Evidence Based

Can You Eat Goat Cheese During Pregnant? Safety & Benefits

Susan Adeosun, Dr.

Published at 19:39

Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

Medical reviewer

During pregnancy, choose safe pasteurized goat cheese without a rind.

What is new with a pregnancy diet? Proper nutrition is critical during pregnancy to ensure you and your baby’s well-being. With evolving guidelines, staying informed about what’s safe to eat will immensely benefit you.

If you’re updating your pregnancy diet, you might wonder about specific foods, like whether feta cheese is safe or not. Should it be avoided? Questions like this are not limited to feta cheese but also to a whole range of other types of food. 

In this article, we will help you tick off items on your list by looking at goat cheese during pregnancy and whether you can eat it or not. This is one of the ways you can make informed choices for a healthy pregnancy.

Can You Eat Goat Cheese When Pregnant?

  • Goat cheese is a good source of protein, calcium, and essential vitamins, which benefit the parent and the developing baby.
  • Only pasteurized goat cheese without the white rind is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy. Avoid soft, unpasteurized varieties as they can harbor harmful bacteria like Listeria.
  • Pregnant people should discuss their diet with a registered dietitian or their doctor before making any dietary changes or introductions to ensure safety and nutritional adequacy.

Goat Cheese Is Safe During Pregnancy

Goat Cheese Is Safe During Pregnancy
Goat Cheese

Goat cheese, also known as chèvre, is a type of cheese made from goat’s milk. It has quite a creamy texture, which can vary from soft and spreadable to firm and crumbly, depending on the aging process. 

The process of making goat cheese begins with collecting fresh goat’s milk. The quality and flavor of the milk are based on the goats’ diet, breed, and environment. Commercially produced cheese goes through an extra pasteurization step by heating it to a specific temperature to kill harmful bacteria.

Once pasteurized, starter cultures containing beneficial bacteria are added to the milk to help ferment it, developing the cheese’s flavor and aiding in curdling. Next, a coagulant such as rennet is added to the milk to cause it to coagulate, forming curds and whey. 

The curds are then shaped into their final form. Goat cheese comes in various forms, including fresh, aged, and flavored varieties. Additionally, both fresh and aged goat cheese can be infused with herbs, spices, or other flavorings for added variety.

Is goat cheese safe during pregnancy? It depends on the type, and it all comes down to pasteurization. Unpasteurized goat cheese is unsafe to eat during pregnancy because of the risk of bacteria contamination, which is especially common in surface-ripened goat cheese

One common side effect of eating unpasteurized goat cheese is Listeriosis. Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium. It causes symptoms such as fever, flu, and fatigue in the parent. For the baby, it may lead to meningitis, blood infection, or death. Pregnant people are ten to twenty times likelier to contract listeriosis. Research has also shown a strong association between soft cheese consumption and outbreak-related illnesses like listeriosis.

Can You Eat Goat Cheese During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat goat cheese without the white rind during pregnancy, but you should take some precautions. The key is to ensure the goat cheese is made from pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized cheeses can contain harmful bacteria like Listeria, posing a risk to both the pregnant person and the baby. 

The white rind originates from Penicillium candidum, a bacterial powder added during cheese production. It is similar to the white fuzz found on  Brie cheeses. The rind increases moisture content and the potential for contamination.

On the other hand, you can prevent Listeria by eating pasteurized or hard cheese heated to over 165°F. Here are some benefits of eating goat cheese during pregnancy:

Rich In Nutrients

Pregnant people need all the nutrients they can get. Goat cheese is a good source of many essential nutrients that support the health of the parent and the baby. Here is a full nutritional profile for one serving or  50 grams of hard goat cheese (1.78 ounces);

  • Water – 24.5 grams.
  • Calories – 226 kcal.
  • Carbohydrate – 1.09 grams.
  • Protein – 15.25 grams.
  • Fat – 17.8 grams.
  • Calcium – 447.5 milligrams.
  • Iron – 0.94 milligrams.
  • Magnesium – 27 milligrams.
  • Potassium – 24 milligrams.
  • Phosphorus  – 214.5 milligrams.
  • Vitamin A – 493 I.U.

Compared to cow cheese, goat cheese provides a variety of essential nutrients while often being easier to digest and lower in calories. This makes it a nutritious and beneficial option. It also contains many vitamins. 

For one, vitamin A is important for vision, immune function, and skin health. It also contains vitamin B2, which plays a key role in energy production, and vitamin B12, which helps with red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.

Easy To Digest

Goat cheese is easier to digest. One reason is that goat milk’s fat globules are smaller than cow milk’s. This difference may make it easier for pregnant people to digest, as smaller fat globules are generally more accessible for the digestive system to break down.

