Is It Safe To Eat Calamari During Pregnancy?

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Calamari or squid is a good source of essential fatty acids. But, can pregnant women eat calamari? Read this post to clarify your doubts.

It is natural for you to try your best to do everything right to provide the best for your growing baby. So, you do not step back from giving up eating things that you love. Also, you may even try something against your liking to fulfill the target of a balanced, wholesome diet.

Read on to learn if you can add calamari to your pregnancy diet.

Is It Safe To Eat Calamari During Pregnancy?

Consuming about five ounces of calamari every week is considered safe during pregnancy and is beneficial for your developing baby.

Calamari is the Italian name for ‘squid’, which is high in nutritional value. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (1), proteins and other essential nutrients; and is low in sodium and saturated fat content. What about the mercury levels, though?

Calamari And Mercury

Almost all seafood contains some traces of mercury. Since mercury can have adverse effects on the nervous system of your developing baby (2), you need to stay away from the seafood such as tilefish, swordfish, marlin and king mackerel that contain a high level of mercury.

However, Calamari is one of the safest seafoods to be consumed during pregnancy as it is low in mercury content and high in nutrition. However, have it in limited quantities – not more than five ounces a week – to make the most of its goodness.

Nutritional Values And Benefits Of Calamari

Here is the entire list of nutrients you can find in three ounces of cooked calamari serving, and how they will benefit you (3):

NutrientsAmount % in the recommended daily allowance (RDA)Benefits
Copper1.8mg90%
  • Helps in the production of hemoglobin
  • Keeps blood vessels, bones, and nervous system healthy
Selenium44mcg63%
  • Regulates thyroid hormone
  • Prevents oxidative stress
Protein15g30%
  • Helps in repairing and building tissues in your baby
  • Develops immunity
Phosphorus213mg21%
  • Helps build strong bones and teeth in your baby
  • Helps form genetic material, enzymes, and cell membranes
  • Helps release energy during metabolism
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.389mg23%
  • Helps in metabolism
Vitamin B121.05mcg18%
  • Helps in the formation of red blood cells and genetic material in your baby
  • Formation of the central nervous system
  • Regulates fat and protein metabolism
Zinc1.48mg10%
  • Helps in the production of enzymes and insulin in the baby
Vitamin C3.6mg6%
  • Helps build immunity in your body
Iron0.86mg5%
  • Helps in the formation of red blood cells in your baby
  • Helps increase blood flow through the uterine walls

Nutritional food need not always be lacking in flavor. You can make it interesting to eat so that you reap its benefits while relishing the taste.

How To Consume Calamari WhilePregnant?

Here are some guidelines you must follow while consuming calamari when pregnant to obtain the best from this nutritious seafood:

  • Avoid eating deep fried calamari. Deep frying reduces its nutritional value as well as adds unhealthy saturated fats, which may contribute to excessive weight gain.
  • Eat steamed or sautéed calamari so that the nutrients are intact, and it is easy on your digestive system.
  • Make calamari at home with fresh vegetables and all the ingredients that can make the dish tasty for you.
  • Sauté calamari in green salads to make a delightful snack.
  • Thoroughly clean the calamari and cook it well.
  • Check the expiration date, freshness of the product, and hygiene of the store before you purchase calamari.

If you are allergic to calamari, then stay away from it during pregnancy. Before you start eating the seafood, make sure to talk to your doctor as she/ he can tell you if you need it in your diet during pregnancy.

Calamari has a high nutritional value and low mercury level compared to other seafood. Hence, it is considered beneficial for pregnant women and their developing fetuses. You can safely consume calamari after steaming it or sauteeing it with fresh vegetables. However, it is advised to avoid having it in raw or deep-fried form as it may compromise its nutritional value. Further, consuming raw fish seafood while pregnant is not advisable. Instead, you could add well-cooked calamari to salads or other recipes to enjoy its benefits.

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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs from the University of Mumbai. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health... more

Claudia Wilson

(MS, RDN, CSSD, CSCS)
Claudia Wilson is a registered dietitian/ nutritionist, a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition (CSSD), and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She founded ALL of NUTRITION and authored ONE-TWO PUNCH. She holds a BS in Public Health and an MS in Nutrition. Claudia spent 10 years as sports nutritionist for the University of Utah Athletic Department and in... more

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