Is It Safe to Eat Sushi During Pregnancy?

Posted by on

Cooked and low in mercury, yes; raw, no. The main concern with sushi and sashimi is the risk of parasites since pregnancy suppresses your immune system so you're much more susceptible to serious illnesses from any food-borne organism. The FDA recommends avoiding all raw shellfish, fish, and mollusks (clams, oysters, and mussels). In addition, you should be cautious about mercury exposure when consuming certain fishes.



What you can eat at a sushi restaurant:

  • Cooked shellfish and mollusks: Raw shellfish is a common carrier for bacteria that can cause food poisoning so make sure to order a shrimp tempura roll not a shrimp ceviche.
  • Cooked fish: Anything containing cooked fish except for mackerel, shark, tilefish, and swordfish due to their higher mercury levels is generally regarded as safe.
  • Fish with lower levels of mercury: As identified by the American Pregnancy Association, these sushi selections have lower levels of mercury and can be enjoyed up to two 6-oz servings a week:
    • Akagai (ark shell)
    • Anago (conger eel)
    • Aoyagi (round clam)
    • Awabi (abalone)
    • Ayu (sweetfish)
    • Ebi (shrimp)
    • Hamaguri (clam)
    • Hamo (pike conger; sea eel)
    • Hatahata (sandfish)
    • Himo (ark shell)
    • Hokkigai (surf clam)
    • Hotategai (scallop)
    • Ika (squid)
    • Ikura (salmon roe)
    • Kaibashira (shellfish)
    • Kani (crab)
    • Karei (flatfish)
    • Kohada (gizzard shad)
    • Masago (smelt egg)
    • Masu (trout)
    • Mirugai (surf clam)
    • Sake (salmon)
    • Sayori (halfbeak)
    • Shako (mantis shrimp)
    • Tai (sea bream)
    • Tairagai (razor-shell clam)
    • Tako (octopus)
    • Tobikko (flying fish egg)
    • Torigai (cockle)
    • Tsubugai (shellfish)
    • Unagi (freshwater eel)
    • Uni (sea urchin roe)

Stay away from:

  • Fish with higher levels of mercury: Avoid king mackerel, shark, tilefish, swordfish, and large amounts of tuna since they have been identified by the FDA as having high levels of mercury. The American Pregnancy Association advises that pregnant women should avoid the following sushi while pregnant due to their high mercury levels:
    • Ahi (yellowfin tuna)
    • Aji (horse mackerel)
    • Buri (adult yellowtail)
    • Hamachi (young yellowtail)
    • Inada (very young yellowtail)
    • Kanpachi (very young yellowtail)
    • Katsuo (bonito)
    • Kajiki (swordfish)
    • Maguro (bigeye, bluefin or yellowfin tuna)
    • Makjiki (blue marlin)
    • Meji (young bigeye, bluefin* or yellowfin tuna)
    • Saba (mackerel)
    • Sawara (spanish mackerel)
    • Shiro (albacore tuna)
    • Seigo (young sea bass)*
    • Suzuki (sea bass)*
    • Toro (bigeye, bluefin or yellowfin tuna)
  • Sushi restaurants with questionable sanitary standards: This applies to any restaurant as you are more susceptible to food poisoning.
  • Raw shellfish
food Pregnancy Tips

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published