Can You Eat Parmesan Cheese While Pregnant?


To be safe and healthy, all should follow a nutritious diet; pregnant women are no exception. To put it another way, consuming highly nutritious foods is a must during pregnancy, as healthy foods offer essential nutrients needed for the growth of the unborn baby.

Cheese is one of the options that you can include in your pregnancy diet. Since cheese has numerous varieties, you should check its safety for pregnancy beforehand. Here we want to discuss parmesan cheese while pregnant, which gets queried a lot.

Parmesan cheese can be made with pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. You may wonder which one is safe for you and the baby. We will help you find the answer to your questions regarding eating parmesan cheese in pregnancy in this article on Hipregnancy.

Before starting the first part of this article about parmesan cheese, the Hipregnancy team appreciates you for taking the time to read this post. If you are ready, let’s start.

Also Read: can pregnant women eat goat cheese

Is all parmesan cheese pasteurized?

Is all parmesan cheese pasteurized

Parmesan cheese is a hard cheese made with cow’s milk, used for shaving or grating over dishes such as salads or pasta. Is all parmesan raw and unpasteurized? Or is parmesan cheese pasteurized? Let’s discuss the answer to these questions.

There are two types of parmesan cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano and Generic Parmesan.

Parmigiano Reggiano is a classic Italian cheese which is made with unpasteurized milk. This parmesan cheese classifies as hard cheese and is aged at least 12 months. Generic parmesan cheese is famous in the US and countries outside Europe and can be made with pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.

To conclude, all parmesan cheese is not pasteurized; some are pasteurized, and some are not. So, is parmesan cheese healthy during pregnancy? The following part will answer this question based on scientific pieces evidence.

Another cheese can be used in pasta similar to parmesan. Can you guess what is it? Ricotta cheese. Hipregnancy provided an article regarding its consumption. If you like, you can read more about it on ricotta cheese while pregnant.

Also Read: is plain yogurt good for pregnancy

Is parmesan cheese okay for pregnancy?

Is parmesan cheese okay for pregnancy

As discussed in the previous part, parmesan cheese can be made with pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Since pregnant ladies have weak immune systems, they should not consume unpasteurized dairy products due to the risk of listeria. So, is unpasteurized parmesan safe in pregnancy?

It may seem unusual and odd, but it is safe to eat unpasteurized parmesan cheese while pregnant due to its hard texture and low moisture content. Several studies are to see how listeria would survive in unpasteurized parmesan cheese. The results show that parmesan cheese can not support the growth of harmful bacteria as it is a hard cheese and low in moisture.

Pregnant ladies can enjoy moderate amounts parmesan cheese and use it in several dishes; add to soups and sauces, grave it over salads or pasta, or use it in hot dishes. Since parmesan is a hard cheese, it can be eaten cooked and uncooked when pregnant.

The variety of cheese is endless; therefore, you can try other options besides parmesan cheese while pregnant. One of them is cottage cheese with a mild flavour. To learn more about it, check cottage cheese while pregnant.

Benefits of parmesan cheese while pregnant

Benefits of parmesan cheese while pregnant

Some health benefits of eating parmesan cheese in pregnancy are as follows;

  • Parmesan cheese is a rich source of protein for pregnant women and prevents protein deficiency. It provides high-quality and easy-to-digest proteins needed for the fetus’s development.

Parmesan is a good source of protein for pregnant ladies who are vegetarian and don’t eat meat. If you are vegetarians or want to know more about a vegan diet, check out our vegan pregnancy benefits article.

  • Parmesan cheese contains high levels of calcium and phosphorus; therefore, eating parmesan cheese while pregnant can prevent osteoporosis and support good bone health. It is good to know that the calcium in parmesan cheese is highly bioavailable and can be easily absorbed by pregnant ladies’ bodies.
  • Parmesan is naturally lactose-free, and because of that, it is an excellent option for those pregnant ladies with lactose intolerance. According to studies, the lactose content of parmesan is 0.010 mg per 100 kcal of product, making parmesan safe to eat for all pregnant ladies, even those who can’t digest lactose.
  • Moderate parmesan intake helps blood vessels to contract and maintains healthy blood pressure.

