For many women, a delicious treat once in a while may be a way to ease out the challenges brought about by pregnancy.
Have you considered the milky, fruity taste of a frozen yogurt as an alternative to ice cream (or other sweets?)
Unfortunately, some foods have been known to complicate pregnancies and are best avoided. Is frozen yogurt one of these foods? Let’s find out!
So, can you eat frozen yogurt when pregnant?
The good news is that commercially-prepared frozen yogurt is usually safe to eat while pregnant. However, pregnant women might need to avoid eating soft-served yogurt due to the potential contamination of a strain of bacteria called listeria, which can be fatal for pregnant women.
If you’re reading this, it’s more likely that you are planning or have already consumed frozen yogurt while pregnant. Let’s answer a few more questions regarding frozen yogurt and pregnancy.
Is it safe to eat frozen yogurt while pregnant?
Commercially prepared, frozen yogurts are typically safe to consume while pregnant because these products often undergo the process of pasteurization. This is the type of yogurt that you can buy at supermarkets or grocery stores, that you can bring home to consume at a later date.
Pasteurization refers to the heating process over a specific time and temperature to kill any pathogen in the milk products. This process helps preserve milk and milk products to make them safe to consume for a longer period of time.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the milk used to start cultures for dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and buttermilk often undergoes “vat pasteurization”. In this process, the milk and other liquid ingredients are placed in a large tank and heated for at least 30 minutes at 63 degree Celcius or 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, it is safe to say that you may eat store bought frozen yogurt as long as it is commercially manufactured, the packaging is sealed, and not past the “best by” or expiration date that is reflected on its packaging.
It would also help to be more careful and check the labels of your favorite fro-yo. Most of the popular brands of frozen yogurt, like Bulla, Ben & Jerry’s, Edy’s/Dreyer’s, Kemp’s, and Yasso, use pasteurized ingredients and therefore, can be safe options when eating frozen yogurt when pregnant. Still, you may want to have a quick look of the ingredients before you actually buy a pint of yogurt from the grocery store.
Can you eat soft serve frozen yogurt when pregnant?
A soft-serve frozen yogurt is the one that comes out of a machine and formulated to freeze stiffer such that it fits in a cone. Soft-serve desserts like this are designed to be eaten immediately and not to be stored for future consumption.
Eating soft soft yogurt during pregnancy may be considered risky, since moms-to-be are more vulnerable to infections due to their lowered immune response. Listeria monocytogenes, a type of bacteria that can infect humans through food, can thrive and multiply quickly in dark, moist and cool environments such as the soft serve dispensing machine. The same bacteria can also breed in raw foods like oysters and those found in some varieties of sushi, ready-to-eat refrigerated foods, and store-cut fruits and vegetables.
Once infected, pregnant women may experience flu-like and digestive symptoms. Worse, listeria may find its way across the placenta and infect the unborn baby, leading to premature birth, abortion and even death.
Sounds pretty scary! But hold on, there might be a chance that you can safely eat a soft-serve fro-yo due to following reasons:
- Many of the soft-serve desserts nowadays like ice cream and frozen yogurt, comes with pasteurized pre-mixes in powdered form, making them less likely to harbor listeria and other pathogens.
- Additionally, modern soft-serve machines are self-pasteurizing, meaning, the machine automatically heats up at night at a temperature high enough to destroy the potential pathogens lurking inside. Many of the huge fast-food chains offering soft serve desserts have already upgraded to these machines.
- Unlike ice cream, frozen yogurts are acidic in nature, making the environment less likely for listeria to grow.
So does that mean you can eat soft serve frozen yogurt when pregnant? The truth is, it depends.
If you have full trust in the machine and sanitary practices of the establishment serving soft-serve fro-yo, then the risk will be significantly lower. However, if you spot unhygienic areas near or in the machine itself, then it’s better to skip off the treat and find another place to eat.
Finally, pre-cut fruit should be avoided as a frozen yogurt topping. As mentioned, pre-cut fruit may also harbor listeria and put you and your baby at risk.
So therefore, you can eat frozen yogurt when pregnant as long as you’d be careful in scrutinizing the products that are safe for you and your baby. While the commercial varieties of frozen yogurt are deemed safer, be extra keen in checking their ingredients, seal and expiration date before taking them home.
As for the soft serve yogurt, be observant of their sanitary protocols and hygiene practices. Should you decide to have a taste of a soft serve frozen yogurt, make sure that it comes from a reputable establishment which regularly maintains their dispensing machine and serves only what’s best for their customers- including pregnant women of course!