While many types of soft cheese are considered potentially unsafe during that time, it is typically considered safe to eat cottage cheese in pregnancy. This is because most cottage cheese is pasteurized, a process which kills the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is what makes other soft cheeses a potential health hazard. Low-fat cottage cheese can be a healthy addition to the pregnancy diet, in fact, since it provides a good source of calcium and protein. It is important to verify that the cheese has been pasteurized, however, as it is possible to find varieties that are not.
In the majority of cases, eating cottage cheese during pregnancy is safe because it is typically made from pasteurized milk. The pasteurization process heats milk, killing any listeria it may contain. Eating food that contains the listeria bacterium can cause listeriosis, a disease that can lead to miscarriage, infection, or fetal death. This is why many other soft cheeses like brie, feta, and blue cheese, which are often made with unpasteurized milk, are usually not recommended during pregnancy.
Not only is eating cottage cheese during pregnancy normally considered safe, it can also be a nutritious addition to a pregnant woman’s diet. It is rich in protein, which is critical for healthy fetal development. Cottage cheese also provides a fair amount of calcium, a nutrient important for both mother and baby, particularly during the third trimester when it is critical for fetal tissue growth. Unless one has a particular need for extra fat in her diet, though, it is probably best to look for varieties made with reduced-fat or fat-free milk to avoid extra saturated fat. Women looking for an extra healthy snack may want to try adding some fruit or nuts to the cottage cheese, which can bring additional flavor and texture while also adding extra nutrients.
While most of the time having cottage cheese in pregnancy is safe and healthy, it is still important to remember that an unpasteurized brand could be dangerous. The majority of cottage cheeses are made with pasteurized milk, but this does not mean they all are. Be sure to carefully read the label on any cottage cheese to ensure it has gone through the process. If it is not clearly stated on the label, or if the label notes that the cheese is not pasteurized, then that brand should probably be avoided.