You are bearing a baby but craving for seafood and mollusks like clams. But one question arises: Can pregnant women eat clams?
Don’t worry because this article will provide you with detailed information about this question and other dishes that you should pay attention to when having a baby. Let’s find out together!
What Are Clams?
Clams are the name of sea creatures that are a part of the invertebrate group named mollusks. Their different name is shellfish.
On the one hand, although some kinds of shellfish do not have a shell outside, others contain just one layer. On the other hand, clams have two bivalved shells.
Normally, the shell of this animal includes two valves, which are linked by a huge joint and an internal or external ligament. The role of this ligament is to help give tension to separate two valves apart.
Don’t overlook their small bodies. This sea mollusk has other body parts such as a heart, kidneys, a mouth, a nervous system and a stomach.
Regarding the nutrition value of this type of mollusk, they are well-known for being rich in protein and low fat.
Moreover, they have many essential nutrients needed for our health, such as iron, selenium, niacin, zinc, and magnesium.
This sea creature can also be used to make many kinds of dishes for people of all ages and tastes.
These things make these sea species a valuable and popular dish for many families all over the world.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Clams?
Expecting mom can safely consume clams if they are well-cooked!
Eating raw mollusks is a risky choice regarding whether you are having a baby or not because these raw creatures contain a high number of pathogens and bacteria that can trigger many diseases in people.
Some might worry about its mercury content. Like other seafood such as octopus, clam does come with this substance. Yet, the mercury level in clam is surprisingly low, at less than 0.01 ppm/3-oz serving.
We hope that the above information has given you a clear answer to the question: “Is it okay to eat clams while pregnant?”
Risks Of Diseases In Clams
Although the governments in many countries have put a lot of effort into ensuring that these sea creatures are edible, the safety is not ultimate.
In fact, consuming these raw creatures puts eaters at increased risk of medical conditions from bacteria and pathogens.
Therefore, it is advisable that people with a high chance of getting sick such as older people, children, women during pregnancy, or immunocompromised citizens, should not consume these raw species.
It was discovered in 2014 that eating raw dishes leads to a raised risk of Toxoplasma infection.
This infection usually happens by consuming infected foods such as meat or shellfish, impairing the transmission from the mother to the fetus route through the placental transfer when bearing a child.
For immunocompromised people, severe toxoplasmosis is an infection that is self-limited with some flu-like symptoms or lymphadenopathy because of the most popular clinical appearance.
Nevertheless, this disease may be dangerous with immunocompromised individuals as encephalitis can be considered the most ubiquitous manifestation.
These medical conditions can trigger many acute problems such as ocular lesions and intracranial problems, thus resulting in blindness or mental retardation when it comes to newborns.
One of the most popular food-borne bacteria is hepatitis A virus and noroviruses.
Consuming bivalve mollusks like clams, mussels, or oysters, are the most common culprit of such issues. In the place where these sea creatures develop, the water has been increasingly contaminated.
Regarding seafood-related outbreaks, about 45% are related to bivalve shellfish, such as clams, mussels or oysters.
Enormous outbreaks of viruses such as hepatitis A virus or noroviruses have been proved to have origins in eating these raw species.
Improper food preparation, such as boiling without enough water, has also triggered many medical conditions.
Clams Benefits In Pregnancy
Although these raw species may lead to some dangerous diseases for both mother and baby, they can provide many benefits to our health. In fact, they are one of the most nutritional shellfish.
For women who are bearing a baby, this dish can bring many nutritions. The first one is the rich source of protein and low fats, improving their zinc intake and overall immune system.
Secondly, these sea creatures also give the body excellent vitamin C density.
This source of vitamin C can play an important role in the health of the mother and baby as it can give the body collagen for tendons, skin, and bone.
Moreover, it is also necessary to develop their immune system and plays a role as an antioxidant that can protect cells from injuries.
Besides that, these sea species also have a rich amount of iron, which is a crucial mineral during pregnancy. Iron helps the oxygen transport in our body and supports many metabolic processes.
That’s why including iron when you are having a baby is of paramount importance, as this could minimize the chance of anemia and fatigue.
Last but not least, they also have a great source of vitamin B12, which helps produce red blood cells and supports the process of protein synthesis.
For people who are bearing a child, this mineral is essential for the development and function of the baby’s brain.
Therefore, eating these sea creatures can bring a lot of health benefits to the health condition of both mother and baby.
Hopefully, with the above information, you can understand both the pros and cons of consuming these sea species when bearing a child and have your answer to the question: Can you eat clams while pregnant?.
Clams Dishes Safe For Pregnant Women
There are some popular and tasty dishes from these sea creatures.
- Steamed clams: Steamed clams during pregnancy are a good and easy to prepare option. Just steam these shellfish and prepare a delicious sauce, and you can enjoy a tasty dish.
- Tinned/canned clams: This dish is safe when you are bearing a child if you make sure that these mollusks are shelf-stable.
- Clam juice: A delicious and safe dish for pregnant women in case it is cooked well and hot. It can be used as a soup or sauce base because it is well-cooked.
- Fried clams: This type of food preparation is also suitable for people who are having a baby. If these sea mollusks are quite big, just cut them in half and ensure they are cooked thoroughly.
- Stuffed clams: This dish often has oven-baked mollusks on the half-shell and is covered with ingredients such as cheese or breadcrumbs. This type of dish is completely safe when it is well-cooked.
As you already know the answer to the question: Are clams safe for pregnancy?, why not try out these above dishes for a delicious meal?
Tips For Cooking Unshucked Clams For Pregnant Women
You should remember some tips when preparing foods from these sea species. Find out below:
- When you cook these raw creatures, you should tap them gently to see if they are still healthy and alive. In case the shell is closed after processing, discard them at all costs.
- Clean or scrub them under the freshwater to remove debris or sand.
- Depending on where you buy them, you may need to rinse them to remove grits.
- Cook these mollusks for a suitable amount of time until they are well-cooked.
Is Cooked Shellfish Safe During Pregnancy?
The answer to this question is clearly yes. These sea species are a great source of vitamins and minerals for pregnant women if they are fully cooked.
However, this rule applies to the mollusks that do not have toxic chemicals.
Which Seafood To Avoid During Pregnancy?
Although seafood is a great source of proteins and minerals, there are some types of seafood that you should avoid during pregnancy, especially those with high levels of mercury, such as:
- Bigeye tuna
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
Which Seafood Is Safe During Pregnancy?
There are also some kinds of seafood that are safe when having a baby.
- Light canned tuna
- Pacific oysters
Remember that you should not eat over 168 grams of white tuna per week.
Can You Eat Clam Chowder?
After knowing: Are clams safe for pregnancy?, you may think of clam chowder as the delectable way of consuming these mollusks.
Fortunately, it is safe for pregnant women to eat every kind of clam chowder in case other ingredients in this dish are not dangerous.
When you add cream or milk to this dish, remember to pasteurize them to kill bacteria.
Moreover, you should also check the freshness of these sea species and boil them for about three minutes until they are well-cooked.
Clams and pregnancy can be a friendly bond when you check their quality and cook them properly.
What Is The Mercury Content Level Of Clams?
It is important to limit the mercury level that you eat during pregnancy. And fortunately, they have considered sea creatures with low levels of mercury.
Therefore, you do not need to worry about “Can pregnant women eat clams?“
When having a baby, what you eat is important as this will have a special impact on both mother and baby.
Try to be a wise consumer when it comes to eating seafood, drinking ensure, or consuming fruits and cereals.
Hopefully, this article has given you detailed information about the question: Can pregnant women eat clams?
so that you can have a safe, balanced and healthy diet during your pregnancy weeks.