Which Seafood to Avoid When Pregnant

During pregnancy, it’s important to make sure you’re giving your body and your growing baby the nutrients they need to thrive. However, certain types of seafood can be harmful to both mother and child if consumed in excess. In this article, we will discuss which types of seafood to avoid during pregnancy to ensure a healthy and safe gestation period.

Seafood to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of excitement and anticipation, and it is essential to take care of oneself and the developing baby. For many, seafood is a go-to source of protein and nutrients. However, not all seafood is safe for pregnant women to consume. The risks of eating contaminated seafood can have severe consequences for both the baby and the mother. Here are some types of seafood that pregnant women should avoid:

High-Mercury Seafood

Mercury is a natural element found in the environment, and it can harm the developing nervous system of the fetus. Pregnant women should avoid seafood that contains high levels of mercury, such as:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King Mackerel
  • Tilefish

Raw and Undercooked Seafood

Eating raw or undercooked seafood can increase the risk of foodborne illness. Pregnant women should avoid:

  • Raw oysters
  • Sushi made with raw fish
  • Ceviche
  • Clams
  • Mussels

Refrigerated Seafood

Refrigerated seafood can be contaminated with listeria, a type of bacteria that can cause severe illness in pregnant women. Pregnant women should avoid:

  • Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, and cod
  • Sushi made with refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw or undercooked shrimp, crab, and lobster

Imported Seafood

Imported seafood may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses that can cause foodborne illness. Pregnant women should avoid:

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– Raw or undercooked seafood from foreign countries
– Raw or undercooked shellfish from foreign countries

Safe Seafood Options for Pregnant Women

While certain types of seafood should be avoided during pregnancy, others are safe to consume in moderation. Here are some seafood options that pregnant women can enjoy:

Low-Mercury Seafood

Low-mercury seafood is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Pregnant women can safely consume:

  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Pollock
  • Catfish
  • Tilapia
  • Cod

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood is a convenient and safe option for pregnant women. Canned seafood that is low in mercury includes:

  • Canned light tuna
  • Canned salmon
  • Canned sardines

Cooked Seafood

Cooking seafood thoroughly can eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses. Pregnant women can safely consume:

  • Cooked shrimp, crab, and lobster
  • Cooked clams, mussels, and oysters

FAQs – Which Seafood to Avoid When Pregnant

What seafood should I avoid when I am pregnant?

Pregnant women should avoid seafood that is high in mercury content, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. These fish can affect your baby’s nervous system, which can cause developmental problems.

Can I eat tuna when I am pregnant?

It is okay to eat tuna in moderate amounts when you are pregnant. However, you should avoid eating tuna that is high in mercury content. Albacore or white tuna is high in mercury, so it is better to stick to light canned tuna, which contains less mercury.

Can I eat sushi when I am pregnant?

It is best to avoid eating sushi when you are pregnant. Raw fish can contain parasites and bacteria that can be harmful to your baby’s health. If you still want to eat sushi, make sure the fish is cooked and avoid any raw fish.

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Is it safe to eat shellfish when I am pregnant?

Eating shellfish when you are pregnant is safe as long as you cook it properly. Raw or undercooked shellfish can cause infections that can harm you and your baby. Make sure shellfish is cooked thoroughly before eating.

Can I eat shrimp when I am pregnant?

Yes, you can eat shrimp when you are pregnant as long as it is properly cooked. Shrimp is a low-mercury seafood option that is safe for pregnant women, and it is also rich in nutrients that are good for you and your baby’s health.


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