Is Shellfish Safe When Pregnant? Details For Moms

During pregnancy, a rich diet creates an appetite for pregnant women and provides the fetus with many essential nutrients to meet the baby’s development.

Besides protein sources from fish, poultry, and legumes, shellfish is also on many people’s favorite list.

Is shellfish safe when pregnant? Let’s find out the answer through the following article.

Is Shellfish Safe When Pregnant?

Is Shellfish Safe When Pregnant?

There should be no problem for moms-to-be to eat shellfish, provided that they are cooked.

Raw shellfish might be a haven of harmful viruses and bacteria to harbor. For well-cooked shellfish dishes, they even benefit expecting moms!

What pregnant women eat has certain effects on the body and fetus, so many women worry about the question: Can I eat shellfish in first trimester?

According to researchers, shellfish is one of the great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of Omega-3 is essential for the development of the fetus.

In addition, this type of food also includes many other beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, and iron.

They play an important role in promoting the healthy development of the fetus, newborn, and later in life.

Thus, if you are also wondering about this question, the answer is YES. According to the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services and U.S.

Food And Drug Administration, expecting women can consume this seafood per week in moderation and in the right way.

The right way here means that you should only consume cooked foods in no more than 340 grams/week.

Raw clams, oysters, and mussels are delicious, but their mercury content and microorganisms can have serious consequences like bleeding (a sign of miscarriage).

Besides, mothers should eat slowly to see if the body has any reactions or allergies.

When the mother’s body has a history of allergies or sensitivities, she should stay away from this food because the development and completion of the fetus depend on the mother’s nutrition.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Shellfish During Pregnancy?

At the beginning of the article, we found the answer: Can you shellfish while pregnant? However, mistakes in eating can expose both mother and fetus to the following dangers and risks:

Beware Of Viruses And Parasites

In their “survival”, fish and shellfish are forced to digest many bacteria, viruses, parasites, chemicals, and other contaminants in the aquatic environmen.

These include the bacteria that cause cholera and the virus that causes hepatitis A.

It is worth noting that these bacteria and viruses are not harmful to mollusks but are very dangerous to humans.

Pregnancy changes your immune system, making it harder for you to fight off food microorganisms.

Similarly, a baby’s developing immune system is not capable of defending itself.

Therefore, eating raw or undercooked shellfish can lead to a higher risk of miscarriage or congenital disabilities.

High Mercury Content

Most shellfish contain mercury, a chemical that poisons mothers and harms the developing nervous system of babies.

The FDA recommends choosing seafood with low mercury levels. Mercury during pregnancy can build up in the blood over time, so it’s important to monitor your intake in this period.

There are many popular raw and undercooked shellfish dishes. For healthy people, consuming these foods is less dangerous.

But if you are in a high-risk group, be careful before eating them. Properly cooked seafood provides many healthful nutrients.

What Types Of Seafood Are Good For Pregnant Women?


Fish are very good for women in pregnancy because they contain a lot of DHA, Omega 3, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial to the mother’s health and the development of the fetus.

These nutrients help mothers reduce the risk of premature birth and depression.

It also supports the formation of the baby’s brain, reducing the incidence of eczema and food allergies in children.

At the same time, nutrients from fish also promote the nervous system, strengthen the brain and body, and comprehensive development right from the womb.

However, not all fish have such benefits. The list of safe fish during pregnancy includes freshwater fish such as carp and banana fish; remember that raw fish is not a good choice.


Is it safe to eat shrimp while pregnant? This food contains many nutrients for pregnancy, mainly protein and minerals such as Vitamin D, Selenium, Niacin, Vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, and copper.

This food is low in saturated fat but high in good cholesterol.

Therefore, during pregnancy, mothers can eat shrimp to provide the necessary nutrients for the fetus.

This food has the effect of preventing anemia, supplementing Astaxanthin for women, providing minerals, and increasing resistance for mother and fetus.

However, it is important to prepare it properly and use the right amount.

Salmon Roe

Salmon roe is a nutrient-rich food; its nutritional composition is not inferior to fish meat. Mothers eating salmon roe is a good choice for the health of mother and baby.

With the rich nutritional content in this food, nutritionists recommend that women add them to their pregnancy menu.

What Seafood Should You Avoid When Pregnant?

An appropriate and science-backed diet for pregnancy is essential for both mother’s health and fetus’s growth.

Still, apart from the foods that need to be added, there are things to avoid in early pregnancy:

  • Foods that are too salty: Only eat about 6g of salt/day.
  • High-mercury fish: A list of fish to avoid during pregnancy include Mackerel, tuna, pufferfish, and swordfish.
  • Raw and rare fish meat: Beefsteak, sushi, and raw fish meat contain bacteria such as salmonella, toxoplasmosis, and coliform, causing poisoning.
  • Grilled meat, bacon: poison when burning coal contaminates food and has the potential to cause cancer.
  • Undercooked shellfish


Is It Okay To Eat Clams While Pregnant?

Yes! For the fetus to develop good bones, an abundant amount of phosphorus is needed.

Eating clams will help provide adequate phosphorus to help form fetal bones better. The vitamin A content will help the baby’s vision development.

Studies show that the protein in clams is higher than in meat and helps fetal tissue to form earlier.

Eating clams during pregnancy helps provide potassium, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease, and stabilizes blood pressure for pregnant women, but don’t overdo it.

What Should Be Noted When Processing Seafood For Pregnant Women?

To have a nutritious and safe meal for pregnant women and their unborn babies, you should remember the following principles:

  • It would help if you ate seafood while still hot; limit eating cold seafood.
  • Do not eat processed seafood overnight and limit defrosting food.
  • If you plan to cook fish, leave the food in the oven for 3-4 minutes to ensure the meat is cooked through before removing it.
  • Only eat those that open the shell after being cooked like clams, scallops, mussels, and oysters. Otherwise, throw them away.
  • Cook food at a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius, and mothers should eat steamed, boiled seafood instead of fried foods that are too greasy.
  • Pregnant women should only eat seafood 1-2 times a week with about 300g – 340g for all types, according to Mayoclinic.
  • You can consult your doctor and take in the 21-day-fix for pregnancy to have a more healthy diet and workout.


What Types Of Seafood Are Good For Pregnant Women?

Above is information related to the question: Is shellfish safe when pregnant? The answer is Yes.

To get the most practical benefits from this type of food, you need to clearly remember what you should and shouldn’t eat, how to prepare it, and the standard amounts.

Hope this article helps you during this sacred time. Thanks for reading.

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