Pizza is not the healthiest food

Pizza is unhealthy, junk food, full of calories, and fat. I know how much fat is in the cheese. I know how many carbs a single slice has. One regular slice of pizza has about 300 calories. Today I went to lunch at our favorite pizza place with my sister-in-law and her four-month-old, and we talked about how hard she tried to resist pizza during her pregnancy. I was confused for a moment and asked why pizza was off-limits, but I understood as she explained it wasn’t about the ingredients in the pizza itself. Instead, it was just one of those foods she was consistently craving but resisting for its high-calorie count. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that someday I will not be able to go nine whole months without pizza. So, relax—pizza is safe during pregnancy, as long as you’re eating the right kind.

Pizza and cheese could be dangerous in pregnancy

Pizza is often cooled in advance and stays on the counter at room temperatures for a long time. This allows potentially harmful bacteria to grow in and on it. Of course, a lot of pizza every day will cause you to gain much more weight than you need to. However, some fancier pizza is in fact off-limits. Studies show that soft cheeses are potentially dangerous during pregnancy because, like deli meats, they can contain Listeria which has been linked to serious pregnancy complications. Listeria is not killed by freezing, and is killed at temperatures above 165ºF. Microwaving does not kill Listeria either. Though not all soft cheese contains listeria, avoiding them will ensure that you don’t consume it. In order to get rid of listeria, food has to be heated to over 165ºF, and if the pizza was in a typical pizza oven and the cheese is bubbling, you can be relatively sure the temperature is well over 212ºF and has killed Listeria. 

There are also problems with frozen pizzas which have been recalled because harmful bacteria were found in them

The same goes for most forbidden food during pregnancy. The chances are low, but the risk is great. It’s much easier to avoid soft cheeses for nine months than to care for a serious health defect that your child has for the rest of his or her life. Goat cheese, Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, blue cheese, and Roquefort should all be avoided until after your baby has been born.

As far as regular pizza goes, you and your baby are perfectly safe. As long as you eat it in moderation so that you don’t gain an outrageous amount of weight, give into those salty cravings and head to your favorite pizza place. However, make sure you avoid fancy pizza. If you want to order a “white” pizza, ask which types of cheese are in the blend. Mozzarella cheese is fine, so have at it. Cheeses that are made from raw milk are the ones you need to watch out for.

Source: K.A. Jackson et al: Pregnancy-Associated Listeria. Cambridge Journals Online Volume 138 Issue 10 October 2010.