Can You Eat Shrimp While Pregnant?

Seafood is the one food we could never get tired of. Not only is seafood one of the foods dietitians recommend especially for women, but it's also incredibly tasty. At the top of the seafood, pyramid sits the ruler of the ocean — and we're not talking about king crab.

The spot belongs to everyone's favorite little salad topper, shrimp. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States (via WorldAtlas). Chances are you might have thought about ordering a plate at your favorite restaurant recently. But if you're pregnant, you are always wondering what is and isn't safe to eat.

We know that shrimp is beyond delicious (sorry, not up for debate,) but are they really safe for pregnant women to eat? There are so many myths about fertility and pregnancy out there that, as a pregnant woman, you may be having a hard time knowing what to believe. We now know what the best and worst foods to eat while pregnant are, but sometimes you just want to know how one specific food will affect your incoming child. So, what's the verdict on shrimp?

The myth about shrimp and pregnancy

According to Mayo Clinic, eating shrimp while pregnant is perfectly safe. Still, some women avoid shrimp like the plague because they believe the myth that eating shrimp while pregnant is dangerous to the unborn child. 

This is most likely because there are certain types of seafood pregnant women should indeed steer clear of. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are advised not to eat fish with high mercury content because of the danger it poses to the baby (via Mayo Clinic). The Food and Drug Administration warns against eating raw, larger, or older fish since they are more likely to contain higher amounts of mercury.

An influx of methyl mercury poses a threat to the development of your child's nervous system, according to WebMD. On their list of fish you are better off avoiding, the FDA includes shark, swordfish, and king mackerel due to their long lifespan and size. While shrimp are safe to eat, it's recommended that pregnant women only eat two to three servings of any seafood per week.

Shrimp can help a baby's brain development

Wondering what the secret to a healthy and brainy baby is? The doctors at Mayo Clinic explain that shrimp and other seafood like it are your answer.

Shrimp contains loads of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial to your baby's health and development. Omega-3s have a ton of great benefits including aiding fetal eye and brain development and a minimized risk of low birth weight. According to American Pregnancy, these fatty acids are normally absorbed from the mother's diet into the fetus' nervous system, so it's essential for the mother to get enough omega-3s for her and her baby. Purified sources of omega 3s, such as fish oil supplements, are a great way to get the nutrient into your system.

Now that you know the only concern a pregnant woman should have about shrimp is cooking them correctly, we hope that you feel much better about your future dietary plans. Why not celebrate your new knowledge with your favorite shrimp dish?