Is Seafood Safe During Pregnancy?

There are a lot of things about pregnancy that can be confusing to you and the right foods to eat come up high on the list. What foods are nutritious, what are the foods to avoid and what is fine in small quantities? There are a lot of questions that you might be wanting answers to. One such food that requires a bit more deliberation and restrictions during pregnancy are seafood. 

While people do not eat seafood regularly, it is often enough part of the regional culture or lifestyle that it becomes a cause for concern. 

Can pregnant women eat seafood?

Out of all the foods that pregnant women are told to avoid, seafood is something that garners polar opinions. On the one hand, most seafood is known to be a rich source of proteins, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that are good for health. On the other hand, many varieties of seafood have been known for their harmful effects on the health of pregnant women and their unborn children. So, the most accurate answer to the question asked is that you can eat some of the seafood while others are strictly advised against for your healthy pregnancy

What types of seafood during pregnancy can you eat?

Seafood is often good for the development of your baby through the various trimesters of pregnancy. These types of sea fish during pregnancy are rich in healthy oils like omega-3 DHA, in Vitamin D and iron as well. All of these things mainly contribute to the brain development of your child. Here is a list of all the seafood during pregnancy that is safe and healthy:

  • Salmon is the most popular choice.
  • Anchovies are not available everywhere but still preferred.
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Freshwater trout
Woman buying the right seafood during pregnancy.

Some other safe options also include:

  • Shrimp
  • Pollock
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Catfish

There are many times that fish and other seafood are an ingredient in your meal, hard to recognize and check. In such cases, it is better to be cautious rather than taking the chance. If you know the name of the ingredient, be sure to check with a doctor or a dietitian whether that particular sea fish during pregnancy is safe and only then consume.

Guidelines for eating sea fish during pregnancy

Considering all the positive effects and health benefits of consuming seafood during pregnancy, there are bound to be some of you who will want to know the best ways to eat it. So, here are some things to keep in mind when consuming seafood:

  • Do not go for predatory, large fish
    Bigger and more predatory fish usually have high levels of mercury in them which can cause harm to you and your baby. The best way to check that is to avoid these specific fish completely.
  • Avoid eating any raw seafood
    Other than the high mercury levels, seafood also holds the potential risk of giving you infections from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. To avoid any such disease-carrying food, make sure that you do not consume any raw seafood like sushi, sashimi, smoked jerky, refrigerated seafood etc.
  • It is good to know your local fish
    If you are from an area where local fish is available and part of your diet, be aware of the advisories and circumstances regarding it. If you cannot know the conditions of local waters and local fish, limit your consumption of them around 150gm a weak.
  • Know how to cook seafood properly  
    Even when you are eating cooked seafood during pregnancy, you have to make sure that it is properly done and no part of it is left raw or uncooked. There are several ways to check if your sea fish during pregnancy is cooked well.

Indications that your seafood is cooked properly

Given below are some signs and indicators that you should look for in properly cooked seafood to avoid chances of potential harm to you and your unborn child. 

cooked sea fish during pregnancy that you can eat
  • A cooked fish is opaque on the inside, and the flakes begin to separate when checking with the help of a knife.
  • For seafood like lobsters and prawns, they turn red on the outside, and the inner flesh turns opaque when cooked well. Scallops are also milky-white and firm on the inside after being cooked.
  • In the case of mussels, oysters and clams, being fully cooked means that their shell opens easily.
  • And if all these instructions seem too complicated or detailed for you to remember, make sure that it has been cooked at 63-degree celsius or more, only then can pregnant women eat seafood.

Whether it is the first trimester or a later trimester of pregnancy, keeping your diet safe, healthy and regulated is very necessary. Seafood is a delicacy that is loved by many of you, but it is not without its own side-effects in regards to baby development and your health. Other than these rather severe effects, the smell and taste of seafood also often triggers nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. For those who still enjoy and even crave specific seafood, some restraint and caution are necessary to be exercised. After all, what you eat is a big part of how your pregnancy fares and ultimately leads to the delivery of a healthier baby.

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