Verified by Patricia Shelton MD
Patricia Shelton holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and a Bachelors degree in neuroscience, both from the University of Washington.
While it is generally recommended that pregnant women avoid eating raw shellfish, there are conflicting reports on whether or not this is necessary.
Some sources maintain that pregnant women can safely eat crab, while others advise against it.
So what’s the truth? Can you eat crab while pregnant?
Let’s take a closer look at the evidence.
Can you eat crab while pregnant?
The good news is, yes! You can eat crabs while pregnant. Crab meat is safe for pregnant women to eat if it’s cooked properly. Studies even showed that crab meat could provide health benefits for pregnant women, such as reducing the risk of congenital disabilities and pre-term labor and improving women’s mental health.
Benefits of eating crab during pregnancy
Crab meat is a good source of nutritional benefits, such as protein, which is good for the baby’s development.
It also has omega-3 fatty acids for the baby’s brain development, selenium, an antioxidant that can help protect the body against free radicals and reduce the risk of thyroid function abnormalities after pregnancy, and vitamin B12, for the maintenance of red blood cells.
All of these are essential for a pregnant woman and her developing baby.
Moreover, crab meats are low in calories and fat, making them a healthy choice for pregnant women who want to watch their weight post-pregnancy.
The bad news is that you should avoid eating crab meat if it’s raw or undercooked. It is because there is a risk of food poisoning from bacteria or toxins in crab meat.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning, which can lead to serious health complications for the mother and the baby.
Additionally, pregnant women should avoid eating crab meat from unsanitary places or those with poor food safety regulations, as there is a greater risk of contamination.
How many crabs can I eat while pregnant?
Professionals recommend pregnant women eat no more than 2-3 servings of seafood per week. It includes all seafood, not just crab.
So, if you’re planning on eating crab while pregnant, limit your intake to 1-2 servings per week and eat other types of seafood as well.
Tips when buying or cooking crabs
When buying crab meat, look for those that are refrigerated or frozen, as these have a lower risk of contamination. If you’re buying fresh crab meat, ensure it’s from a reputable source and has been appropriately handled and stored.
It’s also important to cook crab meat properly to kill any bacteria or toxins that may be present. The best way to do this is to boil, bake or steam the crab meat until it’s cooked through.
So there you have it! Crabs are safe for pregnant women to eat if they’re boiled, baked, steamed or cooked correctly. Avoid eating raw or undercooked crab meat to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Contrary to popular belief, crab meat can provide some health benefits for pregnant women. Just be sure to limit your intake to 1-2 servings per week and eat other types of seafood as well.
Do you like crabs? Would you like to include them in your diet?