Cream can be found in many different dishes and even in some beverages. If you’re pregnant, you might wonder if you can safely include it in your favorite meals, drinks, and desserts.
Cream is generally safe to consume during pregnancy, provided it is pasteurized. In this article, I will discuss the different types of cream and their safety during pregnancy.
What types of cream are safe for pregnant women, and what might make them unsafe? Let’s find out.
Is it Safe to Eat Cream When You’re Pregnant?
Cream is generally safe to consume when pregnant as long as it is pasteurized. Just be wary that it contains a high amount of fat and calories, so it should be consumed in moderation.
Cream can also be marketed as “raw” or “natural,” which means it may not be pasteurized. You should avoid products labeled as such to avoid listeria.
Generally, cream is defined as the yellowish mart of milk that contains 18-40% butterfat (source: Mirriam-Webster). During pregnancy, the biggest concern about cream is the amount of fat and calories found in it and the pasteurization process it went through.
Cream often contains 36.1g of fat and 340 calories per 100g (source: USDA). According to government standards, pregnant women should have 20-35% of their daily calorie intake sourced from fat (source: NIH).
This means if you follow the standard 2000-calorie recommendation, you should consume 45g-77g or an average of 61g of fat per day. If you compare that to the amount of fat cream already has, that is more than 50% of your prescribed intake, which is very high. The same goes for the calories found in cream.
Cream is usually pasteurized, especially if it is packaged and sold commercially. Unfortunately, unpasteurized cream products are also available in the market and are usually labeled as “raw” or “natural” (source: Healthline). These products should be avoided during pregnancy to avoid listeria.
The table below shows the types of cream and other helpful information that may help you in choosing the best cream for you.
|Type of Cream
|Common Brands Safe for Pregnancy
|Good and Gather
Land O’ Lakes
|High fat content can lead to excessive weight gain.
|Light Cream (Table Cream)
Land O’ Lakes
Tuscan Dairy Farms
|As it has lower fat content, this is more susceptible to spoilage. Proper handling and storage should be observed.
|Half & Half
|Lower fat content can lead to faster onset of spoilage.
|High fat content
|Canned “squirty” Cream
Dean’s Classic Cream
Land O’ Lakes
|Nozzles can be a good place to harbor bacteria, so be sure to keep them clean.
|Devon Cream Company
|Sometimes sold as homemade, you can find these unpasteurized. Always read the labels. PDO-sealed Cornish Clotted creams are made with unpasteurized milk (eg. Rodda’s)
|When sold packaged and commercialized, it is generally safe to consume.
Can I Eat Creamy Pasta or Cream Sauces When Pregnant?
Creamy pasta is a common craving during pregnancy. When it comes to creamy sauces, the same precautions still apply. Sauces like alfredo, cheese sauces, lasagna, carbonara, and mac and cheese are all examples of creamy sauces. These sauces include milk, cheese, and cream as ingredients.
Creamy pasta is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as the ingredients used are pasteurized, heated until steaming hot, and handled correctly (source: McGill).
Most chain restaurants use pasteurized ingredients for their food items as these items are more shelf stable. Smaller restaurants may opt to use unpasteurized cheeses such as brie, camembert, chevre, gorgonzola, and blue cheeses to enhance and retain the traditional flavor.
When eating out, you may ask the restaurant to heat up your creamy pasta until steaming hot. This way listeria cannot survive in the food and your chances of food-borne illness are much lower.
Sauces sold in jars or “fresh” sauces sold in grocery stores have usually been processed, so they contain a significant amount of sodium.
Sodium is an important nutrient during pregnancy. Adequate intake helps build plasma volume, which can help support your growing baby’s needs, but too much can have negative effects, such as hypertension, water retention, and bloating (source: Cambridge).
Whipped Cream During Pregnancy
Whipped cream is usually added to sugary desserts such as cakes, as well as beverages like frappuccinos (some of which might also contain caffeine).
Whipped cream should be as fresh as possible. When desserts with whipped cream are not stored properly, the fat and the water content of the cream can separate, which leads to faster spoilage due to higher moisture content. To ensure safety, always consume heavy cream within two hours.
Fresh, Heavy, or Double/Single Cream When Pregnant
Heavy cream is high in fat and may not be the best option for pregnant women. Heavy cream is often divided into two types, depending on the fat content: single cream and double cream.
Single cream, or light cream, typically contains 18% fat, whereas double cream usually has 48%. Single cream is lighter and thinner and is usually used in desserts. It also makes a creamy addition to soups and sauces.
Single cream is a more suitable option for pregnant women as it has a lower fat content but is still creamy. Double cream is thick and dense and is often used as whipped cream due to its high fat content (source: My Wellbeing Journal).
Canned (“Squirty”) Cream During Pregnancy
Canned creams that can be purchased in spray bottles are one of the most common and accessible creams available. These products are safe to consume during pregnancy since they are usually pasteurized. However, once it reaches room temperature you need to consume it within two hours in order to avoid any unwanted bacteria (source: UWYO).
Another safety concern here is the nozzle part of the canned cream, which needs to be kept clean to avoid any bacteria build-up. Opened canned creams should only be kept in the fridge or freezer for 2-3 months after opening.
Clotted Cream When Pregnant
Clotted cream has more of a sour cream consistency and is common in the UK. It is typically served with biscuits or scones at tea time. It usually contains 55% fat but can reach an average of 65% fat.
With this high fat content, it may not be the best option for pregnant women, but it can still be consumed in moderation as long as it is pasteurized.
When looking at clotted creams, be wary of the Protected Designation of origin (PDO) seal, which means that the milk used in the production is unpasteurized. You should avoid these products (e.g., Rodda’s).
Whether you’re looking for a delicious addition to your pasta or a sweet topping for pie, I hope this article has helped you choose the cream that is the best fit for you and your baby’s health!