Can You Eat Eel While Pregnant? [Explained]

Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Verified by Edna Skopljak MD

Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.

Like most seafood, eel is often asked about when it comes to the dos and don’ts of your diet during pregnancy.

If you’re a fan of the fish or looking to try it out while you’ve got a baby on board, this article explores whether you can eat eel while pregnant.

Stay tuned to learn if eel is high in mercury, if you can eat BBQ eel while pregnant, or if expectant mothers can consume fried or jellied eel. You might be shocked by the answers.

Can You Eat Eel While Pregnant?

Yes, you can eat eel while pregnant if it is fully cooked. Uncooked eel is toxic, so the only way for anyone to safely consume eel is if it is properly cooked. Even sushi rolls containing types of eel such as Unagi, Anago, Kabayaki, or Unadon are safe to eat because they are either cooked or boiled.

As noted by the Mayo Clinic, the majority of seafood must be cooked to an internal temperature of 145℉ (63℃).

To ensure that your eel isn’t undercooked, slice into the thickest part of the fish to check that it is cooked all the way through.

Eels are also beneficial for pregnant women to eat. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and are packed with calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, manganese, zinc, and iron.

The FDA confirms that nutrients in fish, like Omega-3 fats and iron support the baby’s brain development during pregnancy. Additionally, both iron and zinc help build children’s immune systems.

Are Eels High in Mercury?

No, eels are typically low in mercury.

According to the NRDC, certain fish and shellfish, including eel have lower mercury levels.
The FDA states that in line with Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fish with low levels of mercury can be consumed by pregnant women in portions of 8 to 12 ounces weekly.

Eating responsibly sourced eel is also very important. You should always be aware of where your food is coming from.

Ultimately, as long as you stick to the recommended consumption of low-mercury fish like eel during pregnancy and buy eel that comes from a reliable source, cooked eel should be a safe choice for expectant mothers.

Can You Eat BBQ Eel When Pregnant?

Yes, you can eat BBQ eel when pregnant.

Throwing eel on the BBQ is a common practice for consuming this seafood delicacy. As long as the BBQ process fully cooks the meat of the eel all the way through, there should be no issues.
Can You Eat Fried or Jellied Eel When Pregnant?

Yes, you can also eat fried or jellied eel when pregnant.

Fried eel is safe for pregnant women as long as it is cooked to a safe internal temperature. To ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked, you can always insert a sanitized food thermometer into the eel.

Jellied eel is also a safe meal for expectant mothers since properly cooking the eel is part of the jellying process even if the jellied eel is consumed when cold.


Since eel is always served fully cooked and is low in mercury, it is safe for pregnant women to eat in limited portions. Just make sure the eel is cooked all the way through to a safe internal temperature.