In the grand scheme of pregnancy, cravings may not rank very high on the symptom severity scale. But if you crave scallops and you literally feel sick at the thought of any other food, then that craving suddenly becomes the center of your universe. Can you eat it Should you eat it The debate about eating raw fish while pregnant can fluctuate with any Google search, but there are some consistent facts that remain relevant when navigating the fish markets.
First, don’t rule out seafood just because you’re expecting it. Eating seafood while pregnant can actually be beneficial due to its omega-3 fatty acids. “Seafood is rich in DHA [docosahexaenoic acid]which is helpful for fetal brain development, ”says Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, Founding Doctor and Chief Medical Officer of Ob / Gyn at Kindbody. When it’s boiled, says Dr. Vonne Jones, obstetric and gynecological caregiver at Total Women’s Care in Houston, Texas, seafood is a great source of iron, protein, and zinc. But when deciding what and how to eat it, keep in mind that it depends not only on the type of fish you eat, but also on how much and how often you eat it. Can you eat scallops? Yep (and yay!) … as long as you heat them up accordingly. Because a few raw slivers has the potential to make you wish you had the vegetarian risotto instead.
How do I know what type of seafood I can eat while pregnant?
One of the main reasons you might want to do a little more research before eating seafood while pregnant is because of mercury, or the amount of methylmercury in fish. Basically, mercury is in the air and it ends up in our waterways where organisms are converted to methylmercury, the US Environmental Protection Agency said. The more fish eat other fish, the higher the mercury content of the former can become. So as your approach to seafood, you can choose varieties that are lower in mercury, such as anchovies, crabs, flounder, lobster, salmon, shrimp, tilapia, and trout, among others, suggested the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The good news about scallops is that they contain less mercury. According to the FDA, pregnant women can consume two to three servings of these strains per week. On the contrary, the FDA has found that fish with the highest levels of mercury include shark, swordfish, and bigeye tuna, among others.
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Can I Eat Raw Seafood When Pregnant?
In some cases this will be a personal judgment; always discuss with your doctors and health care providers. “It’s not safe to eat raw fish during pregnancy because a bacterium that can grow on fish is called listeria,” says Jones. “Other viruses and bacteria are also known to be present on undercooked seafood.” While Sasan Romper says sushi can’t harm pregnancy by itself, you want to ensure the freshness of the protein.
“The biggest concern about eating raw seafood is food poisoning – if the fish isn’t fresh or hasn’t been handled properly,” says Sasan. The FDA points to the weaker immune systems that can occur in pregnant people as a reason to avoid the raw material.
How can I prepare seafood so that it is safe to eat?
When in doubt, you should avoid raw seafood. There are several ways to cook your fish, but it is a good idea to have a food thermometer on hand. “It’s safe to eat scallops while pregnant if they’re well cooked,” says Jones, who tells Romper that when cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit, they should be safe to eat. Eating a raw oyster can lead to vibriosis infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but baking, roasting, or cooking seafood reduces the potential for disease. To enjoy protein from the sea, just remember to take some precautions before serving.
Dr. Vonne Jones MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Total Women’s Care in Houston, Texas
Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, Founding Doctor and Chief Medical Officer of Ob / Gyn at Kindbody