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Pregnancy

      Can you eat shellfish when you’re pregnant?

      Read time: 4 minutes

      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 may be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses, and therefore carries a higher risk of food poisoning. You’re naturally more susceptible to food poisoning during pregnancy because of changes to your metabolism and circulation, and as well as being unpleasant for you, food poisoning can increase the risk of premature delivery and infections in your baby2.

      Yes, as long as they’ve been thoroughly cooked, prawns are safe to eat during pregnancy3. Prawns turn from grey to pinky-red when they have been cooked, so this is how you can tell whether they are safe to eat. Cold pre-cooked prawns are also fine to eat3.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹ – make sure their shells open, which indicates that they’re done, and discard any that remain closed after cooking.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹.

      Yes, as long as it’s been thoroughly cooked¹, although it should be noted that just like oily fish, you should limit yourself to no more than two portions of crab per week⁴ because of the toxins it contains.

      No, it’s best to avoid eating crab sticks and seafood sticks when you’re pregnant as it’s difficult to determine exactly which fish have been used to make them.

      Yes, as long as it’s been thoroughly cooked¹.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹. This means they should be firm and opaque.

      Yes, as long as it’s been thoroughly cooked¹. Just like prawns, lobster turns pinky-red when cooked, so this is how you can tell whether it’s safe to eat. Cold pre-cooked lobster is also fine to eat3.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹ – make sure their shells open, which indicates that they’re done, and discard any that remain closed after cooking. You should avoid eating raw oysters as they can contain bacteria and viruses which could give you food poisoning.

      Yes, as long as they’re thoroughly cooked¹ – make sure their shells open, which indicates that they’re done, and discard any that remain closed after cooking.

      As long as it has been frozen first, the NHS advise that it’s usually fine to eat raw or lightly cooked fish when you’re pregnant3. Get the facts about eating fish and sushi during pregnancy.

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      1. NHS. Can I eat shellfish during pregnancy? [Online]. 2015. Available at: www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/can-I-eat-shellfish-during-pregnancy.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=216 [Accessed March 2020]

        NHS. How can I avoid food poisoning during pregnancy? [Online]. 2018. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/how-can-i-avoid-food-poisoning-during-pregnancy/ [Accessed March 2020]

        NHS. Foods to avoid in pregnancy [Online]. 2020. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-pregnant/ [Accessed March 2020]

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

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