Q: Good Evening Dr. Ketch, please I wanted to find out if smoked goat cheese is safe to eat during pregnancy
A: Thanks for writing in. Cheese is a great source of calcium and should ordinarily be a great prescription for pregnancy where we are trying to ensure that you build up enough calcium stock to prevent the baby ‘stealing’ from your bone stock 😀 However, because of the possibility of getting infected with Listeria, especially when you eat the soft goat chesses which are mould-ripened, you may want to give it a rest. Generally, the goat cheese is considered safe if cooked. The point of cooking is to ensure that the cheese has been heated all the way through, killing any harmful bacteria and making it safe for consumption. Smoking may not do that. If you’re unsure whether it’s cooked or not or what kind of cheese it is, play safe, give it a miss. Better safe than sorry. Though listerosis (the disease caused by the Listeria organism) may be mild causing no symptom or perhaps, flu-like symptoms, it could lead to miscarriage and still birth. So, you want to be sure you stay away from potential sources.
Also, avoid raw, under-cooked and uncooked seafood and shellfish. Make sure prawns and shrimps are a milk white colour when cooked. Generally, when pregnant, the main concern is the amount of mercury in the fish or sea food. Large mackerel, Swordfish,Tile fish and Shark contain a large amount of Mercury that could cause defects in the baby’s developing nervous system.
For foods you should eat:
• Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods from different food groups.
• Be sure to include a lot of high fibre foods like vegetables, whole grain cereals etc to deal with the constipation associated with pregnancy.
• Ensure you take your antenatal medications (prenatal vitamins) in addition to eating well.
• Be sure to also take foods rich in iron eg and foods rich in folic acid eg green leafy veggies and beans. Folate prevents deformities of the spine.
• Drink at least 4 servings of milk, other dairy products or calcium rich foods like those noted above. If you don’t eat enough, your baby will start drawing on your own stock from your bones. So, stock up on calcium!
Have a great weekend, people 😀