Is Cottage Cheese Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can be an exciting time, but with all the excitement comes questions related to food and what is safe for you and the baby.

Once you become pregnant, there is a long list of foods that should be either eaten in moderation, prepared differently, or eliminated altogether.

On that list are soft cheeses such as brie, gorgonzola, feta, and goat cheese, but what about cottage cheese which is a source of protein and calcium? 

Thankfully, cottage cheese is an exception to the soft cheese rule and can be a versatile and healthy option during your pregnancy.

It is often seen in various snack and meal suggestions for expected mothers since it is a good source of protein and calcium and low in calories.

It is safe to eat cottage cheese during pregnancy as long as it is pasteurized. A majority of the cottage cheese on the market is made with pasteurized milk, as it is rare to find unpasteurized sold in major grocery stores.

Unpasteurized foods may contain harmful bacteria, like Listeria, which can be detrimental to unborn babies.

This is why unpasteurized foods and juices must be avoided during pregnancy.

This article will explore why cottage cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy and how it can add plenty of protein and calcium to your daily meal routine.

DISCLAIMER: This article is not a replacement for medical advice. Questions or changes related to food and diet during pregnancy should be discussed with a doctor.

Is Cottage Cheese Safe During Pregnancy?

Good news! It is safe to eat cottage cheese during pregnancy, even early pregnancy, unlike other soft cheeses like brie, gorgonzola(blue cheese), queso blanco, and feta. The cottage cheese must be pasteurized to be safely consumed while pregnant.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “low-fat dairy products— such as skim milk, mozzarella cheese, and cottage cheese— can be a healthy part of your diet.”

However, the label must state that cottage cheese is made with pasteurized milk.

Unpasteurized cottage cheese is unsafe to eat during pregnancy since it has not gone through the pasteurization process to eliminate harmful microorganisms and pathogens found in raw milk. 

Dairy products such as ice cream, yogurt, mozzarella, skim milk and hard Itailain cheese such as pecorino and parmesan, are safe to eat during pregnancy. 

Is Pasteurized Cottage Cheese Safe During Pregnancy?

Pasteurized cottage cheese, and other pasteurized dairy products, are safe to eat during pregnancy.

If the label does not clearly state that it is a pasteurized product, then do not purchase or consume it.

It is recommended that pregnant women not consume anything unpasteurized or risk being exposed to harmful bacteria. 

Fortunately, the majority of cottage cheese found in supermarkets is pasteurized and safe to eat while pregnant.

Is Cottage Cheese Pasteurized?

The vast majority of cottage cheese brands found in grocery stores is pasteurized, such as Borden, Organic Valley, Daisy, and Prairie Farms.

According to The Dairy Dish, “..it is believed that no more than 1% of milk sold to consumers in the United States has not been pasteurized.”

The container’s label should say the product is pasteurized or cultured pasteurized, regardless of the brand.

What Is Pasteurization?

The process of pasteurization uses high temperatures to eliminate harmful microorganisms and pathogens.

The temperatures can vary from 145℉ to 280℉ depending on the product and level of pasteurization.

The standard pasteurization method used today is called High Temperature Short Time (HTST), which holds the milk at a high temperature for up to 15 seconds, then rapidly cooled down.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), “The original pasteurization method was vat pasteurization, which heats milk or other liquid ingredients in a large take for 30 minutes.”

These days the vat method is used for milk starter cultures for yogurts, cheese, and buttermilk.

Other products that go through the pasteurization process are eggs, fruit juices, wines, canned foods, and syrups.

Is Cottage Cheese Bad While Pregnant?

Pasteurized cottage cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy; however, if the cottage cheese is unpasteurized, then it is unsafe to eat while you are pregnant.

Cottage Cheese Meal

According to the FDA, unpasteurized milk can carry harmful bacteria such as Listeria, salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne illnesses. 

These dangerous bacteria are especially harmful to pregnant women and unborn babies.

Foodborne illnesses can make the mother very sick and may lead to miscarriage or premature delivery.

Unpasteurized juices and ciders should be avoided as well for these same reasons. Other foods to avoid for risk of foodborne illness are raw seafood, undercooked eggs, and undercooked meats or poultry. 

Please visit FoodSafety.gov for more information on foodborne illnesses.

