Eating Shrimp during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Grilled shrimp

When you are pregnant you do everything with caution and you also give a lot of thought to your eating habits. too You demand the weirdest things but are denied most of them as it might not be good for the health of the little one growing inside you. If you love seafood it becomes forbidden fruit since it contains so many pollutants, but isn’t it oh-so-delicious? One of the yummiest options is shrimp. And then you wonder is it safe to eat shrimp during pregnancy? If yes, then how? Dive into the details here with us and learn the dos and don’ts of eating shrimp during pregnancy. We will make sure you and your baby are satisfied and safe.


Can a Pregnant Woman Eat Shrimp?

The short and simple answer is yes! While most seafood are not good for mommy and baby, shrimp has a low mercury level and is safe to eat when cooked well. However, as is the case with any good thing – eat it in small doses at about 340g a week. That should cover two meals but if it gets done in one sitting, don’t worry. No one will judge! After all, you are eating for two!

A woman eating shrimp

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Shrimp while Pregnant?

Shrimp is a healthy food and a storehouse of nutritional value. Shrimp is equipped with a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are good for you and your baby. Find out what are the health benefits of eating shrimp:

  1. Low-fat: Shrimp is an all-round healthy option as it has a low-fat content so there are no concerns regarding weight gains or spikes at an unhealthy level.
  1. Protein Alert: Shrimp has high levels of protein which is key to foetal growth. A majority of the shrimp’s edible portion is water (75%). Out of the remaining 25%, 80% is protein. And the good thing about eating shrimp is that it is rich in amino acids.
  1. Iron-rich: For every 100 gm of shrimp you eat, you gain 1.8gm of iron, which is significant for overall baby growth and development. Iron also reduces the risk of anaemia in pregnancy and helps with blood supply to the baby. It also reduces the risk of premature birth.
  1. A good source of omega-3: Another element key to your pregnancy that can be found in shrimp are high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. What are these? Super-nutrients that help in the development of your child’s nervous system and eyes. They contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and studies have shown that women who consume safe seafood give birth to babies with more enhanced cognitive skills.
  1. Skip the pills: Go all natural with shrimp and do away with the vitamin and mineral supplements such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are essential to stimulate bone health, fluid balance, and regulate the production of enzymes. The 100g of fresh shrimp above would equip you with 100mg calcium, 40μg of selenium (boosts mother’s immunity) and 300mg phosphorus. This yummy seafood delicacy also contains the ideal amounts of vitamins A, D, E, B3, and B12.

Is It Safe to Eat Raw or Uncooked Shrimp when Pregnant?

This is not a good idea. Even when you are not pregnant, you should never eat raw, uncooked, or undercooked shrimps. They could contain worms and parasites that could make both mom and baby sick. Furthermore, they contain listeria which causes a bacterial infection. All these bacteria infect the foetus by passing through the placenta, and in some cases even cause a miscarriage. Uncooked shrimp are even exposed to antibiotics that could cause serious impediments to your baby’s development.

A woman consuming shrimp

Ways to Eat Shrimp Safely in Pregnancy

If you love shrimp you must be looking for ways to make it more delicious. Well, your search ends here. Below are some ways to eat shrimp safely:

  • Consider eating shrimp the Indian way in curry or tandoori style.
  • You can use them in cocktails or tempura.
  • When eating shrimp ensure your food is from a source with no alerts for high levels of mercury.
  • Before you eat shrimp, ensure that it was stored well in the refrigerator and thaw it after you take it out.
  • Avoid salads, sushi, and sashimis, as these contain raw shrimp.

Which Species of Shrimps are Safe to Consume?

There are surprisingly a lot of sub-species of shrimp and while some are unsafe to eat, you will be delighted to know that there are many that are safe to eat.

  • Wild caught spot prawns: Massive shrimps that are found in the Pacific Coast of the US or British Columbia. Shrimps from these parts are very expensive.
  • Wild caught pink shrimp, bay shrimp, cocktail shrimp, northern shrimp: This is a species found in cold water. They are commonly used in salads, beans, or rice for garnishing.
  • Wild caught rock shrimps: Found in the Gulf of Mexico, these regular-sized shrimps are sweet to taste, look like lobsters, and does not require much time to cook.
  • US-farmed shrimps: Cultured under the US regulation act, they have higher standards.

Precautions to Take While Eating Shrimp if You are Pregnant

You should take certain things in consideration before eating shrimp during pregnancy, as it is not just you anymore. Know what should you keep in mind before eating shrimp:

  • Maintain your consumption to only 250 gm to 300 gm a week.
  • Check the water source for alerts on mercury levels.
  • Ensure that the species is safe to eat.
  • Eat it when it well-cooked.
  • Eat it at home as you will be assured that it is well-cleaned.
  • Ensure that the shrimp is boiled at 70°C to kill all bacteria and is well-cooked.Cooking shrimp

How to Cook Shrimp?

The only downside of shrimp whether you are pregnant or not is the agony of cleaning it thoroughly. It is a time-consuming process but is worth it for the yummy outcome and you will find yourself eating cooked shrimp soon enough.

  • If ithey have been frozen, thaw them thoroughly.
  • Clean them with warm water. Scale them, remove the intestinal tract and back vein. Use a sharp knife to ensure the deveining is easier.
  • Boil the shrimps at 74ºC as all bacteria die at this temperature.
  • Saute or fry them to ensure they are cooked properly.
  • When using the microwave, let it stand for three to four minutes, and then saute or fry.

Can You Eat Shrimp Paste?

Just the mention of shrimp paste makes your mouth water. It is safe to consume as long as it is prepared at home and cooked thoroughly. Do not trust the stuff on grocery store shelves or in restaurants.

And do not worry, you can still enjoy plenty of shrimp delicacies and a variety of recipes when you are pregnant. Pregnancy is a wonderful time and while you have to stay safe for your baby, shrimp is one delicious thing that you will not be denied. Ensure you prepare and cook it well and do not exceed the recommended amount.