Is Cream Cheese Safe During Pregnancy?

Cream cheese is a popular ingredient in many dishes and desserts. Some people use it as an alternative to butter or margarine on their bagels, but does that mean you should avoid eating cream cheese when pregnant?

Many women worry about eating cream cheese during their pregnancy, but is it really necessary?

In this blog post, we will explore the safety of cream cheese during pregnancy and answer all of your questions!

Is Cream Cheese OK when Pregnant?

Cream cheese is a soft unripened dairy product that is made from milk and cream, which according to FDA guidelines for cream cheese, the ingredients used must be pasteurized – a heat treatment to destroy unwanted microorganisms in milk.

All cream cheese available in stores in the US is required to be pasteurized. Therefore, it is generally safe to eat during pregnancy.

Is All Cream Cheese Pasteurized?

However, if you are making your own cream cheese at home or buying some from a local supplier, says farmer’s market, then it may not be pasteurized and that could pose a risk for pregnant women.

For soft cured cheese like feta, the 60-day-aging rule may not even be enough to get rid of harmful bacteria if unpasteurized. Read feta pasteurisation blog post.

Since unpasteurized dairy products can contain harmful bacteria like listeria monocytogenes which causes an infection called listeriosis that might lead to miscarriage, premature labor, or death of a newborn.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese

The popular Philadelphia brand of cream cheese is pasteurized products and safe for pregnant women to eat. Other than that, it’s also made with salt, cultures, and less than 0.5% of stabilizers (Carob bean gums). See how it is made.

The carob bean gums, or locust bean, may cause allergic reactions in some people, such as asthma or breathing issues. If you are particularly vulnerable to that, you may want to speak with your doctor before consuming cream cheese.

High-Fat Content

The high-fat content in cream cheese could be the main thing to worry about.

Cream cheese has about 33% fat content and contains 100 calories in just 2 tablespoons and is high in saturated fat.

The recommended fat intake for a pregnant woman is roughly 25-35% of daily calories.

According to experts, if you eat too many foods that are high in fat as this can pass down a slew of health issues to your children. Also, a high-fat diet may slow learning in offspring (1).

If you are practicing a high-fat diet, such as a Keto diet. It may not be a good option during pregnancy as it can cause nutrient deficiencies and higher cholesterol levels.

Can I Eat Bagel with Cream Cheese While Pregnant?

The answer to this question is yes! Most bagels are made from wheat flour which is high in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Cream cheese Bagels can be eaten by pregnant women as long as they have been properly cooked and the cream cheese has been pasteurized.

Alternatively, try this healthy combination: Whole Wheat Bagel, Cream Cheese, and Cooked Salmon.

Is Eating Cream Cheese while Pregnant Good for You?

Cream cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy but not necessarily a “healthy food”. Read more in Is Cream Cheese Actually Good for You? blog post.

Apart from its high-fat content, cream cheese contains only a relatively small amount of proteins and calcium compared to other cheeses like mozzarella and parmesan.

If you are looking for a healthier version, you can swap to a lower fat Neufchatel. Read Cream Cheese Vs Neufchatel.

Cream cheese also contains micronutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium, choline, and vitamin A. These nutrients can be helpful to pregnant women.

So if you’re looking for a quick snack, cream cheese might be a decent option – but try to limit your intake to once or twice a week.

Reference:

  1. Philadelphia FAQs
  2. USDA – Philadelphia Cream Cheese Ingredients
  3. Healthline – Locust Bean Gum
  4. Babycenter – Cheese and Pregnancy
  5. UCSF Health – Eating during Pregnancy