Stay clear of some soft cheeses during pregnancy

Something you may not know about pregnancy is that expecting moms should stay clear from eating certain foods, such as soft cheeses. Some of these creamy dairy options, like brie, camembert and gorgonzola, are considered raw because they are unpasteurized. They can contain harmful bacteria called listeria that may affect a growing fetus and potentially infect the baby, putting him or her in a life-threatening situation. This occurs because a baby's immune system is not yet strong or developed enough to fight off the illness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Although the bacteria is found everywhere, it is notable for causing listeriosis, which is a food-borne, gastrointestinal illness. This infection may make the consumer sick and increase an expecting mother's likelihood of having a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to the National Institutes of Health. In rare cases, an individual can even develop a blood infection or meningitis. If a pregnant woman experiences flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea and a stomach ache she should seek medical assistance immediately. Even if she suspects she has eaten something contaminated with listeria, it's important to tell a healthcare professional to be on the safe side.

While it's important to avoid unpasteurized cheese, it's perfectly okay to eat harder cheeses, such as cheddar, swiss and colby. In addition, some softer cheeses, like mozzarella, cream cheese and cottage cheese should be safe. If you're not sure if you can eat a certain type of cheese, be sure to ask your healthcare provider before consuming it.

Were you aware of the consequences of eating soft cheese during pregnancy? Do you know of any good replacements for expectant moms who love their brie or goat cheese? Leave your answers in the comments section!