Can You Eat Oysters When Pregnant? [Explained]

Verified by Kimberly Langdon M.D.
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.

People often enjoy oysters during their pregnancy. However, there is a common debate over whether or not oysters are safe for the mom and their developing babies. 

This article will explore both sides of the argument and provide you with the latest information on oysters and pregnancy. Specifically, we will answer the question – can you eat oysters when pregnant?

Can you eat oysters when pregnant?

The short answer is yes. Oysters are safe during pregnancy. However, a few things must be considered before indulging. 

The type of preparation and where the oyster was sourced can all affect its safety during pregnancy.

First and foremost, raw oysters are off-limits. This is because raw oysters – or any raw seafood – can be contaminated with bacteria or viruses that can lead to food poisoning. 

One possible case is listeriosis, a bacterial infection that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or preterm labor. 

It can also lead to severe health problems for the baby, such as meningitis, respiratory problems, and sepsis.

To reduce the risk of food poisoning, make sure you only eat oysters that have been properly cooked. 

You can try baking, steaming or frying your oysters until they become plump and their edges curl. This will ensure that any unwanted bacteria or viruses have been killed.

Second, remember that oysters contain mercury, a toxic substance that can accumulate in your body and potentially harm your baby’s developing nervous system. 

For this reason, it’s crucial to make sure that the oysters are fresh from a reputable source and avoid eating oysters from areas with poor water quality. 

If you’re unsure about an oyster’s freshness, ask your doctor or a dietitian for a good alternative.

Third, avoid consuming too many oysters. Although there are nutrients in oysters that are beneficial for pregnancy, eating too many can be detrimental. Too many oysters can result in indigestion, diarrhea and constipation. 

Limiting your intake to 2-3 servings per week is suggested.

Can I eat smoked oysters while pregnant?

Because smoking doesn’t thoroughly cook oysters, it would be best to avoid them during pregnancy. If you’re craving this dish, you can try roasting or grilling oysters instead.

What are the benefits of eating oysters during pregnancy?

Cooked oysters can be a great source of nutrients during pregnancy.

They are high in protein, low in fat content, and a good source of iron and zinc – all of which are important for a growing baby.

They are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for developing the fetal brain and retina.


Overall, pregnant women can enjoy oysters as long as they are cooked properly and consumed in moderation. Oysters are very nutritious and can offer many benefits during pregnancy.

However, check your resources to ensure you are getting fresh oysters and avoid buying oysters from markets with contaminated water.

However, you will have to check with your doctor first to ensure that oysters are safe for you and your baby. It’s always on a case-to-case basis, so you should get a professional opinion.