Is It Safe To Eat Shrimp During Pregnancy?

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Pregnancy is a time when your food cravings may be in full swing. Of the many foods that fall in the cravings list, shrimps is one. But, be it shrimp or any other seafood, you might want to know if it is safe to consume during pregnancy. If you are a seafood lover, with shrimp being your most favorite food, MomJunction will tell you if shrimp is safe to eat during pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Eat Shrimp During Pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to eat shrimp during pregnancy as they are low in mercury level. However, you should limit its consumption to 12oz (340g) a week and it should be properly cooked (1).

[Read: Prawns During Pregnancy]

Health Benefits Of Eating Shrimp When Pregnant:

Shrimp have high nutritional value, and may be beneficial in the below ways.

1. Rich source of omega-3s

Shrimp is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The fatty acid DHA supports the development of the brain, central nervous system, and eyes of the fetus (2).

2. Amino acids and proteins

Around 84g of cooked shrimp contains 21g protein (3). Shrimp are also rich in amino acids, which need to be taken from external sources as our body does not make them.

3. Essential vitamins and minerals

Calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium are essential minerals during pregnancy. They stimulate bone health, regulate enzyme production, and maintain fluid balance. 100g of fresh shrimp gives about 100mg calcium, 300mg phosphorus, and 40μg of selenium. Shrimp also contains vitamins A, D, E, B12, and B3 (4).

Calcium and phosphorus are essential for good bone and teeth in adults, and bone development in babies. Selenium may help boost a mother’s immunity.

4. Iron

Shrimps contain 1.8mg iron per 100gm (5). Iron helps reduce the risk of anemia in pregnancy and aids proper blood supply to the fetus. It also helps lower the risk of preterm labors.

5. Low fat

Shrimp is low fat seafood, which means they may be lower in calories than other seafood or animal protein choices.

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[Read: Crab During Pregnancy]

Can You Eat Raw Or Undercooked Shrimp?

You should never consume raw or undercooked shrimp. They are known to cause listeriosis (6), a bacterial infection caused by listeria found in raw seafood. The bacteria may also infect the fetus through the placenta, and can cause a miscarriage.

You can eat shrimp during pregnancy but it is important to cook them fully. You should avoid ceviche or other raw applications. Heat is needed to destroy the bacteria..

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How To Cook And Eat Shrimps?

The process of cooking shrimp is important to avoid the chances of infections.

  • Use cold running water to clean the shrimp. Peel the shrimp and remove the intestinal tract and the back vein which are easily visible. Use a sharp knife to devein the shrimp.
  • If you have stored them in the refrigerator, make sure to thaw them completely.
  • Boiling is the best method to cook shrimps. Cook them at 74ºC as they can lose the bacteria only at that temperature.
  • Saute or fry them only after boiling them properly.

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Which Shrimp Is Safe To Eat?

Not all species of shrimps are safe to consume. Bet shrimp from reputable suppliers and know the origin. Monterey Bay Seafood Watch is a great resource for knowing if your shrimp was sourced sustainable. The most edible shrimps during pregnancy are:

Wild caught spot prawns: They are massive shrimp caught from the waters of the Pacific Coast of the US or British Columbia. You may also buy the frozen ones.

Wild caught bay shrimp, pink shrimp, cocktail shrimp, or northern shrimp: They are cold-water, tiny shrimps used for garnishing and in salads, beans, or rice. Their origin is Oregon or the Northeast, and are of reasonable cost.

Wild caught rock shrimps: They look like lobsters and have sweet flesh. They cook quickly compared to regular shrimps. They are caught from the Gulf of Mexico.

The US farmed shrimps: They are cultured under US regulation act, giving them higher standards. They are harbored at the best farms.

Locally farmed shrimp, West Coast farmed shrimp, and shrimps from the Southern and Midwestern states are other choices.

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[ Read: Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy ]

Can You Eat Shrimp Paste When Pregnant?

Shrimps in the form of paste are very popular. Most countries of Asia and America use shrimp paste as a condiment to their diet. You can buy raw shrimps from the grocery stores and then cook them at home. You can enjoy a variety of recipes made of shrimp when pregnant, provided you cook them well and do not exceed the recommended amount.

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And, do not forget to check with your healthcare provider or physician before adding shrimp to your diet when pregnant.

If you have got anything to share regarding shrimps or if you have any tasty recipes, feel free to write to us.

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