Is it safe to eat shrimp while pregnant?

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Recommendations

The FDA advises that pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children should avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to high levels of mercury in these fish.

The FDA also recommends that pregnant women can safely eat an average of 12 ounces of other types of COOKED fish each week You may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week. Emphasis is placed on choosing a variety of fish low in mercury such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

If no local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends are available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week. I've only heard that it gives you bad tummy aches.

ask your doctor.

With just about any food that you ingest, the danger usually comes in how it makes its way to your plate. There is a battle for industry survival that can affect what kind of shrimp your local restaurant serves. Local shrimp is generally safer and fresher as long as it is caught wild. However, most restaurants serve imported shrimp...generally because it is cheaper and separated by size. The imported shrimp is usually "farmed" which means the shrimp are grown in little ponds, swim in their own feces, and are often fed with disgusting items. Furthermore, shrimp farming is not done a lot in the U.S. because the chemicals used to manage infection and germs overseas is considered illegal in the U.S. Just make sure you know what you're getting when you order by asking questions. It's not usually the seafood that is dangerous but the water the seafood was swimming in. Oysters will have high levels of mercury or iodine because of the water they sit in...they also have a season that they are allowed to be harvested in many areas. The summer months are usually not good for oysters (at least where I'm from: Charleston, SC).

I have heard that eating shrimp during pregnancy is dangerous to the fetus because of the Zinc in shrimp.

1/9/05- I've heard the opposite. shrimp is a good source of iron.

Different doctors will tell you different things about eating seafood when pregnant. I have found that it did not harm my baby at all and she is perfectly healthy. The only advice I have is to make sure that the seafood you do eat is very fresh. Iodine in certain seafood may be harmful according to certain doctors. However, in many Asian countries, the pregnant women eat sushi and other seafood everyday and are fine. So, just make sure your seafood is fresh. Also, the prenatal vitamins given to me by my OB-GYN have zinc in them, so I don't see how it could be harmful to the baby.

It really depends on what doctor you ask and how much shrimp you plan on eating. Some shellfish may contain high concentrations of mercury which is not good for you or your developing baby.

Uncleaned, raw or undercooked fish may carry a risk of parasitic infection (ie: worms). Avoid Perch, Catfish, Whitefish & trout while pregnant. haddock & Cod are the safest to eat while pregnant.

Your best bet is to eat your seafood at a busy restaurant as it is not sitting around gathering bacteria and enjoy your shrimp but in small amounts at a time and not that often.

I had the same question and found this - Check out the website below as it gives a comprehensive outline of what you can and should not eat during pregnancy. Shrimp is ok! is a good info site.

as far as I know no because it is seafood, and it will not automatically hurt your baby talk to your doctor before deciding on what not to do.


My family owns a shrimp business and as far as i know it is ok. We have an unusual shrimp farm though it was featured on 20/20.

I have eaten shrimp with both my pregnancies and am pregnant right now and plan on making some tonight. The fact that we only eat our own shrimp though is why.

Shrimp and most shellfish are some of the safest seafood to eat while pregnant as far as mercury levels are concerned. They only contain mere traces and actually offer good omega 3 fatty acids that are essential to a healthy pregnancy. BUT, as some of the other people commented, the preparation of the food is where you shoud be careful. You want to avoid raw and undercooked food of any type and of course you want it to be fresh!

It is safe to eat shrimps while pregnant for as long as you have no known allergies to this food group/classification and provided that shrimps are cooked just right.