza or pasta which has to be heated, then you can eat it.

Types of Goat Cheese That Are Safe for Consumption During Pregnancy

The following types of goat cheese are considered safe to be consumed during pregnancy as they carry a negligible risk of food poisoning.

  • Hard goat cheese: Hard goat cheese is made from pasteurised milk and also contains a little moisture which makes it safe for pregnant women. Due to the moisture content in hard cheese, the harmful bacteria cannot thrive and hence it has very less chance of contamination. Pasteurized and unpasteurised hardbound cheese are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy.
  • Pasteurized goat cheese: Pasteurized cheese of any variety is considered safe during pregnancy, except for the ones which is ripened on the surface. The process of destroying the bacteria, yeast and mould found in raw milk is termed as pasteurization.
  • Cheese made from sheep’s milk: Varieties of cheese like feta, and halloumi, that are made from sheep’s milk are considered safe during pregnancy. This is mainly because of the way they are made. Feta cheese comes with high salt content and halloumi cheese has a semi-hard brined consistency which makes it safe for pregnancy as the bacteria contamination is less likely to happen in this variety.

Types of Goat Cheese That Are Unsafe During Pregnancy

Some varieties of goat cheese are best avoided during pregnancy as they can cause food poisoning. Avoid eating the following types of goat cheese when pregnant.

  • Soft cheese is mostly considered unsafe during pregnancy that is because it is made from raw and unpasteurized milk which have more risk of bacterial contamination.
  • White rind cheese which is a variety of soft goat’s cheese commonly known as chevre is considered unsafe during pregnancy. Chevre is a variety of goat’s cheese that is mould-ripened and is similar to brie and camembert cheese which can cause listeriosis.
  • In fact, all types of cheese with a ripened surface or mould-ripened are considered harmful during pregnancy.
  • Listeriosis is the biggest danger of eating raw milk goat cheese caused by listeria bacteria. It can cause mild flu-like symptoms along with fever and may lead to blood infection and meningitis.

Benefits of Eating Pasteurized Milk Goat Cheese While Pregnant

Eating goat cheese is not bad during pregnancy if you eat the safe goat cheese. Take a look at some of the benefits of consuming safe cheese during pregnancy that is made of pasteurised goat milk.

  • It is a rich source of dairy and excellent for strong bone formation.
  • The fat content in the goat cheese is quite different from other varieties of cheese. This fat is stored slowly by the body, so it does not cause instant weight gain.
  • Goat cheese is easier to digest as compared to other regular cheese. It can even help you deal with nausea and vomiting.
  • Goat cheese contains a significant amount of many minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, selenium, copper, and iron, which are extremely beneficial during pregnancy.
  • Goat cheese has a high protein content which is very good for developing baby.
  • It also contains many types of healthy fats like short-chain fat s and medium-chain fatty acids, monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and medium-chain triglycerides and also essential amino acids.
  • It helps maintain gut health.
  • As compared to other varieties of cheese it contains lower levels of lactose.
  • It is also rich in several antioxidants that help fight free radicals and maintain a healthy heart.

A pregnant woman adding goat cheese in her diet

Tips to Eat Goat Cheese When Pregnant

Follow these tips when eating goat cheese when pregnant:

  • You can bake or deep-fry some unsafe varieties of cheese such as brie, blue cheese, soft cheese etc., to make them safe for consumption.
  • Cheese that is added as a topping on pizza is considered safe to be consumed during pregnancy. Provided the cheese has been heated at a high point and it’s not just warm. Since pizza comes piping hot from the oven it is very safe to consume during pregnancy.
  • If you want to eat goat cheese, select the safe type of goat cheese and eat it in grilled form. You can eat a grilled cheese sandwich once in a while during pregnancy.

If you are confused about the safety of any particular cheese you wish to eat, simply heat it and it can be consumed safely!

How to Buy the Right Type of Goat Cheese for Pregnant Women

If you want to eat goat cheese during pregnancy, you must buy hard goat cheese. While going shopping in the supermarket you can check for the label whether it is safe to be consumed or not by checking the ingredients. If it says prepared from raw milk or ‘au lait cru’ then it is not safe for you to consume. However, if it says made from ‘pasteurized milk’ then you may go for it. If you buy cheese from a local cheese farmer then you can always enquire about the milk used to prepare the cheese and purchase accordingly.

A Word of Caution

In case you accidentally consume goat cheese during pregnancy, whether the safe type or unsafe, and you experience symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting or food poisoning, without delay, you must consult your midwife or doctor.

When pregnant, you must be very careful about your diet. If you wish to eat goat cheese or any other food, which is not deemed safe for pregnant women, check with your doctor or a dietician before including anything new in your diet. Make careful choices, eat well, and have a healthy and happy pregnancy!

Also Read:

Eating Ricotta Cheese in Pregnancy
Consuming Cheese during Pregnancy
Is it Safe to Eat Paneer during Pregnancy?

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.