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can-pregnant-women-eat-shrimpCan Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp?

All seafood contains trace amounts of mercury, which can be harmful to your body. Mercury poisoning is a dangerous condition that can be passed from a mother to her unborn baby.  Shrimp is not harmful as long as it is thoroughly cooked.  If you are pregnant, it is very important to eat a well-balanced nutritious meal everyday.  You may have heard some tales about the things that pregnant women should not eat.  You may be surprised to learn that the rules have changed.

Can I Eat Shrimp While Pregnant?

The recommendation today is to measure the risks based upon levels of sanitatioin and our ability to keep perishible foods at correct temperatures and to properly cook them.  We do live in a world that is much more efficient and conscious of health and food risks.  It's best to be safe when you can't predict the quality of preparation and freshness of product.  But when you are secure in knowing where your food comes from and in trusting sources, the recommendation is much looser.

Your diet should include vegetables, grains, and foods that are rich in calcium.  Pay attention to the foods that you eat, because some can do harm to you and the baby inside you.

Foods Pregnant Women Should Avoid

  • Listeria is found in ground water, meats and some dairy products and most ready-to-go foods like hot dogs.
  • Mercury is found in seafood, mainly fish and shrimp. Consult your obstetrician for instructions on what type of seafood is healthy or harmful. Sometimes trimming the fatty skin of the fish will make it safer. In general, fish is good for you; it is high in protein and beneficial nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Toxoplasma is caused by a microorganism found in cat feces. If you have a cat in your home, you should wear gloves when feeding it.

These are located in the following foods:

  • Raw fish or shellfish
  • Tuna or tuna steaks
  • Undercooked shrimp
  • Catfish and other bottom-dwelling fish

So, when asking your physician, "Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp?" most will advise you to do so in moderation and to make sure that it is well cooked.  Also, seafood from some parts of the world may have higher level of mercury than others, so you should be following the news on this, or consider farm-raised shrimp or shrimp products that advertise low mercury content.

During your pregnancy, you can take blood test to determine if you have any toxicity from consuming shrimp, and your doctor can prescribe a medication that will reduce the levels of mercury in your system.

To avoid toxoplasmosis while pregnant, follow these guidelines:

  • If you live with a cat, keep it in the home and do not feed it any raw meat. Make sure the litter box is cleaned and changed daily.
  • Do not pick up any stray cats that may be loitering around your house.
  • If you like working in the garden, you should wear gloves to avoid any infection found in the soil or plants.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly while preparing any raw meat or vegetables.
  • Make sure your food is cooked well, whether you are eating at home or out in restaurants.

Other activities to avoid during pregnancy:

  • Smoking is prohibited during pregnancy. It can become a cause of death or illness for your unborn child. Smoking can cause premature labor deliveries.
  • Alcohol consumption can cause physical and behavioral disorders for mothers and babies.
  • Partaking in illegal drugs can cause birth defects for your unborn child.
  • When taking medications, only use those prescribed by your doctor. If you are concerned with any other substances, ask your doctor.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp? The answer is like anything else: yes, in moderation, if it is well cooked and if you know and trust the source of the shrimp.  Eating shrimp is not harmful for pregnant women if it is cooked thoroughly.  Always seek advice from your doctor if you experience any allergic reactions.

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