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Experts Corner

Nutrition / Children's Health

Safe Cheeses During Pregnancy
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD

Jennifer FrancisQ. Is it safe to eat cheese during the first trimester? I have heard that it contains a bacteria that can be harmful. Can you list the cheeses that need to be avoided?

A. Most kinds of cheese are safe, but there are a few kinds you should stay away from during pregnancy. These include soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, roquefort and other blue cheeses, fresh cheeses like Mexican Queso Blanco and unpasteurized cheese. Regular hard cheeses like cheddar, swiss, parmesean, romano, and American cheese are fine and regular cream cheese is too.

The reason is that soft and unpasteurized cheeses can be contaminated with Lysteria monocytogenes bacteria which can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta. This can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or serious health problems for the newborn.


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