First, is it safe to eat crawfish while pregnant?
Seafood, and crawfish in particular, is an area where we frequently encounter confusion. Mercury-related worries and potential effects on a baby are the reason for this. Still, provided seafood is prepared properly and is low in mercury, you should be okay.
You can eat the same kinds of foods while pregnant for the most part. But there are some limitations and some murky areas. Let’s delve a little deeper into crawfish and whether or not it’s safe to eat while expecting.
Please continue reading for more details.
Can Pregnant Women Only Eat Cooked Crawfish?
To avoid any confusion I’ll use the word ‘crawfish’ throughout this article, but it is the same crustacean that goes by other names, such as:
- Crayfish (in the UK and Europe)
- Crawdaddies or Crawdads
- FreshWater or “Mountain Lobster”
Everybody, including expectant mothers (and everyone else!) should only eat crawfish when they’re fully cooked. Although I haven’t heard of anyone wanting to consume them raw, “undercooked” is a possibility, particularly with large crawfish that may require longer cooking times than you initially anticipate.
Raw crawfish can harbor parasitic diseases as well as harmful bacteria and pathogens, especially if it was caught in the wild. Crawfish become safe to eat when cooked.
How Much Mercury Is In Crawfish?
Women who are expecting know that they need to watch their mercury intake, including when it comes from fish and seafood.
Crawfish are low in mercury, averaging 0.033 parts per million. To give you an idea of how low that is, seafood with a mercury content of up to 0.1 PPM is still regarded as having a “low” level of mercury. Due to the low levels of mercury in crawfish, pregnant women shouldn’t be concerned.
Both farmed and wild crawfish that come from the The USA are thought to have little mercury. Given that the US is one of the top crawfish producers, this is the most likely variety you’ll encounter.
The amount of mercury in imported crawfish is listed as being “unknown,” so it’s probably best to stick with domestically produced farmed or wild crawfish.
If you plan to go fishing for wild crawfish on your own, see if there are any local marine advisories that mention possible pollution or other problems with specific local bodies of water.
How Much Crawfish Can You Eat While Pregnant?
Pregnant women are advised in the USA to consume 8–12 ounces of low mercury fish or shellfish each week. This also applies to crawfish, which have low mercury levels.
As you can imagine, the next question is…
12 Oz Of Crawfish Weighs How Much?
It’s worth mentioning that it’s better to eat a varied diet of fish when you’re pregnant, rather than eating 8 – 12 oz of just one single variety per week.
But when you’re expecting, you might find that you can only eat a certain kind of seafood or that it’s all you want to eat right now. That’s fine, too.
Since crawfish can vary in size, it is challenging to describe exactly what 12 oz of crawfish meat looks like. 12oz is about 240g, or 0.75lb of shelled crawfish meat. As a rough guide:
- 12oz is around 3 – 4 servings of crawfish tails. Ready-peeled crayfish tails frequently weigh between 80 and 120g and come in 1-serving trays if you live in the UK or Europe.
- In the USA, sealed plastic pouches of ready-peeled crawfish meat are typically sold in sizes of 12 ounces or one pound (e.g. Riceland, Gulf Marine, Boudreaux, Bernard’s, etc.).
- Depending on their size, whole crawfish cooked in their shell for a crawfish boil, for instance, only produce 15% tail or claw meat. Therefore 6 – 7 pounds of whole crawfish will yield 12oz of meat
When Is Eating Crawfish Safe While Pregnant?
The good news is that crawfish lovers don’t have to give up their favorite shellfish while they are expecting. When fully cooked, it is completely safe to eat and has a lower mercury content than other seafood, with an average of 0.033 parts per million (ppm) of mercury. The Food and Drug Administration considers seafood to have a low mercury content if it has 0.1 ppm or less. Because of this, you can eat properly cooked crawfish at any stage of your pregnancy.
