The popularity of shrimps is nothing unknown. What you need to know before including it as a part of your diet during pregnancy is whether it is safe or not.
Is eating shrimp during pregnancy safe?
It is safe to eat shrimp while pregnant because of its low mercury levels, like other seafood such as pollack, salmon, sardine, and catfish. Its low-calorie count, along with high protein (17 grams in 3 ounces of the fish) and Omega-3 fatty acids, also makes it a healthy choice.
Because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content, shrimp is good for women trying to get pregnant as well since the fatty acids are kept stored in your body for many weeks, giving you adequate levels of it when you finally conceive.
Can you have raw and cooked shrimp while pregnant?
Raw: Eating uncooked or undercooked seafood is not safe, especially when pregnant, as it may put you at risk of bacterial infections. Hence you should avoid eating dishes like sushi and sashimi with raw shrimp.
Also, when buying, make sure to go for the wild-caught shrimps over farmed raised varieties, as the latter have a greater chance of contamination.
Cooked: Once the shrimps are cooked at a temperature of 145°F for about 2 to 3 minutes, it attains an opaque, pearly texture. You can then eat them safely as popcorn and sticks or add them to your noodles, rice, pasta, or spring roll. Boiled or steamed preparations of shrimps like shumai are also considered safe. If you have leftover shrimps from the previous day’s cooking, you may eat it if it is preserved well (make sure it hasn’t gone bad).
Eating certain shrimp preparations while pregnant
Shrimp cocktail, a popular appetizer prepared by cooking or steaming shrimps and dipping them in cocktail sauce, is considered safe to have while pregnant, though in moderation. When dining at a restaurant or buying packaged shrimp cocktails, ensure the pieces are pink, indicating that they have been cooked. Half-cooked or raw shrimps look gray and transparent.
Tempura, generally prepared from cooked shrimp, is okay to have, though make sure it is not dipped in a batter of beer.
How much shrimp should you eat?
According to the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) 2015-2020 Guidelines for Americans, as well as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), pregnant women should not take more than 8 to 12 ounces of seafood (low in mercury) in a week, which amounts to about 2-3 servings. So, if you take 2-3 servings of shrimp in seven days, you must refrain from having other seafood.
Eating shrimp is usually not bad as long as you follow the recommended limits. Still, overeating or spicing them with sauces like bang bang and Alfredo may lead to heartburn or other digestive problems.
Do not delay in talking to your doctor if you experience digestion problems or any discomfort after having it.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.