Eating Shrimp During Pregnancy

Image of shrimp

Every pregnant woman wants to eat well during her pregnancy, and a common question is, “What is safe to eat while pregnant?” Most women have an array of foods they enjoy and hope to continue eating while they are pregnant. Sushi, oysters, and other seafood delicacies top the list of questionable foods—whether or not they are okay to eat. Whether boiled, fried, or as a cocktail, eating shrimp during pregnancy is a common desire.

Image of shrimp on a platter

With research showing that ingesting high mercury levels can have harmful effects on your baby, many women are reluctant to eat seafood during their pregnancy. While it is good to be cautious about your diet, there are a number of types of seafood that are safe to eat, including shrimp. Shrimp contain low levels of mercury; they also are low in fat content and high in protein, making them a healthy choice for pregnant mothers.

Research suggests eating between 8 and 12 ounces of shellfish or fish per week, which is two or three meals. It is important to cook the shrimp thoroughly, and to avoid raw shrimp, as is found in sushi or sashimi. It is also good to be aware of the area which the shrimp came from.

Depending on where the shrimp were caught, mercury levels may be higher or lower than expected. Your community health department may have information on mercury levels in local bodies of water, if you want to eat locally caught shellfish. The important thing to remember is to cook the shrimp completely. Then, enjoy!

Compiled from the following Sources: Riley, L., & Nelson, S. (2006). Healthy eating during pregnancy. Des Moines: Meredith Books.

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