There are many different types of cheese, and some are safer to eat than others. Hard cheeses are generally considered safe during pregnancy as they have a low risk of contamination. Soft cheeses, like brie and feta, should be avoided as they have a higher risk of containing harmful bacteria that can cause listeriosis. The same goes for surface-ripened cheeses like comtè or Münster.
On the other hand, mozzarella is a type of cheese that is commonly made from buffalo’s or cow’s milk. It is a semi-soft cheese and it can be eaten during pregnancy. The mozzarella that is made in the United States is using pasteurized milk, so it should be OK to eat. If you are from another country such as New Zealand or Australia, please make sure the cheese is made from pasteurized milk at the very least, and also best to avoid mozzarella made with raw or thermized milk as it might not be sufficient to kill the foodborne pathogen.
That said, mozzarella is considered a fresh cheese which barely aged for a few weeks, so it’s a little bit risky compared to hard cheeses like cheddar or parmesan. Mozzarella has higher moisture and is good to be eaten as soon as possible to avoid spoilage. Thus, it usually has a shorter shelf life and a higher risk of contamination with listeria and other bacteria if it is not properly handled and stored.
The low-moisture or packaged shredded mozzarella could be a much better and safer option — Say you want to use it in your pizza, mac and cheese, or served with a microwaved hot dish.
The mozzarella that you bought from the store should be safe to eat, but make sure that you check the label and expiration date first before consuming. Also, keep in mind that mozzarella should not be eaten if it is moldy, discolored or has a strange odor. Check out my other article about mozzarella going bad and the signs here.
To be on the safe side, pregnant women should avoid eating mozzarella cheese or any kind of soft cheese that has been sitting out for a while. It also depends on the food hygiene practices of the producers.
Studies have not found any evidence that consuming mozzarella while pregnant is linked to any adverse effects on the baby. In fact, eating mozzarella while pregnant may be beneficial as it can provide essential vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pregnancy. Mozzarella contains protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and B12 which are all important for fetal development.