Can Pregnant Women Eat Scallops?

Team Peanutabout 2 months ago5 min read

If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury in your pregnancy diet, you might be wondering whether scallops are still on the menu.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Scallops?

You’ve heard things about avoiding certain seafood items, but are scallops one of them? Can pregnant women eat scallops?

Never fear, mama-to-be, this seafood staple is still good to go—though you might have to change up your recipe just a smidge.

Here’s the lowdown on how to enjoy scallops during pregnancy.

In this article 📝

  • Can I eat scallops when pregnant?
  • Are scallops safe during pregnancy?
  • Can you eat cooked scallops when pregnant?
  • Are scallops high in mercury?
  • Can pregnant women eat sea scallops?

Can I eat scallops when pregnant?

Yes and no. If you’re familiar with our guides to pregnancy-safe eating, especially when it comes to seafood, you may know by now that very rarely is there a straightforward answer!

So can I eat scallops while pregnant? Yes, but only if they’re thoroughly cooked, which can sometimes be hard to judge.

Sigh. It’s never simple, right?

Are scallops safe during pregnancy?

So what makes raw scallops unsafe?

Well, all raw meats and fish products may contain harmful bacteria that can make both you and your baby very ill.

Thoroughly cooking scallops kills off the bacteria and makes the food safe to eat.

Often, however, scallops will be pan-seared, meaning they’re cooked very quickly over a high heat to brown the outside but leave the inside semi-raw.

While you’re pregnant, this isn’t a safe way to consume scallops.

Chefs say pan-searing is the best way to preserve the scallop’s flavor and smooth texture. And they’d be right.

Overcooking scallops can make them incredibly tough and chewy (read: unenjoyable), so some pregnant women may choose to just skip scallops until after their baby is born.

Can you eat cooked scallops when pregnant?

So, can pregnant women eat cooked scallops? Yes, scallops must be fully cooked to be safe to eat during pregnancy.

Although not your usual cooking method, you may be able to grill or bake scallops or use them in sauces and pasta dishes to ensure they’re fully cooked.

You should also take care when selecting, storing, and preparing scallops.

Scallops should be bought fresh and eaten on the day of purchase (no shoving them to the back of the fridge and forgetting about them)!

If your scallops look or smell anything less than ocean-fresh, during pregnancy is not the time to risk eating them.

And remember: Clean the scallops thoroughly under cold running water, and pat them dry using a paper towel, before cooking. We promise all this hard work will be worth it!

Are scallops high in mercury?

No! In fact, the FDA categorizes scallops as particularly low in mercury, meaning they’re one of the best types of seafood to eat while pregnant.

Yay! It’s recommended to enjoy two to three palm-sized servings per week of low-mercury cooked seafood, which also includes crab and some kinds of tuna.

Eating scallops when pregnant comes with a whole load of benefits to both you and your baby.

Not only are scallops a great source of lean protein, but they also contain:

  • Vitamins C and B12
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Calcium

All these compounds do great work supporting a healthy diet for you and helping your baby grow and develop.

They sure pack a punch for such a small mouthful!

Can pregnant women eat sea scallops?

Finally, a word on the different types of scallops — is there a difference between bay or sea varieties when it comes to eating scallops while pregnant? Not really.

They’re both safe to eat once fully cooked, but because bay scallops tend to be smaller, you may be able to grill or fry these fully before they turn rubbery.

So, whether you’ve got your own chef’s hat on, or you’re heading out for a much-needed date night, scallops needn’t be off the menu.

Enjoy! You deserve it!

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