Every woman experiences food cravings and aversions at least once during their pregnancy. Craving for a food is simply an uncontrollable urge to have a particular food. Cravings and aversions won’t stay for too long. You may crave for a food for few days and then develop an aversion after that. Don’t worry it’s quite normal.
But there are some foods to avoid during pregnancy as it cause underdevelopment to fetus’ brain and body. While other foods are considered to be quite safe and consuming it in larger portions. Many pregnant ladies are in a dilemma whether to consume cheese during pregnancy or not. Let’s go in detail about cravings for eating cheese when pregnant and its effects.
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Why Do You Crave Cheese While Pregnant?
Are you pregnant and craving for cheese very badly? This is a sign that your body requires more calcium and protein to nurture your fetus. You can easily satisfy these cravings by consuming hard cheeses and also dairy products like yoghurt and skimmed milk. Even though cheese is calcium rich, consuming large portions of cheese when pregnant will adversely affect your body through constipation as it takes more time to get digested.
How Safe is Cheese During Pregnancy?
Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and vitamin B and thus it is quite helpful in meeting the daily requirements of your unborn baby. But there are different types of cheese available in the market and all are not recommended for women in pregnancy. It is better to avoid soft cheeses as it contains microscopic organisms like listeria which can lead to listeriosis. So, eating cheese while pregnant doesn’t need to be avoided completely, but choose the right kind for a better health.
Types of Cheese in the Market
Some cheeses are made using raw and unpasteurized milk and it may contain listeria bacterium. Try to seek from which milk the cheese has been made from and then decide if it can be consumed or not.
Here are different varieties of cheese to avoid and to eat when pregnant.
I] Safe Cheese While You Are Pregnant
All hard cheeses are considered to be safe to consume during pregnant.
‣ Hard cheeses:
These kinds of cheese are quite firm in texture and have a prolonged maturation time. They are made from the milk which is pasteurized and cooked at very high temperatures which eliminate the presence of any kind of bacteria. Thus eating parmesan cheese while pregnant is quite safe and you can reach out of similar kinds to satisfy your cravings.
‣ Processed cheeses:
Processed cheeses are usually watery and have a flexible and soft texture. If it is made from the pasteurized milk, then soft cheeses can be consumed during pregnancy. Some processed cheeses are made from modified natural cheeses and it may contain emulsifiers, stabilizers and other additives. Eating processed cheese when pregnant is safe as it involves heating method to prepare.
II] Unsafe Cheese While You Are Pregnant
It is a fact that not all cheeses are safe to consume while pregnant. They include:
‣ Unpasteurized cheese:
Pasteurization helps to kills bacteria. So never purchase a cheese that is made from unpasteurized milk as it contains harmful bacteria. Eating parmesan cheese while you are pregnant is considered safe even if they are made from unpasteurized milk. This is because it has less water content, so bacteria will be less likely to develop in them.
‣ Soft cheeses which are mould-ripened:
Never purchase these types of cheese as they contain listeria and cause harmful effects to your baby. Understand the types of cheese to avoid when pregnant for a safe delivery of your baby.
Is It Safe To Eat Cheese At Night?
There is no doubt about the nutritional qualities of a cheese. But cheese are high in fat, so eating cheese for dinner while pregnant will definitely make you obese which will be difficult to have a normal labor. Also, it takes more time to get digested. Always try to have the foods which can be digested easily while you are pregnant. Otherwise it can cause heart burns, acidity, upset stomach due to indigestion.
How To Differentiate Listeriosis Causing Cheese?
Soft cheese and unpasteurized dairy products host listeria which is a type of bacteria. There is no way to find the presence bacteria found in the cheese. This is because even if the bacteria are present cheese will not taste different. Besides dairy products which are unpasteurized, bacteria will be present in raw vegetables, fruits, hot dogs and deli meats. It is also found in water and soil too. Since there is a chance of getting infected during pregnancy, eating cheese while pregnant must be selective rather than bagging without reading the manufacturing process.
How Unsafe Cheese Affects A Pregnant Woman?
If a pregnant woman gets infected by listeria, the symptoms may show up anytime from one week to eight weeks after exposure. Symptoms include fever, cold, nausea, vomiting, chills, confusion, headache etc.
Listeria infection after taking cheese during pregnancy must be treated immediately. Here are the complications that may lead to serious threats.
· The bacteria can affect amniotic fluid and placenta. This results in stillbirth or miscarriages.
· Pregnant women with listeria infection can cause bacterial meningitis.
· Infected fetus inside womb might be born prematurely, otherwise develop fever, sore skin, infections that cause damage too central nervous system.
The nine months and seven days of pregnancy goes through different types of cravings. There is no way to control the type of cravings you get when pregnant. While cheese during pregnancy might not be the safest choice always. Read the label properly and make sure there is no harm in eating cheese when pregnant. Also, you should be sure to wash hands properly after every meal, get pasteurized dairy products and if you want to eat soft cheese, cook till it is boiled completely and then consume it immediately.
Just like ‘prevention is better than cure’, try to avoid cheese craving while pregnant unless you are sure about its quality. If you find any unusual symptoms, contact your medical practitioner immediately.