Cottage Cheese and Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be difficult to navigate when it comes to food. In today’s world, women have a long list of foods that they are advised to avoid during pregnancy. Unfortunately for pregnant cheese lovers, there are several types of cheese that are not safe to eat because they are often unpasteurized. Some of these cheeses include feta, brie, goat cheese, ricotta, gorgonzola, queso (Mexican cheeses), and Roquefort. The reason to avoid these cheeses is because they may contain listeria. Listeria is a bacteria that can be found in milk that is used to make cheese. While no symptoms may be noticed, common symptoms may include fever, vomiting, disorientation, neck discomfort, and diarrhea. According to foodsafety.gov, “Pregnant women are approximately 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. In pregnant women, it is typically a mild, flu-like illness. In the child, listeriosis can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or life-long health problems. ” Yes, this information is very scary so it is vital to consult your doctor to learn which foods are unacceptable to eat while pregnant. However, we will discuss if eating cottage cheese during pregnancy is acceptable for most women.
Eating Cottage Cheese While Pregnant
Is cottage cheese safe to eat while pregnant? Most unpasteurized soft cheeses should be avoided while pregnant, but cottage cheese is an exception. Almost all cottage cheese is pasteurized and this process kills off harmful bacteria through a process of heating milk to high temperatures. This makes it safe for consumption by pregnant women. Occasionally, you may find unpasteurized cottage cheese. Since unpasteurized dairy may contain bacteria (listeria), it should be avoided while pregnant. It is important to check the label when pregnant before you buy cottage cheese or other dairy products to ensure that it is pasteurized. The label will typically contain verbiage about pasteurization, but if not, it is best to avoid the product until you are certain it is pasteurized.
Why Eat Cottage Cheese While Pregnant?
Cottage cheese is a very versatile food that can be paired with many other food combinations. It can also be eaten with any meal and substituted for less healthy cheeses, sour cream, etc. It is also an excellent food to eat while pregnant because it is full of nutrients that can help with the baby’s development. The two many benefits to eating cottage cheese while pregnant are its calcium and protein content.
One of the most important minerals to consume during pregnancy is calcium. Women actually need more calcium (at least 1,000 mg) when they are pregnant or breastfeeding than they would normally. The baby needs calcium as a building block for bone, heart, teeth, nerve, and muscle development while the mother needs it so that the baby does not draw upon her bone calcium reserves. Inadequate calcium during pregnancy can result in osteoporosis as a woman ages. Cottage cheese is a great source for calcium that can assist a soon to be mother and baby obtain their calcium needs.
Protein is also vital to developing many parts of the baby like the brain, muscles, and other cells. Women should typically consume between 70-75 grams of protein when pregnant. In comparison, a nonpregnant woman is recommended to consume about 46 grams of protein. Pregnancy is no time to slack on protein intake, especially during the final trimesters of pregnancy as development increases. Cottage cheese is a very high protein source with about 25 grams per cup. It is a superb food to obtain those extra grams of protein while pregnant.