Is Stracciatella Cheese Safe For Pregnant Women?

Stracciatella cheese
Stracciatella cheese

Hello friends! Dr. Faeze here to talk about eating stracciatella cheese during pregnancy. I know a lot of my pregnant patients get worried about what foods are safe, so I want to explain in simple terms if stracciatella is okay or not. Let’s learn together!

What is Stracciatella Cheese?

Stracciatella is a soft, creamy Italian cheese. It has shreds of cheese mixed into milk, kind of like the inside of mozzarella cheese! Stracciatella means “little shreds” in Italian. It has a mild, milky flavor that is delicious in soups, salads, and pastas.

Risks of Eating Soft Cheese While Pregnant

As an ob/gyn, my main concern with soft cheeses is bacteria called listeria (1). Listeria infections are rare but very dangerous for pregnant women. They can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and illness in newborns (2).

Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized (raw) milk are more likely to contain listeria. So health agencies often say to avoid soft, semi-soft, and unpasteurized cheeses during pregnancy (3). This is why I recommend pregnant patients be extra careful with soft cheeses like stracciatella, brie, feta etc. Better safe than sorry!

Choosing Pasteurized Stracciatella

The good news is that soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk are safe to eat! Pasteurization heats the milk to kill any harmful bacteria like listeria . Look for the words “pasteurized” clearly labeled on the packaging and you can enjoy it.

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I tell my patients to check the label closely and avoid unpasteurized cheeses. I also advise choosing stracciatella from reputable stores and watching expiration dates. Properly handled pasteurized cheese doesn’t carry risks.

Health Benefits of Stracciatella

Okay, so how come stracciatella is worth eating during pregnancy? Here are some of the main health benefits:

  • Excellent source of calcium for your bones and baby’s bone development .
  • Provides protein for growth and muscle repair during pregnancy.
  • Contains vitamin B12 for red blood cell formation and neural tube development .
  • The probiotics may support your gut health and immunity.

So in moderation, stracciatella provides important nutrition for you and your growing little bun!

How Much Can You Eat?

I recommend pregnant patients enjoy stracciatella as part of a balanced diet. Portion control is key, since cheese is high in saturated fat and calories. About 1-2 ounces of cheese per day is a good guideline . Pay attention to any digestive issues too.

Listen to your body and avoid overdoing it! But no need to cut out cheese completely – just be mindful. I encourage getting nutrients from wholesome real foods like stracciatella when possible, rather than supplements.

Other Cheese Options

If pasteurized stracciatella isn’t available, no worries! There are many other pregnancy-safe cheese choices like mozzarella, cheddar, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses. I tell my patients to read labels and know ingredients, but you don’t have to give up cheese flavor!

Try sprinkling some parmesan on pasta, baking mozzarella on a homemade pizza, or dipping apple slices in cottage cheese. You can satisfy your cravings with some creativity and cheesy ideas!

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Food Safety Tips

To minimize any risks when eating stracciatella or other cheeses, keep these food safety tips in mind:

  • Avoid cross-contamination by separating cheese from raw meat and eggs.
  • Heat hot, steaming dishes to kill any bacteria present.
  • Don’t eat moldy parts – discard soft cheese once mold appears.
  • Follow “use by” and expiration dates closely for freshness.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is 40°F or below.

Let me know if you have any other questions about eating cheese safely during pregnancy!

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions I get in my office about stracciatella:

Can I eat burrata cheese while pregnant?

Burrata is very similar to stracciatella, so the same advice applies. Choose pasteurized burrata from a reputable source and it should be perfectly safe to enjoy.

What if I eat soft cheese on a restaurant salad when pregnant?

Politely ask your server to confirm that any soft cheeses used are made from pasteurized milk. Many restaurants take extra precautions for pregnant patrons, but it never hurts to check!

Is fresh mozzarella okay to eat during pregnancy?

Yes, fresh mozzarella made from pasteurized milk is a-okay! I suggest using fresh mozzarella within 1 week of purchasing for safety and freshness.

Can I eat pre-packaged stracciatella soups?

Read the label closely to make sure any cheese ingredients are pasteurized. As long as the soup is fully heated to steaming, the pasteurization kills any bacteria present.

Are cheese spreads safe or should those be avoided?

Commercial cheese spreads made from pasteurized milk are safe for pregnancy! Just be sure to keep them refrigerated once opened. Discard if mold appears.

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The Takeaway

The main points to remember are:

  • Opt for pasteurized stracciatella and cheeses to avoid food poisoning risks like listeria. This goes for any soft, semi-soft and fresh cheeses.
  • When in doubt, check the label for “pasteurized.” This means the milk was heated to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Enjoy stracciatella and cheese as part of a healthy prenatal diet! The nutrition benefits are well worth it.

I hope this guide helps you feel less stressed about cheese and eating safely during pregnancy! Let me know if you have any other questions. Wishing you a happy and healthy nine months!

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