Hipregnancy recommends you consult your doctor before adding parmesan cheese to your pregnancy diet to determine how much you can have it. Overeating parmesan cheese in pregnancy can return it to an unhealthy option; therefore, talk to your doctor to check how much your intake should be.

Also Read: Can You Eat Burrata When Pregnant

How do you know if cheese is pasteurized?

How do you know if cheese is pasteurized

Pregnant ladies should avoid eating soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk due to the high risk of bacterial contamination. Consuming some cheeses like string cheese pregnancy is safe since it is made with pasteurized milk. However, some cheeses, like blue cheese, can be made with pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. (Read more in the article “can you eat blue cheese dressing while pregnant?”)

So, how to know if the cheese is pasteurized? Let us tell you.

Most pasteurized cheeses are labelled as “pasteurized”. Another way to check whether the cheese is pasteurized is to check the ingredient list. The cheese is pasteurized if it is made with pasteurized milk and cream. In sum, checking the label and ingredient list while purchasing cheese can help you know whether the cheese is safe for pregnancy.

Let’s continue our article to answer this question; Is aged parmesan safe during pregnancy? Everything is provided in the following part.

Aged parmesan cheese while pregnant

Aged parmesan cheese while pregnant

Generally speaking, the high moisture content of cheese can create an excellent environment for the growth of harmful bacteria like listeria. Aged cheeses like parmesan are low in moisture; therefore, they are not a good place for bacterial growth.

Parmigiano Reggiano is aged 12-36 months, and generic parmesan is aged at least 10 months. Both are aged parmesan cheese and are considered safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Typically, the more cheese ages, the drier it becomes. So, the older parmesan is, the safer it is for pregnancy. The older parmesan cheese is more expensive and has a more intense flavour. You can enjoy eating aged parmesan cheese while pregnant without experiencing any issues if you moderate your intake.

Are you ready to answer another query about parmesan cheese? If yes, let’s see what the following section wants to say.

Is grated parmesan cheese safe for pregnancy?

Pregnant ladies might crave grated parmesan cheese on their salad or pasta, but is it safe?  Pure grated parmesan cheese is considered safe during pregnancy. However, two points must be considered before having grated parmesan cheese while pregnant.

The first point to consider is that some available gated parmesan cheese you find at stores is not parmesan and might be Italian cheese. So, check the ingredient list to ensure you are purchasing pure parmesan cheese.

The second point is the risk of listeria.  It is best to use an unadulterated piece of parmesan cheese and grate it off instead of pre-made grated parmesan cheese.  A piece or whole block of parmesan cheese has a smaller surface area than pre-made grated parmesan, which can lower cross-contaminated risk.

Considering the above points, there will be no risk of listeria. Are you craving grated parmesan cheese? Go ahead and enjoy eating it. Nothing will harm you and the unborn baby if you follow the above guidelines.

Can you eat Parmigiano Reggiano when pregnant?

Yes, Parmigiano Reggiano is a classic parmesan that is considered safe for pregnancy. Although this type of parmesan cheese is made with unpasteurized milk, it can be consumed during pregnancy due to its hard texture and low moisture.

Parmigiano Reggiano is made in certain regions of Italy with a certain recipe and is got the protected designation of origin or PDO. This hard cheese is aged for at least 12 months; it can be aged for up to 36 months.

Since Parmigiano Reggiano is low in moisture, harmful bacteria can not survive in it. Pathogens, like listeria require ahigh moisture environment to grow. As a result, there are better areas for them to survive in it than Parmigiano. Have this parmesan cheese while pregnant and enjoy its unique taste!

Now is the time to see what parmesan brands are safe for pregnancy. Check the following part to determine whether your favorite parmesan brand is okay to consume during pregnancy.  

