*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and I cannot give anyone medical advice. I am sharing my opinions and experiences, and of course, do your own research and decide for yourself what is best for you and your family.*
Can I Drink Raw Milk While Pregnant?
This question is one that I had a few years ago when I was exploring new ways to eat. I was looking for the most nutritious and digestible foods I could give myself and my family, and of course, I came across raw milk.
Depending on who you ask, you could get a judgemental, “you should absolutely not drink that!”; a nonchalant shoulder-shrug answer, “I don’t know”; or even an enthusiastic, “yes, raw milk is delicious and we love it!” There are lots of opinions out there about raw milk, and I agree that sometimes milk should be pasteurized. In the case that milk comes from a large dairy farm that uses nonorganic feed or chemicals on its animals, crowded areas to keep cows with little to no access to fresh pasture, and/or potentially unhygienic practices in milk collection…I’d definitely want my milk pasteurized! Sick cows make sick milk and sick customers.
However, it is my opinion and experience that fresh raw milk sources that are careful to use hygienic milk collection practices, maintain good health in their animals, test their animals for disease on a regular schedule, do not use unnecessary chemicals on their animals, and fresh pasture is available to the cows/goats for ample space and fresh food, raw milk is highly valuable and safe.
My Experience With Raw Milk
My family has been drinking raw milk for about 5 years now; we drink between 2-4 gallons a week. We usually drink it straight and make a quart of raw milk kefir per day. It is not only a staple in our house but also one of our favorite foods! We have never gotten sick from it, and I’ve noticed that my children are all very “hearty.” They almost never get sick, are topping the growth and weight charts (in a good way), are able to avoid snacking in-between meals and have never had any dental problems. Their teeth are opaque, white, have no visible plaque, and are hard. They seem to have dense bones (haven’t broken any…yet!) and love their milk. If their body compositions aren’t 100% due to genetics, I am so happy to know they’re getting what they need to grow exceptionally well.
Reasons I Choose Raw Milk
My mom told me my teeth were “chalky” when I was a child. They were soft, had white blotches, and were very sensitive. I ate a lot of candy as a child and never had raw milk. When I did have dairy, it was typically low fat. I often had ear infections and struggled with digestion; I was constipated, bloated, and very hungry much of the time. I was sick a lot and had to get tubes twice; to this day, my hearing isn’t optimal. There were other factors that played into this, but I know that the huge difference from my childhood and how healthy my own children are could largely be due to what we feed them and what types of chemicals/pharmaceuticals they are exposed to (or…not exposed to).
I am so grateful that my children haven’t had to suffer through constant problems as I did as a child and still struggle with as an adult. I attribute much of the difference in how healthy they are to what I’ve eaten during my pregnancies, and how I’ve raised them.
Source Raw Milk From A Trusted Source
So, back to the question: is raw milk safe during pregnancy? I think raw milk is safe if it is from a good source. I’ve had raw milk during all of my (4) pregnancies and have only benefited from it. Some people will scold you for doing so, but ultimately, there is information available to everyone via credible sources on the internet (see below) and you should make your own health decisions, despite what other people think.
Check out the following resources for raw milk information:
- A Campaign For Real Milk (by the Weston A Price Foundation) www.realmilk.com
- Functional Medicine Doctor Chris Kresser on Raw Milk Reality: https://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-benefits-of-raw-milk
- The Raw Milk Institute Education and Training Center: https://www.rawmilkinstitute.org/
It is my opinion and experience that fresh raw milk from healthy cows and gathered hygienically is safe during pregnancy.
A Word Of Warning
The only thing I warn against is who you tell–because people love to share their judgments with you if they don’t agree with you or are ignorant of information (I find that ignorance rather than an actual disagreement is typically the case). Anyway, cheers to raw milk and good health!
Diane is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public. She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and four children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.