Pregnant women should always be cautious about what they’re eating, and this is especially true for seafood. Consuming seafood that is high in mercury is usually frowned upon because it can negatively affect the baby’s development. What if you’re craving shrimp?
Shrimp is considered safe to consume during pregnancy as long as it is fully cooked. The FDA recommends 2-3 servings of seafood per week for pregnant women. Since shrimp is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient that supports fetal brain and eye development, giving in to the craving occasionally can be a healthy part of a prenatal diet.
Keep reading to learn more about shrimp, and how to incorporate it into your diet while pregnant as well as what your shrimp cravings may mean.
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Is it normal to crave shrimp while pregnant?
Cravings come and go when you are pregnant. You may have heard it is your body secretly telling you that you are lacking a specific nutrient or that it’s because of your changing hormones and specific foods may bring comfort.
Craving for shrimp is completely normal during pregnancy. Shrimp is light and does not taste like fish – which can be important if you’re craving seafood, but the strong taste of fish is putting your baby off.
There are many types of ways that shrimp can be prepared and it is so easy to cook, which makes it a favorite for busy, pregnant women who are always on the go.
Pregnant women can definitely eat shrimp provided that it is cooked well and consumed in moderation. Seafood can provide pregnant and breastfeeding women the nutrients that their body needs as well as provide a source of sustenance for the baby. Seafood in general is known to provide the baby the minerals and nutrients that promote their development.
There are types of seafood that you should avoid when you are pregnant and these are fish that are high in mercury content like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. On the other hand, shrimp has one of the lowest mercury content in seafood and is, therefore, safe to consume.
When it comes to consuming seafood, it is recommended that pregnant women consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week. This recommendation amounts to roughly 2 to 3 servings per week.
When do women crave shrimp during pregnancy?
Cravings typically start during the end of the first trimester because this is the time when morning sickness or food aversion starts to go away.
During the second trimester, cravings might be the strongest because this period is considered the golden stage of pregnancy which is characterized by less food aversion and more energy.
Your cravings can sometimes still be there during the last trimester or it has completely disappeared and replaced by feelings of discomfort. The last stretch is where your baby starts growing faster, which makes it uncomfortable and this might lessen your cravings.
It is important to keep in mind that all pregnancies are different, you can crave shrimp at any point of your pregnancy, or throughout your pregnancy. It is okay to give in to your cravings, just make sure that the shrimp is cooked well and you consume it in moderation.
Is it safe to eat shrimp while pregnant?
Raw shrimp or seafood is not recommended for pregnant women because it might bring foodborne diseases that can affect your pregnancy or the baby’s health. If you have any doubts about what types of food you can or can’t eat, it is always safe to ask your doctor for advice especially if you have pre-existing conditions or are under a special dietary restriction.
As long as the shrimp is well-cooked and not raw, you can consume shrimp during pregnancy. If you are preparing shrimp or seafood at home, you have to make sure that it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F or 62.8°C for it to be consumed safely.
When you are preparing shrimp at home, you can also tell if it’s cooked because it changes from gray color to reddish-orange on the outside and milky white all the way through. Make sure that you practice good sanitation procedures while cooking like washing your hands before and after handling raw shrimp.
It is safer to purchase shrimp or seafood in reputable markets. But if you are purchasing from a local fish vendor or market, it is important to keep up-to-date with local and regional fishing advisories to avoid consuming fish in polluted waters. The same goes for shrimp or seafood given to you from unknown sources like your neighbor or family member who loves to fish.
Can you eat shrimp during the first trimester?
The first trimester is a delicate stage in pregnancies because your body is trying to get through hormonal changes and preparing to house your baby for the next months.
You should avoid eating many things during your first trimester, but cooked shrimp is not one of them.
Shrimp and seafood have a lot of minerals and nutrients that they can offer to you and your baby and it is important to consume in the first trimester since your baby is starting to grow.
Are shrimp high in mercury?
Seafood that is larger and longer-lived tends to contain the highest amounts of mercury. For example, swordfish and certain types of tuna contain relatively large amounts of mercury while scallops, salmon, and oysters have much less.
With a mercury concentration range of 0.009 to 0.05, shrimp has one of the lowest levels compared to other types of seafood.
This is why it is often a recommended type of seafood for pregnant women’s consumption.
What if you accidentally ate raw shrimp while pregnant?
If you accidentally eat raw shrimp while pregnant, you should monitor and watch for symptoms of foodborne illnesses for the next 24 hours.
A couple of pieces of raw shrimp should not have any negative effects but if you feel ill or sick, you should call your doctor right away for advice on what you should do.
Can you eat shrimp ceviche while pregnant?
Just because you can have shrimp while pregnant doesn’t mean that you can have all types of shrimp.
Shrimp ceviche is a big no-no because shrimp is not guaranteed to be fully cooked and some parts can still be on the raw side.
Consuming raw seafood during pregnancy can be detrimental to your health and can bring food poisoning or listeria which can cause negative effects to your baby.
Can you have too much shrimp during pregnancy?
Satisfying your craving is one thing but it is important to consume any type of food in moderation especially when you are pregnant.
The FDA recommends 2 to 3 servings of seafood per week for pregnant women and this recommendation includes different types of seafood.
Is shrimp a good pregnancy food?
Healthy eating while pregnant is not only beneficial to the mommy but for the baby’s growth and development as well. It is important to have a well-balanced diet of food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed to keep the baby healthy.
Shrimp is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial in reducing the risk of pre-term birth. Pregnant women who consume Omega-3 fatty acids are also less likely to have babies with low birth weight.
You might be surprised to know that prenatal vitamins include Omega-3 fatty acids because it is super helpful for baby’s brain and eye development while in the womb.
Shrimp is a good source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D. It is also rich in iron and can help you produce more blood for yourself and your baby. It is also important to get enough iron while pregnant because it lowers the risk of having iron deficiency anemia.
What does it mean if you crave shrimp while pregnant?
It is a common belief that pregnancy cravings are brought about by your body telling you that you are lacking in specific nutrients or minerals. If we follow this line of reasoning, craving for shrimp means that you need protein or Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
There is no scientific reason for cravings, but if it is an okay food to eat like shrimp, feel free to give in to your cravings and eat away! Just make sure it is cooked well and it is consumed in moderation.
Does craving shrimp while pregnant mean it’s a boy or girl?
According to old wives ’ tales, craving for shrimp or seafood, in general, mean that you are expecting a girl.
It might be fun to speculate and think about the correlation between your cravings and what you’re having, there is no scientific evidence that links cravings to your baby’s gender.
If you want to learn more, I have a HUGE list of the most common pregnancy cravings just for you!