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10 Permitted and prohibited seafood for the pregnant woman. Which ones to eat?

Mariscos permitidos e proibidos para a grávida

Permitted and prohibited seafood for pregnant women

Seafood is certainly among the most beloved foods of most people. During pregnancy, however, their consumption is not always safe. Do you know which shellfish a pregnant woman can eat and which ones are dangerous?

If you want to know, nothing will be better than to dive in with Baby on Board on this journey into the world of seafood.

During pregnancy, nutrition is a fundamental point of balance that can make all the difference in the health of mom, baby, and pregnancy itself.

The search for the best foods to eat during pregnancy, such as those rich in vitamin D, folic acid, or iron, is fundamental.

Equally fundamental is to understand which foods to avoid during pregnancy, since some of them can be dangerous foods, responsible for contracting salmonella or diseases such as toxoplasmosis.

Considering the risks that the consumption of seafood offers, both at this level and at the allergy level, many experts recommend that mothers-to-be try to stay away from these oceanic delicacies.

Although there are of course many dietary benefits to be found among seafood products, clinical experts fear that consuming seafood can be more harmful to pregnancy than beneficial to it, and for this very reason they ask that if pregnant women decide to consume them, they should still pay close attention to how they do so.

This is because, as with meat, even the seafood that a pregnant woman can consume will be a risk when undercooked or raw.

The microorganisms present in this type of food – such as toxoplasma or salmonella – are some of the biggest concerns of doctors.

Still, the pregnant woman must also be aware that it is not uncommon, when consuming seafood, for allergic reactions or food poisoning to occur, and that these, during the gestational period, are severely more dangerous.

Knowing all this, we set out in search of the most and least safe shellfish to consume during pregnancy and came up with the list of 10 shellfish that the pregnant woman can consume, dividing it between the 5 least safe options and the 5 safest options.

While these lists are based on studies and clinical opinions, it is worth emphasizing the importance of talking to your doctor about this issue before moving towards consuming them and making sure you are not allergic to any of these foods in the first place.

It is also worth reinforcing that opinions on this issue are divergent and not very consensual, with some experts considering unsafe options that, for others, are allowed.

In addition, all the foods on this list – even those that are among the safer options for pregnant women – are only safe when properly cooked, so if you choose to eat them, it is best to cook them at home or in a trusted place.

Seafood should always be stored in cold storage to prevent the development of microorganisms

Attention should also be paid to hand hygiene and not use the same utensils (e.g. knives and boards) to prepare raw and cooked seafood without them being thoroughly cleaned.

5 Dangerous shellfish in pregnancy
1. Bivalves and shellfish

The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis with bivalves and mollusks is quite high, and therefore it is inadvisable for pregnant women to choose to consume them, even if well-cooked.

2. Oysters

This food is particularly known to occasionally cause food poisoning because it is not completely fresh or because it is contaminated. It is a seafood to avoid during pregnancy.

3. Lobster

Experts advise against eating lobster during pregnancy because of the risk of food poisoning.

4. Sea Delicacies

Being a mixture of fish and shellfish, the delicacies of the sea become a danger for future moms. It is best avoided during the gestational period.

5. Sushi, carpaccio, or other raw seafood

Salmonellosis is associated with eating these fish/seafood items undercooked or raw. Cut uncooked and undercooked seafood out of your diet completely for safety.

5 shellfish a pregnant woman can eat
1. Shrimp

This should not be a recurring option, but as long as it is well cooked, moms-to-be can consume this seafood as long as it is well cooked.

2. Crab

One of the biggest risks of crab is that it is a strong allergic agent for many people. Still, for safety’s sake, the best thing to do is to moderate the amount of crab consumed during pregnancy.

3. Scallops

Scallops, when cooked, have a nutritional richness that is beneficial for pregnant women. Their consumption, however, should also be moderated as a precaution, since the scallops may be contaminated.

4. Fatty fish

Omega-3 and omega-6 are an integral part of this type of food

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Written by Ana Sofia Calha

Ana Sofia Silva Calha was born in Leiria (Portugal) in 1980. She has a degree in Anthropology from the University of Coimbra since 2007 and Dietetics from the Polytechnic of Leiria, and has been a Nutritionist since 2015..
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