Crawfish is packed with nutrients that are healthy for both you and your unborn child. It is a great low-fat option because it is regarded as a lean protein. Iron, niacin, copper, selenium, and trace amounts of vitamins C and A are also abundant in it. However, it’s important to consume no more than 12 ounces, or two to three servings, of seafood per week. Due to the fact that crawfish are smaller than lobsters and crabs, it is simple to consume more of them while still adhering to the advised dietary recommendations.
When Should Pregnant Women Avoid Eating Crawfish?
The main issue is accidentally eating undercooked seafood because crawfish should only be avoided while pregnant if it is not cooked thoroughly and correctly. Thankfully, crawfish is rarely eaten raw, but there is still a possibility of eating it raw. By doing this, you and your child may be exposed to pathogens, bacteria, and parasitic diseases that could make you both very ill. It is also best to stay away from imported crawfish because it can be challenging to determine how much mercury is in them.
Safely Cooking Crawfish At Home
You must adhere to general food safety regulations set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) when handling and cooking crawfish.
This entails using distinct cutting boards and utensils when preparing raw crawfish to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination. Or, to minimize the risk of contamination, thoroughly wash and sterilize any utensils and food preparation surfaces that could come into contact with the raw seafood.
Likewise, after handling raw crawfish, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, surfaces, and any appliances you used.
Remember that since their bodies are now supporting two people, pregnant women have weakened immune systems. Therefore, bacterial infections that may be less severe when you aren’t pregnant can be troublesome and dangerous for your unborn child.
Verify that the crawfish has heated to a temperature of 165°F (74°C) inside. If you want the best results, make sure your tasty treats have reached the right temperatures by using a cooking thermometer.
Pros Of Crawfish During Pregnancy
You’ll be glad to know that crawfish is a nutrient-rich food if you’re craving it while pregnant. Particularly, crawfish is regarded as a lean protein that is low in saturated fats and fat in general. The shellfish is a fantastic way to get:
- trace amounts of vitamin A and C
Signs When Consumed Unsafe Crawfish
You should watch out for specific symptoms if you suspect that you may have eaten contaminated crawfish. The likelihood of food poisoning is the primary worry. One hour to 28 days after eating contaminated food, symptoms can start to show up. They may include:
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
If you suspect you may have food poisoning, seek medical attention right away because your immune system is compromised during pregnancy.
Even though crawfish is considered “OK to eat,” that doesn’t mean you should go crazy and eat it nonstop.
Of course, pregnancy isn’t the time to test to see if you’ve overcame a shellfish allergy if you already know you have one. But also:
Mind The 12-ounce Rule
Although it’s a seafood low in mercury, pregnant people are advisedTrusted Source to keep their total seafood consumption to within 12 ounces per week. This typically equates to two to three servings of seafood per week.
Due to the fact that crawfish are smaller than other crustaceans like lobster and crab, you could easily eat more crawfish while still adhering to the advised dietary guidelines.
For instance, grocery store ready-peeled crawfish typically come in 12-ounce or 1-pound containers. In contrast, whole crawfish from a crawfish boil yield less meat after the shell is removed and would weigh 6 to 7 pounds to meet the recommended 12-ounce serving size.
Regarding crawfish obtained from American sources, we have specifically referred to standards and measurements. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) both closely regulate the crawfish industry, which is one of the largest producers in the world. As a result, the FDA can declare with confidence that crawfish have a lower mercury content.
However, there are fewer regulations on imported crawfish, and their mercury content is frequently listed as unknown. Therefore, it is best to stick with crawfish that is sourced domestically for the protection of both you and your baby.
Wild Vs. Farmed
In terms of ensuring that the seafood is low in mercury, as long as you choose crawfish that has been caught or raised in the United States, you should be fine.
If you are crawfishing on your own, though, that is not a given. To make sure the water where you’re fishing isn’t contaminated or has other contaminants, you should look for marine advisories.