Pregnancy-safe parmesan brands

Although all parmesan is safe for pregnant women, knowing popular brands of parmesan can reassure you about the safety of your favorite brands. Here is a list of famous pregnancy-safe brands that you can include in your diet;

  • Kraft
  • Belgioioso
  • iGourmet
  • Organic Valley
  • SarVecchio
  • Saputo
  • Olio & Olive
  • Sartori
  • Any parmesan cheese labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano.”
  • Any store-bought or supermarket own brand (e.g., Asda, Walmart, 365, Joe’s, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, ASDA)

You might get sick if you ate expired parmesan cheese while pregnant, even from the safe brands.  Expired parmesan cheese can cause an upset stomach and food poisoning. As a result, it is best to avoid expired parmesan cheese during pregnancy.

Can you eat pecorino cheese when pregnant?

Yes, pecorino is a safe cheese to eat during pregnancy if taken in moderate quantities. Pecorino is aged, hard cheese similar to parmesan cheese, but they have some differences. Would you like to know what differences are between parmesan and pecorino?  If yes, read the following part.

  • Parmesan cheese is made with cow’s milk, but pecorino is made with sheep’s milk.
  • Parmesan is aged from 12-36 months, whereas pecorino is aged for a few months to a year.
  • Parmesan has a drier and hard texture, but pecorino is softer and creamier.
  • Parmesan has a nutty, sweeter flavour, whereas pecorino cheese tastes grassier and brighter.

You can enjoy parmesan while pregnant and pecorino cheese pregnancy as well. To prevent any possible issues, consult your health professional before adding these cheeses to your diet. You should always go ahead with your doctor’s guidelines to have a free-risk pregnancy.

What cheeses are safe for pregnancy?

Since there are various kinds of cheese worldwide, the Hipregnancy team wants to provide some safe cheeses you can enjoy besides parmesan cheese while pregnant. Experts recommend pregnant ladies avoid dairy products made with unpasteurized cow, goat, or sheep’s milk_ hard aged cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, like parmesan cheese, are exceptions.

To conclude, consuming pasteurized cheese and unpasteurized hard cheese pregnancy is safe since they have no harmful bacteria to cause infections. Opt for individual bags or blocks of shredded cheese to lower the risk of cross contamination. It is not ideal to have your cheese cut from a wheel.

Some safe varieties of cheese are as follows;

Hipregnancy recommend talk to your doctor before including any of the above cheeses in your diet to determine how much you can consume them. Overeating any of the cheeses mentioned above can negatively impact your overall health.

Let’s continue and end this article with the foods you can make with parmesan cheese and their pregnancy safety in the following part.

Healthy ideas to try parmesan cheese while pregnant

Pregnant ladies who like to try parmesan cheese can add it to their dishes. This hard cheese is rarely eaten on its own, but can be used in dishes such as eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, parmesan cheese crackers or crips, parmesan salad dressings, and so on.

If you want to eat parmesan chicken, make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked to the internal temperature of 165 F. Moreover, to eat a pregnancy-safe parmesan salad dressing, choose one with no raw eggs. Checking the ingredient list can help you know whether parmesan salad dressing is safe during pregnancy.

Last words

Cheese should be a part of the pregnancy-diet due to its high protein levels, calcium, and other essential nutrients needed for the unborn baby’s growth. This article on Hiregnancy provided a pregnant woman’s guide to eating parmesan cheese.

As discussed in the previous parts, although parmesan is usually made with unpasteurized milk, it is considered safe to parmesan cheese while pregnant. This cheese is aged, hard cheese, and it is low in moisture.

Parmesan cheese is not a good area for listeria to grow; therefore, the risk of food poisoning by consuming parmesan cheese pregnancy is very low. If you are a parmesan cheese lover, you can continue consuming it during pregnancy, but you should moderate your intake.

Hope you enjoyed this post and it could help you get the answers to your questions regarding parmesan consumption. If there are still any unanswered questions, share them with us via comment.

The Hipregnancy team is always here for you!

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