eating prawns during pregnancy

Can I eat prawns during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is when most women want to much on their favorite foods, and who doesn’t love a well-cooked shrimp? Sadly, though, this is not one of the healthiest things you can eat during those nine months. Seafood, while being packed with essential minerals and fatty acids that are very important for the health of both the mother and the child, also contain a host of other substances that can be, frankly, toxic. But the cloud comes with a silver lining; prawns, like other seafood, are not all bad, and can be consumed in moderation, post consultation with your doctor. In this article, let us find out when and how prawns fall into the ‘do not eat’ category during pregnant season, and how they can be consumed.

Water pollution

This is a real thing, and has had untold consequences on marine life. The life it has not already killed is being immensely altered in order to adapt to the changing marine conditions, and a lot of it is becoming almost unfit for human consumption. Prawns are usually bred in salt water, which makes them highly susceptible to becoming toxic from all the chemicals that are poured into the sea every day. These chemicals will adversely affect any person, and the risk is even higher during a time as delicate as your pregnancy.

Mercury content

Almost all fish contains some level of mercury, and the same can be said for prawns as well. Prawns, in fact, like all seafood, contain pretty high levels of mercury that will not be eradicated even by the most severe cooking methods. Mercury can be quite harmful for the baby and the mother, and has been related to premature births, stillborns, and even miscarriages. Besides, mercury is also known to cause hindrances to the development of the nervous system in the baby.

Allergies

Prawns are pretty high up there in the list of commonly allergenic substances. You don’t have to be told that allergies can be potentially fatal for you, and when you are pregnant, they can be potentially fatal for the baby as well. So, get an allergy test before you decide to eat prawns, and make sure you get to the doctor immediately if you experience any signs of swelling, itching, or breathing difficulties after consuming them.

Avoid restaurant fare

Restaurant food is, to a certain extent, mass produced, which means the high standards of your kitchen will probably not be met there. There is a certain chance that you will be eating prawns that, besides being sourced from the toxic sea, have not been properly cleaned, or cooked, or both. Get your prawns from a trusted freshwater source, freeze them for less than 10 hours, and then cook them yourself if you must eat some.

Cook well

Prawns need to be cooked really well to be consumed at all times, and especially so during pregnancy. Undercooked prawns contain listeria and other parasites that may cause nothing ranging from food poisoning to the terrible blood poisoning, which can transfer from the mother to the child through the umbilical cord. So, it is important to clean and cook the prawns very thoroughly before eating them, and raw prawns are a strict no-no for the pregnant woman.

Get them fresh

The longer the prawns have been sitting on the window of the local fish shop, or staying refrigerated in the supermarket, the more chances there are of parasites developing in them. It is like any other cold meat; the older they are, the more teeming they are with organisms like listeria. So, get prawns that are absolutely fresh, stuff that you are sure have been brought only a couple of hours before you bought them. Refrigerate them for a while to kill off some of the parasites, and then cook them while they are still fresh. Stay away from pre-cooked and pre-cleaned prawns at all costs.

Consult your doctor

This is the most important thing. If you must cook some prawns at home, get your doctor’s appointment, undertake an allergy test, and then decide whether to have any or not. Your doctor will be able to definitely tell you whether you should eat any prawns, and if yes, how much.

Also read: Can I eat pizza during pregnancy?

It is best to avoid eating prawns altogether during the nine months of pregnancy. Yes, it does become difficult to resist those golden friend prawns with butter and garlic, or those shrimp cocktails, but the risks associated are way too high. If you do have to have them, however, make sure you cook them at home and cook them well, and don’t get any delivered unless you are absolutely certain of the cooking standards of the restaurant.

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