Can you eat seafood while pregnant? We take a look at healthy options that will keep you and your baby safe and well. Read on.
Longing for a tasty fish curry? Or even just a good old-fashioned tuna sandwich?
If you’re expecting a baby, you might be having second thoughts.
So, can you eat seafood while pregnant?
The short answer is yes — but not all kinds.
And if that sounds confusing, don’t worry!
We’ve got all the info you need to make healthy choices for you and your little peanut.
In this article 📝
- Can pregnant women eat seafood?
- What seafood is safe while pregnant?
- How much seafood can you eat while pregnant?
- Can you eat shrimp when pregnant? 🦐
- Can I eat crab while pregnant? 🦀
- So, can you eat seafood while pregnant?
Can pregnant women eat seafood?
Just why is it that expecting mamas are advised to steer clear of certain foods?
Well, some options that our adult bodies can easily handle may cause problems for unborn babies.
That’s because their immune systems aren’t yet fully developed.
Sometimes, even grown-ups get food poisoning.
And the risks of that are higher with some foods than with others.
While the results aren’t pleasant at any age, they can be far more serious for unborn babies.
With seafood, the main dangers come from the mercury and bacteria it can contain.
The great news is, those risks can be managed well by eating the right kinds of fish.
And if you love seafood, there’s more good news!
A diet that contains fish will give your baby valuable nutrients to help them grow and develop.
In fact, the FDA recommends eating fish during pregnancy to support your baby’s brain development.
So what seafood can you eat while pregnant? We’ll take you through it.
What seafood is safe while pregnant?
Look for options that are low in mercury but high in healthy fatty acids. And luckily, there are plenty of types of seafood that fit the bill:
- Canned light tuna
- Freshwater trout
- Pacific mackerel
- Wild salmon — this is lower in mercury than farmed salmon
How much seafood can you eat while pregnant?
Well, it’s not an all-you-can eat buffet. But you can still enjoy a fair amount.
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that pregnant women eat between eight and twelve ounces of fish per week.
If you prefer tuna steaks to canned tuna, the recommended maximum is a little lower, at six ounces a week.
Can you eat shrimp when pregnant? 🦐
Shrimp often gets a bad rap.
That’s because raw or undercooked shellfish of any kind can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
That makes eating raw shrimp at any time a high-risk activity — and definitely something to steer clear of while you’re pregnant.
Cooked shrimp, though, is a different matter. And the great news is it’s very low in mercury.
On the FDA’s list of mercury levels in seafood, only clams and scallops score lower.
It’s also got plenty of healthy Omega-3 oils and proteins to help your baby’s development.
So if you enjoy shrimp, keep tucking in! Just make sure it’s properly cooked.
For more information, including on quantities and serving suggestions, head here.
Can I eat crab while pregnant? 🦀
Like shrimp, crab is a shellfish that’s low in mercury, so the same basic guidelines apply.
Stick to dishes that have been thoroughly cooked.
Remember the recommended weekly maximum of twelve ounces. And don’t eat it more than three times a week.
That will give you all the benefits of those fishy nutrients, without risking problems.
So, can you eat seafood while pregnant?
Seafood is a great way to include fatty acids and proteins in your diet.
All of this will help your baby’s brain development. And it tastes great, too.
Just pick varieties of fish that are naturally low in mercury, and try to stick to twelve ounces a week.
Also, keep to dishes that are thoroughly cooked.
And if you’re struggling to stay away from some of your favorite raw treats, know that this too will pass.
Why not plan a celebration for after your little one’s arrival? A big plate of sashimi might really hit the spot. 🍣
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