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Can You Eat Seafood During Pregnancy?

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There are many different foods that pregnant women are advised to avoid. Making things more difficult is the fact that a different shellfish is in season every month of the year. From crawfish to crab boils and oysters to clams, there are many conflicting ideas about what pregnant women can healthily consume. Typically, pregnant women can enjoy these types of foods if they are fully cooked. However, it’s important to note that some shellfish can contain high levels of mercury – even in fully cooked seafood - which can be dangerous to an unborn child.

Pregnant women should always avoid uncooked or raw seafood, including shellfish like oysters, crawfish, scallops and crabs. They should also avoid raw fish like sushi, ceviche and sashimi. Uncooked seafood can carry bacteria and viruses and can be exposed to environmental contamination. Cooked seafood low in mercury is okay to eat, but only in small quantities. If you are eating local seafood or know where it is coming from, you should pay attention to local fish advisories as water pollution could be a concern.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are benefits to eating seafood while pregnant because seafood is full of protein, iron and omega-3 fats. However, pregnant women should not consume more than 2-3 servings of cooked seafood per week.

Here is a list of fish that are low and in mercury and better for pregnant women to eat:

  • Anchovies
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna (light canned)
  • Trout
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp

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