As long as the label says the cultured cottage cheese is made with pasteurized milk, then is it safe to eat cultured cottage cheese during pregnancy.

What Are The Benefits Of Cottage Cheese During Pregnancy?

Besides being a tasty and versatile low-calorie snack, cottage cheese is packed with protein and calcium.

Protein and calcium are essential nutrients during pregnancy with benefits that help the mother and the baby’s development.

Let’s look into the recommended amounts of protein and calcium during pregnancy and why they are so important.

The recommended daily serving of cottage cheese and of forms of dairy, a pregnant woman should have is 3 cups.

However, consider using low-sodium sodium-free cottage cheese because 1 cup of cottage cheese can contain 706 milligrams of sodium.

Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and untreated high blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to health complications during and after labor. 

The USDA recommends that pregnant women have approximately 1 teaspoon of salt a day or less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

Some low-sodium alternatives to cottage cheese that are safe to eat while pregnant include Greek yogurt, ricotta, mascarpone, and low-fat cream cheese.

Nutrition Facts For ½ Cup ServingAmount
Calories107
Total Fat4.7 grams
Cholestrol18 milligrams
Sodium396 milligrams
Potassium113 milligrams
Total Carbrohydrates3.7 grams
Sugars2.9 grams
Protein12 grams
Vitamin A3%
Vitamin C0%
Calcium6.9%
Iron0.4%

Protein

Protein is a vital part of a baby’s development of the brain and muscles. Protein can also help keep blood sugar levels steady during pregnancy, preventing headaches and irritability.

The recommended daily amount of protein during pregnancy is 70-75 grams. 

According to the USDA, 1 cup of cottage cheese contains 25 grams of protein, making it a great source of protein during pregnancy. 

Calcium

During pregnancy, calcium is essential for the baby to develop strong bones, teeth, organs, and muscles.

Increased calcium in the mother’s diet can prevent the baby from taking the needed calcium from her. The recommended amount of calcium to consume during pregnancy is 1,000 milligrams.

According to the USDA, cottage cheese is also a great source of calcium; 1 cup of cottage cheese contains 127 milligrams of calcium.  

Cottage Cheese Pregnancy Cravings

Cravings are a common occurrence when you are expected and can range from average to some rather peculiar combinations.

If you are craving dairy products like cottage cheese and/or ice cream, milk, and yogurt. This could be your body’s way of telling you it needs more calories and calcium. 

Several factors cause pregnancy cravings, such as hormone levels, nutritional deficiencies, and heightened senses.

Pregnancy cravings can start at any time but most commonly begin in the first trimester and peak by the second trimester.

Cottage Cheese Pregnancy Snacks

Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, making it a nutritious and tasty addition to snack time.

Cottage cheese goes great with other healthy foods like fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It can be used as a dip, spread, or eaten independently for breakfast. 

Below are a few cottage cheese pregnancy snack ideas:

Fruits And Berries

Fruits and berries are great to pair with cottage cheese for a delicious healthy breakfast or snack.

Apples, bananas, kiwis, mangoes, and pomegranates are all full of vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy.

Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are packed with antioxidants which are beneficial for mommy and baby.

Breakfast

Adding cottage cheese to your breakfast routine will start your day with a protein and calcium-packed meal.

Cottage Cheese Breakfast

Cottage cheese goes well with granola, cereals, and fruit; cottage cheese can even be added to smoothies for a nutritious breakfast-to-go.

Another creative and fun way to incorporate cottage cheese into your morning routine is cottage cheese pancakes

Cottage Cheese As A Dip

Cottage cheese makes an excellent dip for vegetables, chips, and crackers; cottage cheese can also be used as a sandwich spread if you look for a low-fat and low-calorie substitute for mayonnaise.

For a delicious and super healthy fruit dip, mix cottage cheese and peanut butter together; great for apples, bananas, or on a piece of whole-wheat toast.

Final Thoughts

Keeping you and your developing baby safe is one of the most important matters during these nine months.

Eating healthy and nutritious foods gives you the vital nutrients you need and helps your baby grow.

Trying to figure out what you can and cannot have can seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of foods, like cottage cheese, to choose from.

Please remember that always consult with your doctor if you are unsure of what safe diet changes or what foods are safe to eat during pregnancy.

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