In a nutshell

Yes, these continental cheeses are safe to eat when you're pregnant.


The expert view

Going away to the Netherlands, Switzerland, or even Scandinavia? Then your breakfast buffet will most likely be overflowing with an array of sliced cheeses or chunks from a wheel, from the mild and rubbery to the aged and holey.

So how do you know whether they are safe to eat when you’re pregnant?

Well, the good news is that cheeses like Gouda, Gruyère and Jarlsberg are classed as hard cheeses, which are considered safe by the NHS to enjoy during pregnancy. They are also a great source of calcium – which is needed to help build strong bones and teeth.

These kinds of cheeses are safe to eat, even if they are made with unpasteurised milk – which many of them are.

These cheeses include:

  • Edam
  • Emmental
  • Gouda
  • Gruyère
  • Jarlsberg
  • Maasdam (Leerdammer)
  • Parmesan
  • Port Salut

"There are so many different varieties of cheese available now that it is not always easy to know what is and isn’t safe," acknowledges our nutritionist Dr Rana Conway. "But Edam and similar cheeses such as Leerdammer and Port Salut, which are essentially hard but often have a slightly rubbery texture, are safe to eat in pregnancy."

What do mums writing on our forum say?

"Over Christmas, someone at a cheese shop told me that the risk of getting listeria was greater from pre-prepared salad in the supermarket than from cheese!?!

"But maybe that was from their cheese which isn't sitting around for ages before it gets to the supermarket? I didn't want to risk trying it out!" - alison_eardley

Find out about eating other types of cheese in pregnancy:

Are mozzarella, halloumi and feta safe in pregnancy?


What are the rules on cottage cheese. cream cheese and ricotta when I'm pregnant?


Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.