Can Pregnant Women Eat Crawfish?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Crawfish?

Craving one of your favorite seafood treats and wondering can pregnant women eat crawfish? Is it a food that’s safe to eat during pregnancy?
Well, we’ve got some good news: Crawfish, when fully cooked and from a trusted source, is safe to eat while you’re pregnant.

Read on to find out more about the nutritional benefits of crawfish, recommended serving sizes, and other seafood you can enjoy when expecting a baby.

In this article 📝

  • Can you eat crawfish while pregnant?
  • How to safely prepare crawfish while pregnant
  • What seafood can you eat while pregnant?

Can you eat crawfish while pregnant?

Yep! Eating crawfish while pregnant is usually safe (unless you know you have a shellfish allergy, of course).

And it’s not only safe, but it also has some great health benefits. Crawfish is:

  • A source of lean protein
  • Low in saturated fat and a good source of healthy omega-3 fats
  • A good source of vitamins B12 and D
  • A good source of minerals, including iron, selenium, zinc, and iodine

Essentially, it’s a really nutrient-rich food that’s very beneficial for your body when growing a new human.

But what about other, less beneficial things that might be lurking in crawfish? Is mercury something to be concerned about?

Is there mercury in crawfish?

Crawfish does contain a small amount of mercury: 0.033 parts per million (ppm), according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But that’s considered a low amount, making crawfish one of the safest types of seafood to eat while pregnant.

How much crawfish can a pregnant woman eat?

To avoid any negative effects of mercury on your or your baby’s health, it’s best to limit the amount of crawfish (and other seafood) that you eat in a week.

Try not to eat more than 8 to 12 ounces in total. That’s two to three 4-ounce servings of shelled crawfish tail meat.

As a guide, a serving is as big as the palm of your hand.

It’s also a good idea to:

  • Avoid imported crawfish. If you’re in the US, avoid imported shellfish and stick to home-produced crawfish. As the industry is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can be more confident that US crawfish is low in mercury.
  • Check for marine advisories. If you want to eat crawfish caught by a friend or family member, check whether there are any marine advisories linked to the body of water where they’ve been fishing. This will help confirm that the water isn’t polluted or contaminated in some way, which could make the crawfish unsafe to eat.

How to safely prepare crawfish while pregnant

Here are our top tips for preparing crawfish safely, so you can enjoy it with peace of mind:

Practice good food hygiene

Wash your hands before you start. Use a separate chopping board and utensils for preparing raw fish (including crawfish) if possible.

After handling the raw crawfish meat, wash everything that has touched it thoroughly: your hands, board, utensils, and countertops.

This helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria from the raw meat around your kitchen, reducing the risk of infection.

Check the temperature when cooking

Cooking crawfish thoroughly will get rid of any bacteria or pathogens in the meat, making it safe to eat.

Eating raw or undercooked crawfish could lead to food poisoning.

This isn’t fun at the best of times, but it could be more harmful when you’re pregnant, as your immune system is weaker.

Whether you’re boiling, steaming, or frying, it’s important to check that the meat has reached a high enough temperature all the way through.

Ideally, use a cooking thermometer to see if the internal temperature is at least 165⁰F (74⁰C). If it’s not, keep it cooking!

What seafood can you eat while pregnant?

So, crawfish and pregnancy are pretty good friends, but there are lots of other types of seafood you can enjoy too.

In fact, there’s a long list of fish that the FDA recommends as safe and nutritious for mamas-to-be, and which are low in mercury. These include:

  • Anchovy
  • Butterfish
  • Haddock
  • Plaice
  • Salmon
  • Freshwater trout
  • Whitefish

…and many more. But remember it’s best to limit yourself to 12 ounces (in total) of seafood per week.

On the other hand, fish to avoid because of their high mercury levels are:

  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
  • Bigeye tuna

Can you eat shrimp while pregnant?

Shrimp, crab, and lobster are all from the same family of edible crustaceans as crawfish—the decapods (meaning “ten-footed”).

And they’re all typically low in mercury, making them safe to eat when you’re pregnant.

As ever, get them from a trusted source and fully cook them before you eat them.

So, anyone hungry?

More on pregnancy foods:
Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Sushi?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Calamari?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Mussels?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Scallops?
Can You Eat Seaweed While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Oysters While Pregnant?

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