Can You Eat Gouda When Pregnant [Explained]

Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Verified by Edna Skopljak MD

Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.

In the era of charcuterie boards and delectable appetizers, cheese comes up a lot.

If you’re pregnant and an avid cheese-lover, you’re going to want to make sure it’s safe to consume for the next nine months.

This article will address whether you can eat gouda when pregnant.

Further exploration will determine if gouda is pasteurized, what cheese expectant mothers should avoid, and if aged gouda is safe during pregnancy.

Can You Eat Gouda When Pregnant?

Yes, it should be safe for pregnant women to eat gouda because it is a semi-hard to hard, often pasteurized cheese.

According to the FDA, hard cheeses pose a lower health risk to pregnant women.

The pasteurization process also makes certain cheeses, like soft cheeses, a safer choice for expectant mothers. Therefore, having a hard-to semi-hard pasteurized serving of gouda is a better option during pregnancy.

Gouda is an umbrella term for a certain type of cheese, more so than it is a particular cheese. That said, gouda can be made in many different ways.

It can be aged, young, pasteurized, or unpasteurized.

Unpasteurized gouda is still considered fairly safe because it is a hard or semi-hard cheese. Hard or semi-hard cheeses are low in water content, making it unlikely for harmful bacteria like listeria to grow.

Is Gouda Pasteurized Cheese?

Yes, gouda can be pasteurized, but not all gouda is pasteurized.

To determine whether it is pasteurized, always read the product label. For example, a pasteurized cheese should have the word “pasteurized” printed on the packaging.

What Cheeses to Avoid While Pregnant?

As a general rule, pregnant women should avoid unpasteurized and soft cheeses. This includes certain cheeses made with unpasteurized milk.

The Mayo Clinic advises that expectant mothers avoid soft cheeses like brie, feta, and blue cheese unless it is clearly labeled that they are pasteurized.

The Healthline echoes these concerns, adding that unpasteurized cheeses could contain E. coli or Listeria. These bugs can lead to serious health complications for pregnant mothers, their unborn babies, and infants.

Since pregnant women are ten times more prone to listeriosis and account for ⅙ of those infected with the bacterium (FDA), being extra careful when selecting cheese products is crucial.

The FDA adds that listeriosis can cause miscarriage in the first trimester, lead to premature labor, the delivery of a low-birth-weight infant, or in extreme cases, infant death. Mothers can also be put at risk if listeriosis is contracted in the third trimester.

Is Aged Gouda Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, aged gouda is safe during pregnancy.

In fact, the older the gouda is, the harder it is. The harder a cheese is, the less likely it is to host bacteria that can lead to infection.


Ultimately, yes, you can eat gouda when pregnant.

The safest type of gouda to eat while pregnant is pasteurized and aged gouda.

Unpasteurized gouda can be considered safe due to its low moisture content, but if you want to take every safety precaution, pasteurized is best.

As a rule of thumb, avoid unpasteurized soft cheeses during pregnancy that could carry dangerous bacteria.