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.
Seafood is a necessary part of pregnant women’s diet. It is a good source of protein, low in saturated fat, and contains omega-3 fatty acids. All of these are important for the development of the baby. However, certain types of seafood are still a question.
Let’s talk about one – shrimp. It’s always a part of the seafood platter that makes an appearance at every party. So, the question is – can you eat shrimp while pregnant?
Can you eat shrimp while pregnant?
Yes, absolutely! You can eat shrimp while pregnant. Shrimp has low levels of mercury, that’s why it is safe to eat during pregnancy. In fact, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concludes that shrimp supports the baby’s development because of its high omega-3 fatty acids content, iron, iodine and choline. Shrimp is also a good source of protein and several vitamins and minerals, which are crucial for developing the baby’s organs, muscles, and nervous system.
Can I eat raw shrimp while pregnant?
No, it would be best not to eat raw shrimp while pregnant. Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses or bacteria, which can be found in raw shrimp. It is best to cook the shrimp thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present.
It also means you will have to keep away from sushi, sashimi, and other raw seafood dishes while you’re pregnant.
What to keep in mind when preparing or buying shrimp?
Of course, as with any food, there are certain things to keep in mind when eating shrimp while pregnant.
First and foremost, make sure the shrimp is cooked properly. There’s a good chance of raw seafood, including shrimp, being contaminated with bacteria or parasites, which can be dangerous to you and your baby.
There’s also a risk of foodborne illness, such as salmonella poisoning.
So, when ordering from a restaurant, make sure to ask that your shrimp dish is cooked well-done. When cooking at home, cook the shrimp until it turns opaque and has an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another thing to remember is to avoid shrimp that’s been treated with certain chemicals, such as sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, or sulfites.
Secondly, consume shrimp in moderation. Like any other food, too much of anything is not good for you. Eating too much shrimp can cause common side effects like indigestion, heartburn, and diarrhea.
It is best to consume shrimp (and any other seafood) 2-3 times a week in moderate amounts.
Lastly, buy shrimp from a fish market or grocery store with reputable seafood suppliers. The shrimp must be harvested from clean waters and/or have been properly refrigerated. It will ensure that the shrimp is fresh and of good quality.
Yes, it is safe to eat shrimp while pregnant.
You’ll have necessary nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iron, iodine, and choline. Remember that it should be cooked properly, consumed in moderation, and from a reputable source.
It will ensure that you and your baby get the essential nutrients while minimizing the risks.