Hi Mommy, welcome to PregnancyMommy. Previously we talked about "How to Control Allergies During Pregnancy" , In today's post we will talk about "Can You Have Feta Cheese While Pregnant?". May be useful for Mommy.
Pregnancy, due to suppression in the immune system, can make a woman more susceptible to certain bacterial infections. Among the more serious infections is listeriosis, caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This organism is a common colonizer of the gastrointestinal tract. It originates in the environment commonly found in soil, dust, water, produce, processed foods, and the feces of domestic and wild animals and humans. Invasive disease is rare but pregnant women have a 17 fold increased incidence compared to non-pregnant women.
What is the importance of listeria infections in pregnancy?
Listeria can be the cause of spontaneous abortions, premature labor, stillbirths, and infants with sepsis or meningitis. The newborn mortality rate from this disease is between 30 and 63%. The fetus gets infected either through the placenta via the maternal bloodstream, or ascending from the vaginal canal after having been infected from the gastrointestinal tract.
What is the incidence of listeriosis?
The general population has an incidence of invasive disease of 0.7 per 100,000 but pregnancyRawMeat_Web increases the incidence to 12 per 100,000. CDC has estimated approximately 2,500 cases per year in the U.S. resulting in approximately 500 deaths. About a third of the cases of listeria occur in pregnant women. The bacteria can be found as a colonizer in the feces of 70% of healthy people and 44% of pregnant women. It is rarely found in the vagina. Although colonization is common, invasive disease is unusual.
Pregnant women that are immunocompromised with HIV infections, diabetes, steroid use, and splenectomy are especially susceptible to this pathogen.
How do pregnant women get infected with Listeria?
Food contaminated with the bacteria is the main source of infection. Main reservoirs include soft cheeses (feta, brie, camembert), blue veined cheeses, Mexican-style cheese (queso blanco), coleslaw, pâté, pork tongue, unpasteurized milk, foods prepared from raw milk, turkey franks, and delicatessen foods. Listeria has the capacity to multiply at refrigerator temperatures (4-10 degree C) and therefore can contaminate undercooked meat and vegetables. All surfaces and utensils must be washed carefully when exposed to uncooked meats.
What are the symptoms of infection in the mother and the newborn?
Most pregnant women are asymptomatic or present with a flu like illness with low grade fever, myalgia, headache, abdominal cramping or diarrhea. Rarely are the symptoms serious. Miscarriage or premature labor can occur 50% of the time with fetal distress 35% and meconium stained amniotic fluid 75% of the time. Occasionally a macular/papular rash can be present on the trunk and extremities. The placenta can also have evidence of micro-abscesses.
Onset of the disease in newborns is generally within 1-2 days of birth and appears as sepsis or pneumonia. There is also a late onset version of the disease in newborns that can occur 7-14 days after delivery and presents as meningitis.
A rare finding in infants is called granulomatous infantiseptica which is characterized by multiple widespread abscesses and granulomas. The later in gestation that the disease occurs, the worse the outcome for the mother and the fetus.
Diagnoses is generally made with positive blood cultures. Organisms can also be found in the placenta or amniotic fluid. It can be isolated from urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and the oropharynx in infants.
What is the treatment for Listeria in pregnancy?
Treatment of choice for listeriosis is ampicillin, amoxicillin, or penicillin. For patients allergic to penicillin, treatment with erythromycin or vancomycin is recommended. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is another alternative for penicillin allergic patients but it is not recommended in the first trimester due to the anti-folate activity which can possibly lead to a neural tube defect. In utero therapy has been successful in several case reports averting the need for prompt delivery which is recommended in most other cases of chorioamnionitis.
Ampicillin along with an aminoglycoside is the management for newborn listeriosis. Length of treatment is controversial and some reports feel 3 to 4 weeks of high dose therapy is essential.
In summary, the key to prevention of listeria in pregnancy is avoidance of food products that may be contaminated with this bacteria. The FDA and CDC regularly monitors any reports of contamination but it is always best to avoid high risk foods. In addition, food should be stored, handled, and cooked properly to reduce the risk of acquiring this infection.
Cheeses Pregnant Women Should Avoid
Many women worry about eating cheese in pregnancy and give it up all together so that their unborn baby is not harmed. Others think that if hey only eat pasteurized cheese it will be fine, but actually this is not the case.
What is the problem with cheese?
Some cheeses contain listeria bacteria which causes listeriosis. This results in an adult having flu-like symptoms a few weeks after eating the listeria in cheese. It is not harmful to an adult but can do serious damage to an unborn child. It may result in miscarriage or the death of the child at birth. Therefore cheese known to contain bacteria such as listeria are best avoided.
Which cheeses should be avoided?
These soft and blue-veined cheeses have a moistness which provides bacteria with an ideal breeding ground, even if they are pasteurized so it's just not worth the risk eating them. There are plenty of cheeses you can eat with impunity.
Which cheeses are safe?
Hard cheeses are generally safe, even if they are unpasteurized, as generally they have little listeria bacteria in them and the amounts make them safe to eat. You can use these to cook with and make sure that the cheese is cooked right through and golden brown, not just melted. This is also true for Taleggio, as long as it is thoroughly cooked, it should be fine and this goes for the blue-veined ones too, but perhaps it is best just to avoid these altogether to be on the safe side.
The Greek cheeses, halloumi and feta are good, and so is smoked cheddar, and other hard, smoked cheeses. Parmesan is fine too.
The soft cheeses are good too, cottage cheese, processed spreadable cheeses, ricotta and a garlic and herb roulade.
You can also eat yoghurt, soured cream, crème fraiche and fromage frais. During pregnancy you need lots of calcium and cheese is a good source of this as are other dairy products. They are also good sources of protein and vitamins A and D. You don't have to give up cheese all together; just don't eat the varieties which may put your unborn child at risk.