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Can I Eat Blue Cheese While Pregnant?
Pregnancy is a magical time in a woman’s life, characterized by many changes in the body including hormonal, metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, behavioral, and even psychological.
However, the most remarkable one for a woman’s body is the belly growing as the baby develops, which lasts for around 40 weeks.
Besides body changes, pregnancy is also marked as a period with great uncertainties, especially for first-time moms.
It is normal to wonder about what to eat, what to avoid, and many other questions that are based on the premise of protecting the developing baby.
If that was not enough, it is common for the pregnant woman to have special food cravings during this period.
For instance, have you asked yourself “Can I eat blue cheese while pregnant?” Keep on reading to discover the answer to this intriguing question and to understand if it is safe or not to eat blue cheese while pregnant.
Is it Safe to Eat Blue Cheese While Pregnant
Cheese is certainly a common food and a usual ingredient in a large variety of recipes.
Blue cheese is not an exception, it can be eaten as a snack or can be used as an ingredient in a recipe, as it provides a distinct sharp and salty flavor.
The primary ingredient to make blue cheese is milk, it can be made using milk from cows, goats, and sheep.
Its blue or greenish spots are created with spores of Penicillium – a type of fungi – which gives the cheese a distinctive smell and flavor.
Other types of bacteria are also used to produce blue cheese, which is also responsible for its distinguishing flavor. Blue cheese encompasses a variety of cheeses, Stilton, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola are among the most common types.
Jumping to the question about if it is safe or not to eat blue cheese during pregnancy, the answer is you should avoid it, and contrary to what people tend to think the reason is not that blue cheese is made using mold, as this specific mold is safe for consumption.
Why Blue Cheese Is Not Safe During Pregnancy?
The reason why pregnant women should avoid eating blue cheese is that most blue cheeses are made using unpasteurized milk, which increases the risk of it being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Pasteurization refers to a process where packaged and non-packaged milk is treated with heat in order to eliminate harmful pathogens and increase shelf life.
Listeria is one of the many pathogens that is eliminated through this process.
Although uncommon, listeriosis – the disease produced by the listeria bacteria – is a potentially deadly illness.
In addition, pregnant women are around 20 times more likely to get contaminated with Listeria bacteria when compared to non-pregnant healthy adults. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle ache.
What If I Ate Blue Cheese While Pregnant?
Do not panic! The best thing to do in this scenario is to let your doctor know and monitor for any of the symptoms of listeriosis, which include fever (above 38°C or 100°F), nausea, vomit, diarrhea, and muscle ache.
Do not hesitate to go to an emergency room if you feel any of these symptoms. You might need to take a blood test to confirm the infection and antibiotic treatment.
Cooked Blue Cheese While Pregnant – Can I Eat Blue Cheese While Pregnant
If pregnant women want to eat blue cheese the best option is to go for cooked blue cheese. Listeria monocytogenes is killed with heat treatment.
Just make sure that the cheese is thoroughly cooked and consume it while still hot.
As for blue cheese dressing, the same problem occurs. The dressing might or might not be made with pasteurized milk, as it is always better to err on the safe side, make sure that the dressing packaging states “made with pasteurized dairy” otherwise it is safer to avoid it.
And if you have eaten blue cheese dressing while pregnant, again do not panic! The same above-mentioned directions should be followed, let your doctor know and monitor for any unusual symptom.
Pasteurized Blue Cheese Brands
Another way to consume blue cheese while pregnant and being precautions at the same time is to check for the blue cheese texture and pasteurization, by following these simple hacks you can feel secure and enjoy your blue cheese with no fear.
In terms of texture, prefer hard blue cheese, as it has a lower probability to foster the listeria bacteria.
However, it is still important to check if the cheese is made from pasteurized milk. This rule also applies to other types of cheese.
The bottom line is, if you are pregnant always stick with pasteurized dairy products and if you are not sure about this, avoid eating them. Also, keep in mind to not let the pasteurized cheese get in contact with the unpasteurized cheese in order to avoid cross-contamination.
Can I Eat Blue Cheese While Pregnant Conclusion
Blue cheese is indeed a famous and delicious type of cheese. It can be either consumed as a snack or as part of a recipe or dressing.
However, can I eat blue cheese while pregnant? This question intrigues many pregnant women, and the right answer is it depends.
The safest way to consume blue cheese while pregnant is by cooking it. The blue cheese problem lies in the fact that many types of commercial blue cheese are made from unpasteurized milk, which might contain a dangerous type of bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes that can produce the listeriosis disease.
Heat treatment such as cooking or pasteurization can kill this type of bacteria, turning the cheese a safe product to be consumed by pregnant women.
The same applies to blue cheese dressing, the safest way to consume it is checking if the product is pasteurized.
In case that you have ingested blue cheese while pregnant and have not checked if it is pasteurized, do not panic. The recommendation is to observe for listeriosis symptoms, which include fever (above 38°C or 100°F), nausea, vomit, diarrhea, and muscle ache, and proceed to an emergency room if you have any of these.