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Shrimply Irresistible: Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp?

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can pregnant women eat shrimp

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Introduction: Can Pregnant Women eat shrimp

Alright, picture this – you’re all set for a fancy dinner, and you’ve got your eyes on that mouthwatering surf and turf. Now, you know you should go for the well-done steak, but what about the shrimp? Can pregnant women eat shrimp? The answer is yes! You can enjoy shrimp while pregnant. Of course, it’s not something you should munch on every single day, but it does come with some excellent nutrients for you and your baby.

Let’s dive into some advice on eating shrimp for Pregnant and other seafood or fish during pregnancy, along with a few safety tips to keep in mind.

Is Shrimp Safe During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women can eat shrimp but some steer clear of it, thinking all seafood is a no-go zone during pregnancy. But hold on, shrimp isn’t actually on that restricted list. According to the Food and Drug Administration, seafood can be beneficial for pregnant and breastfeeding women as it provides essential nutrients for the baby’s growth and development.

Still, you gotta be smart about it and know which seafood is safe and which to avoid. Rule of thumb: skip anything with high mercury levels. Too much mercury can mess up a baby’s nervous system as it grows. So, keep away from those seafood items that fall into this category:

– swordfish

– fresh tuna

– king mackerel

– shark

– tilefish

 – orange roughy

Seafood with low mercury levels is totally fine to munch on while you’re pregnant. So, you can enjoy shrimp and even more than just that! If you’re craving seafood, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Check out the following tasty choices:

– pollack

– canned tuna

– Salmon

– catfish

– trout

– cod

– tilapia

Remember that these seafood still contain mercury. If you’re pregnant, it’s best to stick to about 8 to 12 ounces (which is two to three servings) of seafood per week. So, pregnant women can eat shrimp in moderation!

Benefits of Eating Shrimp During Pregnancy

Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Other Nutrients

Shrimp and other kinds of seafood are super healthy because they’re packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. One great example is omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in seafood. Research suggests that these omega-3s might even lower the risk of preterm birth. They’re also linked to lower chances of babies having a low birth weight and are crucial for fetal brain and eye development.

That’s why prenatal vitamins often include them, but getting them from your diet is a bonus! Eating seafood while pregnant also gives you protein, vitamin B-2, and vitamin D. And don’t forget, seafood like shrimp is a good source of iron, magnesium, and potassium. Iron is especially important during pregnancy as it helps your body produce extra blood for you and the baby, fighting off iron deficiency anemia and boosting your energy levels.

So Can You Have As Many Shrimps As You Want?

No. There Are Safety Precautions!

Did you know that eating fish with high levels of methylmercury can be harmful to a developing baby’s brain and nervous system? Yeah, it’s a concern for pregnant women wondering if they can eat shrimp. Unfortunately, cooking or cleaning the fish won’t get rid of the mercury, so it’s important to choose fish with lower mercury levels.

Keep in mind that other contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can also be present in fish, and this can vary depending on where the fish come from and the species. If you’re catching your fish, make sure to check for any advisories on contaminants before you decide to have them. Better safe than sorry, right?

Surprise Takeaway!

If you’re still wondering can pregnant women eat shrimp, here’s something interesting. For folks who don’t eat fish, like vegans, or those into plant-based diets, there are these algal supplements with omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. They’re pretty nifty! But, gotta admit, fish does offer some extra nutrients that are great for the immune system and healthy growth and development. For instance, if you take a 3-ounce serving of cooked shrimp, you’ll find…

– 59.5 mg of calcium

– 20.4 gm protein

– 1.39 mg zinc

Fish, including shrimp, can be a beneficial way to get essential nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, and selenium. To ensure safety, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide specific recommendations on serving sizes of low-mercury seafood for pregnant or lactating individuals, depending on their daily calorie needs:

– 10 ounces/week for a 2400–2800 calorie/day intake

– 9 ounces/week for a 2200 calorie/day intake

– 8 ounces/week for an 1800–2000 calorie/day intake

Best Seafood Options Other Than Shrimps

Here are some awesome seafood pregnant women can enjoy:

– anchovy

– Cod

– clam

– haddock

– Herring

– hake

– plaice

– Sardine

– salmon

– shrimp

– scallop

By the way, it’s also good to know about some seafood options that pregnant women should have less frequently, like halibut, snapper, and tuna. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you’re pregnant, it’s recommended to limit albacore tuna intake to just one serving per week, which is around 6 ounces.

Worst Seafood Options During Pregnancy

High Mercury Seafood

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should steer clear of certain seafood varieties because they contain higher levels of mercury, such as

– king mackerel

– orange roughy

– marlin

– shark

– Tilefish

– swordfish

– bigeye tuna

Raw Seafood

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that they stick to eating seafood that’s been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 145ºF (around 62.78ºC). Raw seafood might have parasites or bacteria, like Listeria, which can make both the pregnant person and the baby sick. So, if you’re expecting, it’s best to avoid the following:

– sushi

– raw oysters

– sashimi

– raw clams

– Ceviche

– raw scallops

Smoked Seafood recommends pregnant women be cautious about eating smoked seafood because when they are smoked and refrigerated, they might have Listeria. So, unless someone cooks it in a dish where the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (around 73.89°C), expectant moms should avoid it. Sometimes, you might see smoked fish labeled differently at stores too like

– smoked

– Nova-style

– kippered

– jerky

– lox

An Endnote: Is shrimp safe during pregnancy

Can pregnant women eat shrimp? Yes, without any worries. Just don’t go overboard with it! Aim for around two to three servings of seafood each week, and that includes shrimp. Also, make sure you avoid eating it raw. Stick to these guidelines, and you’ll enjoy your meals without any risks for you or your baby. Happy eating!

Can Pregnant Women Eat Shrimp FAQ's:

1. Can I eat shrimp while pregnant?

Aim for two to three servings of shrimp, every week, but make sure it's cooked properly. By following the safety suggestions, you can satisfy your cravings and enjoy the taste without worrying about any harm to you or your baby.

2.What are shrimps good for during pregnancy?

Cooked shrimp can be a healthy protein option for pregnant people. It's got loads of vitamin B2 and B12, which are pretty important for staying healthy while you're expecting. Plus, there's omega-3 fat called DHA that's good for both the pregnant parent and the baby's health.

3. Can pregnant women eat fried shrimp?

You can eat shrimp while pregnant even if it is fried but not when it is deep-fried. This makes it absorb more oil compared to regular pan-frying or sautéing methods. According to the USDA, it is important to ensure that cooked shrimp reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 °C) for safe consumption.

4. How many shrimp can a pregnant woman eat in one sitting?

Based on research findings, expectant mothers have the option to consume a maximum of 12 ounces of completely cooked seafood, which includes shellfish and fish, like shrimp, every week. This equates to approximately two to three meals each week.

5. Are shrimps healthy for babies?

Absolutely, as long as it's consumed in moderation. Shrimp provides a rich and beneficial array of nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vital vitamins like B6 and B12, as well as essential minerals like calcium, iodine, selenium, and zinc. These combined nutrients play a crucial role in promoting the healthy development of a growing baby, supporting neurological development, and maintaining a strong heart and immune system.

6. What is 1 serving size of shrimp?

3 ounces is the typical portion size for shrimp. If you're serving it as an appetizer, aim for 6-8 small shrimp per person, while for an entree, consider serving 15-20 small shrimp per person.


On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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