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    Can Pregnant Women Eat Prawns? 

    Diet & Nutrition

    Can Pregnant Women Eat Prawns? 

    Updated on 12 May 2023

    Pregnancy is a time of immense joy and anticipation, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and confusion, especially when it comes to food choices. One food that often comes under scrutiny during pregnancy is prawns. While they are a delicious and nutritious seafood option, many women are unsure if prawns are safe to consume during pregnancy.

    So, if you've been wondering can you eat prawns when pregnant, then this article is for you. In this article, we will explore the facts and myths surrounding prawns and pregnancy, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about including prawns in your pregnancy diet.

    Health Benefits of Eating Prawns When Pregnant

    Prawns are not only delicious but are also rich in vitamins and minerals that expectant mothers need. Here are some of the major health benefits of eating prawns when pregnant.

    1. Excellent source of proteins

    Prawns are a great source of protein during pregnancy, which is essential for the growth and development of the fetus. Foods rich in proteins can help stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent gestational diabetes.

    2. Plenty of vitamins

    Prawns are rich in vitamins such as B12, A, D and E, which can help support the immune system and promote healthy skin and bone development in the fetus.

    3. Rich in magnesium

    Prawns can increase magnesium and sodium-potassium levels, which are crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and reducing the risk of gestational diabetes.

    4. Packed with Omega 3

    Prawns contain omega-3 fatty acids that can help with brain and eye development in the fetus.

    5. Low in calories

    Achieving a healthy weight and consuming adequate nutrition during pregnancy are important. Consuming prawns during pregnancy is healthy as it boosts nutrients without consuming unnecessary fats.

    6. Excellent seafood

    Consuming prawns during pregnancy can help meet the recommended weekly intake of seafood, which can provide additional benefits for fetal development.

    Should prawns be avoided during pregnancy?

    Can pregnant women eat prawns? Pregnant women should avoid seafood, including prawns, due to the toxins they contain from water pollution. Consuming prawns, especially raw prawns, can cause food poisoning, Listeria contamination, and be harmful to fetal nervous system development. However, pregnant women can occasionally eat cooked prawns if obtained from a safe freshwater source and prepared well. It is recommended to eat between 8 and 12 ounces of thoroughly cooked, low-mercury shellfish.

    While some seafood needs to be avoided during pregnancy, prawns are generally safe when procured from a non-polluted source and cooked thoroughly. Additionally, shrimp contain low levels of mercury and are low in fat content while being high in protein, making them a healthy choice for pregnant mothers.

    You may also like: Is eating fish safe during pregnancy?

    What are the risks of eating prawns during pregnancy?

    Pregnant women may be at risk of developing prawn allergy during pregnancy. Listed below are the associated risks of consuming prawns when pregnant:

    1. Cholesterol

    Prawn contains high levels of cholesterol. It is thus not a great food choice for the expectant mother or the unborn baby's health if the former has high cholesterol.

    2. Allergies

    It might be wise to avoid prawns if one has an allergic reaction to the same food group. They can result in abdominal pain, itching, rash, and inflammation.

    3. Mercury poisoning

    Water pollution and toxic chemicals can cause health problems if prawns are consumed from contaminated water. Saltwater prawns can contain mercury, which can negatively affect the baby's nervous system development.

    4. Infection

    Undercooked or raw prawns are very dangerous and are associated with various health risks for the baby, like food poisoning, blood poisoning, or other dangerous infections. Food poisoning can increase the baby's risk of premature birth and infection.

    What are the health risks of eating prawns during pregnancy?

    Prawns can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the fetus during pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming seafood due to toxins from water pollution and the risk of food-borne infections. Consuming raw prawns is extremely harmful and can pose serious health risks to the fetus including poisoning and infection. It is recommended to grill or smoke prawns for safe consumption.

    Eating certain uncooked foods like raw prawns when pregnant increases the chances of:

    • Gastrointestinal disorders
    • Mercury poisoning
    • Blood poisoning from listeria contamination

    However, if a pregnant woman wants to occasionally include prawns in her diet, she should consult with her healthcare provider and follow safety tips such as cooking them well, salting and pickling them, and choosing fresh produce. Prawns are an excellent source of proteins during pregnancy. Protein-rich foods help in stabilizing blood sugar levels and keep gestational diabetes in check.

    You may also like: Is it safe to eat crab during pregnancy?

    The Bottomline

    In conclusion, consuming prawns when pregnant can provide many health benefits, provided they are cooked properly and eaten in moderation. Pregnant women should ensure that the prawns they consume are fresh and have been cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria or parasites that they may contain. Consulting a healthcare provider can also help pregnant women make informed decisions about their diet and ensure that they are meeting their nutritional needs for a healthy pregnancy.


    1. Guldner L, Monfort C, Rouget F, Garlantezec R, Cordier S. (2007). Maternal fish and shellfish intake and pregnancy outcomes: a prospective cohort study in Brittany, France. Environ Health.

    2. Hibbeln JR, Spiller P; et al. (2019). Relationships between seafood consumption during pregnancy and childhood and neurocognitive development: Two systematic reviews. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids

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