Can Pregnant Women Eat Feta Cheese?

Pregnant woman and feta cheese

Can Feta or other soft cheeses be harmful to you and your unborn baby? That’s today’s question, and for all the pregnant women out there, here are a couple of answers that we found on the topic. Health and safety should be your primary concern while buying food, and if you add a baby to the mix, health should probably be your only concern.

So why is Feta a suspect, of all the cheeses? Why not Cheddar or Parmesan? Should you eat any cheese while pregnant? There are many questions that we want to be answered, and we will get answers. But before we do, a piece of advice:

Consult your doctor about any or all dietary questions you might have, what to eat, what not to eat, and what to avoid. We will try and gather some information for you, but your doctor should be the only one who’s helping you decide what you do with your body at the end of the day. With that out of the way, let’s dive in. 

Soft And Fresh vs Aged 

Feta is a soft, fresh cheese, unlike say, cheddar or parmesan. What this means is that it, like any other fresh cheese, could contain a harmful bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes that could potentially be a danger for you or your baby. But don’t worry, if the cheese you’re eating is made of pasteurized milk, the very process of pasteurizing will kill any bacteria that could be dangerous. 

So what should you do if you have a craving for some Feta cheese but are afraid to risk any health issues? 

Which Kind of Feta Is Safe?

You need some Feta cheese. We get it. It’s a classic and refreshing taste that goes well with anything you throw at it. But you have concerns about it and don’t feel bad if you want to still find a way to get some fresh cheese in the diet.

Like we said already, a process called pasteurization in milk-making where before packing it, the milk is heated to mild heat (usually under 100° c.) so it can kill any pathogens and extend its shelf life. Both things that we’re looking for in this situation. So make sure to find Feta cheese that is made from pasteurized milk. While you’re at it, make sure all the dairy products are pasteurized, but just to be sure we’ve warned you enough, avoiding soft cheeses is your safest bet while pregnant. 

The Possible Dangers

Eating Feta cheese that contains Listeria monocytogenes can be quite dangerous, especially for pregnant women and people over 65 years of age. So what are these annoying bacteria?

Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen that can be found in many foods that are made from animal products. The animal carrying it could have no symptoms, which means the farmers would be clueless to its presence until it was too late.  

This bacteria can cause many illnesses, which is why it is the third leading cause of death for all foodborne diseases.

If consumed by a person who is carrying a child, it can cause serious problems in the first trimester and later on in pregnancy. 

Miscarriages and premature births are the most common risks during pregnancies, but the unborn baby could be endangered as well! 

The Risks for The Baby

If your unborn child is infected, it could develop serious health problems that you would find out about when it’s already too late. It could develop seizures, blindness, brain disorders, heart issues, developmental problems, or paralysis. 

Now, this could all be scary, but it is important to know all the dangers that come with this certain bacteria. Don’t worry too much if you have eaten some sort of soft cheeses that you weren’t sure were safe. Just get in contact with a professional and they will explain the rest. 

How to Know if You are Infected?

This could be easier said than done. The symptoms of a Listeria infection are quite mild in pregnant women and could go easily unnoticed. They usually include a fever, chills, a headache and malaise. If you have eaten soft cheese while pregnant and are worried about being infected by a bacteria consult your doctor. Symptoms of the bacteria causing premature labour include backache, contractions or cramps, any discharge or bleeding or not feeling the baby move.


So what did we find out? Well, the risks of enjoying some soft cheese are most definitely not worth it. Cravings are cravings, we get it. But staying away from certain foods until your child is born to ensure it is in good health sounds like a pretty good deal to us. As we said already, we don’t mind repeating ourselves, while pregnant health should be your number one concern. 

You can still enjoy cheese while pregnant, soft ones shouldn’t be on your list, and you should double-check them all before you consume them.

Cheese aged for 60 or more days could be safe even if not pasteurized, but the ones that are, are your safest bet. 

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