Goat milk and, consequently, goat cheese typically contain lower lactose levels than cow milk products. Lactose is the sugar in milk that some people have difficulty digesting due to lactose intolerance. If you are lactose intolerant, the lower lactose levels in goat cheese can make it more tolerable.

Probiotic Properties

Certain types of aged goat cheese can contain probiotics. They are bacteria known for promoting gut health. Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria in your body. Thus, they support digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

A healthy gut flora supported by probiotics can strengthen the immune system, potentially reducing the risk of infections and promoting overall immune health. Probiotics have been studied for their potential to alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders like diarrhea and constipation.

Heart Health

Goat cheese contains beneficial fats that can contribute to heart health, primarily through its composition of fatty acids. Compared to cow’s milk cheese, goat cheese contains more medium-chain fatty acids.

MCFAs are metabolized differently in the body than long-chain fatty acids found in many other dairy products. They are more easily absorbed so that they can be utilized for energy rather than stored as fat. This characteristic can help manage weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with weight gain.Also, while not as abundant as in fatty fish or certain seeds, some goat cheeses may contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known to be beneficial for heart health.

What Cheeses Are Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?

As mentioned above, it’s important to be cautious about the types of cheese you consume during pregnancy. This reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis, which can harm both you and your baby. 

Here are some safe cheeses you can eat during pregnancy:

Hard cheeses: Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan, and Swiss are generally safe to eat during pregnancy. These cheeses are made with pasteurized milk and have a lower moisture content, which makes it more difficult for harmful bacteria to survive.

Processed cheeses: Processed cheeses, including cheese spreads and cheese products like cream cheese and cottage cheese, are safe if they are made with pasteurized milk.Soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk: Soft cheeses like mozzarella, feta (if labeled as pasteurized), paneer, and ricotta made from pasteurized milk are safe to consume during pregnancy. However, it’s important to ensure they are made with pasteurized milk. This way, you can avoid the risk of listeriosis.

What Cheese To Avoid When Pregnant?

When you eat safe cheese, you get more than enough of the nutrients you need. On the other hand, to avoid food poisoning during pregnancy, here are the cheeses to avoid when pregnant:

Unpasteurized cheeses: Cheeses made from unpasteurized or raw milk should be avoided during pregnancy. These include many soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, blue cheese, queso fresco, and certain types of goat cheese unless explicitly labeled as pasteurized.

Mold-ripened cheeses: Cheeses with a mold-ripened rind, such as Brie and Camembert, should be avoided unless made with pasteurized milk. Their moist environment can harbor listeria bacteria.

Blue-veined cheeses: Blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Danish blue should be avoided unless made from pasteurized milk. Due to their production process, these cheeses are also prone to listeria contamination.

To avoid falling prey to unpasteurized cheese, here are some things you should keep in mind;

  • Always check labels to ensure that cheeses are made from pasteurized milk.
  • Avoid cheeses served in restaurants or delis where you can’t confirm the pasteurization status.
  • If you are unsure of their safety, heat cheeses until they are thoroughly melted if you are uncertain of their safety.
  • Avoid cheeses sliced in the deli.


The consensus is that goat cheese can be a nutritious addition to a pregnancy diet. However, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by opting for varieties made from pasteurized milk. Pasteurization helps eliminate harmful bacteria like Listeria, which can pose significant risks to both expecting parents and their babies. 

Always check labels and follow recommended food safety practices so your pregnancy stays safe and healthy. If you have specific concerns or questions, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is all goat cheese safe to eat during pregnancy?

Only pasteurized goat cheese without the white rind is safe. Unpasteurized varieties may contain Listeria, which can harm pregnant people and their babies.

How can I tell if goat cheese is pasteurized?

Check the label for pasteurization information. If it needs to be clarified, consult the manufacturer or your healthcare provider.

What are the benefits of eating pasteurized goat cheese during pregnancy?

Pasteurized goat cheese provides protein, calcium, and essential vitamins, supporting both maternal and fetal health.

What are the risks of consuming unpasteurized goat cheese while pregnant?

Unpasteurized goat cheese can carry Listeria, leading to listeriosis, which increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe illness in newborns.

Are there safe alternatives to goat cheese for pregnant individuals?

Yes, hard cheeses and pasteurized soft cheeses like feta, mozzarella, and cheddar are safer options during pregnancy.

Dr Susan Adeosun (MPH, MD) is a Medical Doctor and Public Health enthusiast. She has over five years’ worth of experience in public health and preventive medicine and is a firm believer in the famous phrase by Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, “prevention is better than cure.” Her journey through public health, combined with her love for writing, has resulted in the publication of several health articles on various blogs, websites, and peer review journals.


MANA adheres to strict sourcing guidelines, avoids most tertiary sources, and uses only professional resources updated to contain accurate and current information. We majorly rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research from reputable medical associations. For more information regarding our editorial process, please refer to the provided resources.

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