Pregnancy Nutrients: Dairy

The white stuff

Discover how dairy helps your baby develop

Dairy products have a well-deserved reputation for supporting healthy bones. As sources of protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, they also contribute to the health of your baby’s heart, teeth and developing nervous system. Discover how much you should be aiming to eat each day.


What are the benefits of eating dairy during pregnancy?

Dairy foods can be important in pregnancy because they provide a variety of nutrients that support your baby’s development. Protein helps to build healthy tissue; fat is essential for energy and growth; and calcium and vitamin D both play vital roles in your baby’s normal bone development.

Aim to eat 2-3 servings of calcium-rich dairy foods each day. To make healthier choices, opt for low-fat varieties, such as low-fat yogurt; try reduced salt cheese; and use low-fat spreads instead of butter. When using cheese to add flavour, try using a stronger tasting cheese such as mature cheddar so that you don't need as much of it. 

Cheese to avoid when you’re pregnant

1200mgRecommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) of calcium each day during pregnancy
pak choy 80g
600mgglasses of semi-skimmed milk

What’s in a dairy serving?

Eating or drinking the 2-3 servings of dairy a day will help you meet your daily calcium and protein requirements. This includes the milk you have with cereal and in tea, so should be easy to achieve.

DairyProtein per 100g
Calcium per 100gDairy (average portion sizes)Protein per portionCalcium per portion
Whole milk3.3g118250ml8.25g295
Semi-skimmed milk3.4g120250ml8.5g300
Skimmed milk3.4g122250ml8.5g305
Cheddar cheese25.4g73930g7.26g221.7
Half-fat cheddar32.7g84030g9.81g252
Cottage cheese12.6g12790g11.34g114.3
Whole milk yoghurt5.7g200150ml8.55g300
Low fat yoghurt (plain)4.8g162ml150ml7.2g243

Cream and butter are classed as fats so should be only eaten in small amounts. Cheese should also be limited, due to the saturated fat and salt it contains, and some cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy altogether, including soft blue cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert. These can contain listeria, which is a bacteria that carries significant risks during pregnancy. It’s also important to make sure any milk and dairy foods you consume are pasteurised.

Dairy-free diets

If you're lactose intolerant or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you can substitute dairy with other food sources of the nutrients that dairy products would otherwise provide. Protein can be obtained from meat, fish and pulses, while soy products and dark green leafy vegetables are recommended for an adequate calcium intake. For vitamin D, regular exposure to sunlight and taking the recommended 10mcg/day as a supplement will help you meet your needs..


Foods that contain dairy

As sources of protein, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D, they also contribute to your baby’s heart health, teeth and developing nervous system.

If you suffer from lactose intolerance, aged hard cheeses are worth trying as the processing reduces the lactose content. You may also find that you can tolerate yogurt, which contains less lactose than milk due to the bacteria and cultures it contains.

Your midwife or healthcare professional will be able to advise you further about getting sufficient levels of calcium and other beneficial nutrients in your diet.

Next steps

Foods that contain dairy

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese

Your baby's future health begins here

At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; and that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

mom and baby

Get in touch with our Careline experts

Our nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch

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  2. British Nutrition Foundation. Protein [Online]. 2012. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  3. NHS. Vitamins and nutrition in pregnancy [Online]. 2017. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  4. NHS. Are hard cheeses safe to eat during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  5. NHS. Why can't I eat soft cheese during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  6. NHS. Listeriosis. [Online]. 2017. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  7. NHS. Is it safe to eat goat’s cheese during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  8. NHS. Can I eat cooked brie and blue cheese during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  9. NHS. Milk and dairy foods [Online]. 2018. Available at: [Accessed February 2020]
  10. Savaiano DA. Lactose digestion from yogurt: mechanism and relevance. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99(5):S1251-55.

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