Crawfish Green Light
The good news is that while pregnant, crawfish is not something you should completely avoid. It is completely safe to eat as long as it has been thoroughly cooked and prepared. Crawfish have a low mercury content of, on average, 0.033 parts per million, even when compared to other types of seafood, according to the FDA. Shellfish should be safe because the FDA classifies any seafood with 0.1 parts per million or less of mercury as having “low” levels of mercury. Before we put this one to rest, there are a few more things to think about.
Safely Prepping Crawfish
How can we tell when crawfish are cooked safely? One is that we can adhere to the food safety recommendations of the US Department of Agriculture. This entails using separate cutting boards and food preparation tools, washing and sterilizing all food preparation surfaces or tools, and avoiding cross-contamination with other foods. Additionally, make sure to clean any appliances, surfaces, or hands that come into contact with your shellfish.
Before serving, make sure the internal temperature is 165°F (74°C). To get the best results, use a thermometer. Food safety is of the utmost importance during pregnancy because a woman’s immune system is weaker than it normally would be.
Can Pregnant Women Eat Seafood?
Pregnant women should eat seafood, but they should be careful about the type of fish they consume and where it comes from. It’s important to steer clear of older, larger fish that may contain higher concentrations of mercury because they pose a risk to your baby’s developing nervous system (see list below).
To be safe, it’s best to avoid
- king mackerel
- tile fish
- raw shellfish like oysters and clams.
Consult the US Environmental Protection Agency or your state’s health department for the most recent information on fish caught in your area’s waters.
When preparing fish and shellfish, it’s also important that you cook
- fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, until the flakes are opaque
- shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they turn milky white in color
- clams, mussels, and oysters until the shells open. Shells that are still closed should be thrown away.
You might also be wondering if pregnant women can eat sushi. Avoid sushi made with raw fish or shellfish as well as chilled smoked fish, such as salmon, as these sources of food carry a higher risk of containing dangerous bacteria. The good news is that there are numerous sushi substitutes that are safe to consume while expecting, including vegetarian sushi and sushi rolls made with cooked fish or seafood, like shrimp tempura.
During your pregnancy, keep up your varied fruit and vegetable intake, but always wash raw produce to get rid of any potentially harmful bacteria. The best sources of vitamin A are carrots and leafy greens, and the best sources of vitamin C are strawberries and tomatoes. Ask your local grocer what fruits and vegetables are currently in season; you might find that you can occasionally add something more exotic, like papaya or pineapple, to the mix.
If washed thoroughly, the majority of fruits and vegetables are safe to consume; however, raw sprouts have a higher risk of containing foodborne pathogens. Sprouts are grown in warm, humid conditions, which is different from the majority of other fresh vegetables or fruits. This is the perfect environment for bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E to flourish. coli. Because of this, it’s best to stay away from raw sprouts like mung bean, alfalfa, clover, and radish.
Ensure they are thoroughly cooked if you do decide to eat sprouts. See more about Is It Safe to Eat Sausage During Pregnancy?
Which Fish Is Safe To Eat While Pregnant?
Therefore, crawfish and pregnancy get along well, but there are many other kinds of seafood you can eat as well.
In fact, there is a lengthy list of fish that the FDA recommends as being healthy and safe for expectant mothers and that contain little mercury. These include:
- Freshwater trout
…and many more. But keep in mind that it’s best to keep your weekly seafood consumption to no more than 12 ounces total.
On the other hand, fish with high mercury levels should be avoided include:
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
- Tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
- Bigeye tuna
Can You Eat Shrimp While Pregnant?
The edible decapods, also known as “ten-footed” crustaceans, include shrimp, crab, and lobster.
Additionally, they are all usually low in mercury, making them safe to consume while pregnant.
Always purchase them from a reliable source and ensure that they are fully cooked before eating.
So, anyone hungry?
With the exception of known shellfish allergies, eating crawfish while pregnant is typically safe.
It has great health advantages in addition to being safe. In essence, it’s a really nutrient-rich food that is excellent for your body to use when developing a new human.
Please post a comment if you have any queries. Regarding your reading, thank you.