Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab?

2 years ago5 min read
Last updated: Mar 17 2023

Can pregnant women eat crab? Yes indeed! But you will just have to be a little more careful than normal about how it’s prepared – and specifically, how well it’s cooked.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab

We know that the big list of things you shouldn’t eat while pregnant can be a bit of a drag. We feel ya. But these things are sometimes overstated – and a bit of extra attention is usually all you need.

So, let’s dig into the details. Can pregnant women eat crab legs specifically? Is crab high in mercury? Can you eat crab in your first trimester? Let’s find out.

In this article: 📝

  • What seafood can pregnant women eat?
  • Is crab high in mercury?
  • The problem with raw crab
  • Can I eat crab in my first trimester?
  • Can pregnant women eat crab? Final thoughts

What seafood can pregnant women eat?

Seafood tends to be top of the list of things people say you can’t eat while pregnant. But it’s actually much more okay than the food police would have you believe.

The two main problems with eating seafood while pregnant are mercury and poorly cooked fish. While you can do something about the latter, the mercury thing is a bit trickier to sidestep. Some fish are just naturally high in mercury – and the problem is that, in too high quantities, mercury can cause some problems for you and baby. Other low-mercury fish, though, are a-okay.

What you can eat:

  • Properly cooked fish, smoked fish, or frozen fish – including shellfish (yep, that includes crab).

What you should limit: Docs tend to say don’t eat more than:

  • 2 portions a week of oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, or trout
  • 140 grams of tuna per week

What you should avoid:

  • Swordfish, marlin, shark – because these have lots of mercury
  • Raw shellfish. Sorry mama, no raw oysters for you! As far as crab goes, the only place you might encounter raw crab is at Korean restaurants. If you see “Gejang” * on the menu, that means raw crab, and you’ll want to avoid it until baby is out.

Is crab high in mercury?

The good news is that crab is not at all high in mercury. In fact, as fish go, it’s very low in mercury, right down there almost at the bottom of the list of high-mercury seafoods.

That means that crab should sit very happily on the “what you can eat while pregnant” list.

The problem with raw crab

Raw shellfish is definitely something you’ll want to avoid. Why? Because raw seafood can be home to all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and other nasty things.

Food poisoning can suck at the best of times. But when your immune system is already going a little haywire – as it probably will when you’ve got a little one in your tummy – you might not be as well equipped as you could be to get rid of these havoc-causing bugs.

So, if you’re going to eat crab, make sure it is cooked thoroughly. And if you’re eating a crab dish cooked by someone else, be 100% sure the crab is well-cooked before digging in.

Also: can I eat crab legs while pregnant? Absolutely. Same rules apply as with any other part of the crab. Just remember to cook them up thoroughly.

Can I eat crab in my first trimester?

The first trimester can be a tricky time as you get used to all the changes going on inside you. You may experience some fun physical changes that take you by surprise – nausea and headaches, weight gain and tiredness, and often random cravings for some foods and random revulsions for others.

But sure, you can eat crab in your first trimester. The same advice applies in these crazy 12 weeks as it does for the rest of the pregnancy.

Can pregnant women eat crab? Final thoughts

So yes, pregnant women can eat crab. Crab cakes, crab legs, Crab Louie – it’s all good!


The advice on what you can eat while pregnant remains only that: advice. So, if you would feel more comfortable cutting out crab from your diet completely, you do you. Or if crab’s your fave thing in the world, by all means, indulge to your heart’s content!

Happy crabbing, mama!

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