Is it safe to eat prawns when pregnant? This is a common question on the minds of every pregnant woman, as there are instructions to avoid most types of seafood during pregnancy because of their high mercury content which may be harmful to the fetus.
According to the London nutrition society, prawns are safe for pregnant women as long as they are gotten from a safe freshwater source and they are thoroughly cooked until they turn to a pink-reddish color. Prawns are beneficial to the body because there are many nutrients gotten from them which makes them a good source of food. They have high protein content and low fat which means pregnant women can eat them regularly without thinking of weight gain. Raw prawns are dangerous to eat as they contain many bacteria which could give one food poisoning. Do your best to avoid eating prawns in hotels as you are not sure if they were cooked properly.
Reasons why prawn are feared to be dangerous during pregnancy
Although prawns are said to be safe for consumption during pregnancy, they are usually a lot of restrictions placed on eating them which makes us wonder if they are genuinely safe. Here are some of the reasons why prawns may be dangerous for pregnant women.
Prawns are typically seafood, the FDA has classified most seafood as potentially dangerous as they contain high mercury levels which when exposed to the fetus, could result in later life problems such as reduced cognitive development, compromises neurological development, delays in physical development and so on.
Another significant risk is that unknown to many is some prawns might have been gotten from rivers or lakes which are contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls and might be dangerous for your baby.
They cannot be eaten raw by pregnant women because they contain specific parasite and bacteria such as listeria which may be harmful to both mother and child. Complications such as food or blood poisoning may occur when eaten raw.
How to make sure you are eating prawns the right way during pregnancy
Just like other permitted seafood, serving two to three times a week is permitted. However, there are precautions to take when planning to eat them.
Go for fresh prawns when you want to eat. Avoid using canned products as they contain preservatives which may be bad for the baby’s health.
Cook the prawns in high temperature till the flesh become opaque and pearly, and the outer layer is pink reddish.
By doing so, you will be killing all the bacteria in them. You can also cook them in the oven if possible, but ensure that you leave them in for some minutes after the set time.
Freezing will also help in killing some disease-causing organism which is why you should freeze the prawns for about 24 hours before using them.
The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that pregnant women eat at least 0.75 Pounds (340 g) of seafood per week partly due to the mercury level found in them. Aim to eat a maximum of two to three serving of fish every week.