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Can you eat seafood when pregnant?

Can you eat seafood when pregnant? Seafood safety

Summary

Eating shellfish in pregnancy is generally safe as long as it’s been cooked1. But if you’re a fan of raw oysters, you might have to choose an alternative dish from the menu. Raw shellfish carries a higher risk of food poisoning – and getting food poisoning in pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth and infection2. Learn how to ensure shellfish is safe to eat in pregnancy.

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Can you eat prawns when pregnant?

Yes, prawns are safe to eat during pregnancy if they’ve been thoroughly cooked.3 However, you should avoid eating raw prawns as they can contain bacteria which could give you food poisoning. Prawns turn from grey to pinky-red when they have been thoroughly cooked, so this is how you can tell whether or not they are safe to eat. Cold pre-cooked prawns are also fine to eat.3 For more information about choosing seafood that’s safe for you and your baby, see our table below.

Can you eat scampi when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat mussels when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat calamari when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat crab when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked1. But specific seafood like crab, sea bass, sea bream and halibut should be limited along with oily fish, to no more than 2 portions per week4.
Can you eat squid when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat scallops when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat lobster when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.1
Can you eat crab sticks when pregnant? As it’s difficult to determine exactly which fish have been used to make crab sticks/seafood sticks, it’s best to avoid them.
Can you eat shellfish when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.
Can you eat shrimp when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.
Can you eat crayfish when pregnant? Yes, if thoroughly cooked.
Can you eat sushi when pregnant? The NHS recommends that it’s fine to eat raw or lightly cooked fish as long as it has been frozen first. This is because freezing kills any parasites and makes raw fish safe to eat. However, if you’re any in doubt, you may want to opt for a variety of sushi made with cooked fish or a vegetarian option instead.1

Next Steps


  • Make sure all shellfish is cooked thoroughly before you eat it.
  • Find out more about how how the right foods can boost your baby’s development on our Eating for 2 pages.
  • Read our nutrient-rich pregnancy recipes created by Chef Lorraine Pascale and Aptaclub nutritionists.

View references

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1. NUS UK. Can I eat shellfish during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/can-I-eat-shellfish-during-pregnancy.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=216 [Accessed July 2018]

2. NHS UK. Is it safe to eat sushi during pregnancy? [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/is-it-safe-to-eat-sushi-during-pregnancy.aspx [Accessed July 2018]

3. NHS UK. Foods to avoid in pregnancy [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-pregnant/ [Accessed July 2018]

4. NHS UK. Should pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid some types of fish? [Online] Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/should-pregnant-and-breastfeeding-women-avoid-some-types-of-fish.aspx?CategoryID=54& [Accessed July 2018]

Last reviewed: 28th June 2018
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