Verified by Kimberly Langdon M.D.
Kimberly Langdon is an obstetrician/gynecologist with 19 years of clinical experience and graduated from The Ohio State University, College of Medicine.
When it comes to discussing what you can and cannot eat while pregnant, one of the most often talked about food groups you should avoid is sushi.
Though sushi is not recommended due to the raw fish used in many sushi dishes, there are, however, many options for pregnant women visiting sushi restaurants that don’t contain raw fish.
One of the most common questions about food at Japanese restaurants that is not about sushi is wasabi. Can pregnant women eat wasabi?
Can pregnant women eat wasabi?
Yes, providing that pregnant women only eat very small amounts of wasabi. Due to digestive changes that you undergo during pregnancy, eating too much wasabi while pregnant can cause digestive issues such as stomach aches or heartburn.
It can also make some issues faced in pregnancy worse, such as morning sickness, and worsen problems like diarrhea and allergies.
Wasabi in small doses can be beneficial during pregnancy, as it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Most wasabi that is not bought from a Japanese restaurant or a specialist Asian supermarket is not actually wasabi but a mix of regular horseradish paste, flour, and green food coloring.
As a result, it may not give you any of the health benefits of genuine wasabi but is often still strong enough in flavor to upset the changed digestive system of a pregnant woman.
What can a pregnant woman eat at a sushi restaurant?
There are still many available options for pregnant women to eat at a sushi restaurant that don’t involve raw fish. It is recommended that you choose sushi containing vegetables like cucumber or avocado or cooked seafood such as eel or imitation crab (typically made with pollock).
Tamago (egg omelet on rice), is also a safe option, as is miso soup, or bento boxes with rice, vegetables, and teriyaki chicken or beef.
The only foods that you need to avoid are sushi rolls with raw fish and dishes such as poke and sashimi.
While vegetable tempura is also safe, please be aware that the high-calorie content of the batter should not be overconsumed.
Does wasabi make you go into labor?
No, wasabi does not make you go into labor. The idea that eating spicy food is more likely to induce labor is a myth.
Do Japanese eat sushi while pregnant?
Japanese women continue to eat sushi while pregnant, and it is widely recommended in Japan that pregnant women eat sushi as part of a low-fat, healthy diet. Traditionally, Japanese hospitals give women certain sushi types during recovery following a baby’s birth.
Pregnant women can eat wasabi in small quantities, as it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
However, due to the changes in the digestion system during pregnancy, eating too much wasabi can cause heartburn, stomach aches, and diarrhea, and can increase issues like morning sickness.
There are also many options at sushi restaurants that pregnant women can eat that do not contain raw fish, so you should not be worried about going out with loved ones.