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Can You Eat Calamari When Pregnant? Is It Safe?

The list of foods you should avoid while you’re pregnant is a bit long, especially when it comes to seafood. Calamari lovers are bound to wonder if they can still have their favorite dish. Thankfully, you can!

When calamari is fully cooked and fresh, it is perfectly safe to eat. There are quite a few benefits that you get from eating Calamari. 

What Is Calamari?

Calamari comes from the Italian word for squid. Because of this, some people use the words interchangeably. You might see the word calamari on the menu in place of the word squid at a seafood restaurant. 

Calamari technically refers to a particular dish that is made of battered and deep-fried squid. This is when part of the squid’s body is used to make the dish. It’s already in rings, so all a chef has to do is batter it and fry it. 

Other dishes that are made of squid are occasionally called calamari, too. Some restaurants are known for flattening out part of the squid’s body and cooking it. This is usually referred to as a calamari steak. 

As you can see, several dishes that are made of squid are called calamari instead. This sounds better, but keep in mind that it simply means squid. 

Benefits Of Eating Calamari While Pregnant


Seafood that is safe to eat while pregnant, including calamari, are packed with benefits for both you and your baby.

Squid dishes can help you get vital vitamins and nutrients that both of you need in order for you to have a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby. 

Squid Has A Lot Of Omega 3

Omega-3 fatty acids are great for you and the baby. These are included in most prenatal vitamins, too. That’s because these fatty acids are known for promoting brain development in the fetus. 

Calamari Is A Great Source Of Protein

When we think of protein, we know that it’s important. Everyone seems to stress over protein, especially bodybuilders. However, protein is really important when you’re pregnant too. 

Protein, just like Omega 3 fatty acids, promotes healthy brain growth in developing fetuses. It also helps other fetal tissues grow at a healthy rate. 

Protein isn’t just good for your baby, it’s good for you too. Your breasts and uterine tissue will develop at a healthy rate.

This can even help increase your blood supply, and you need plenty of blood while you’re pregnant. Keep in mind that you need enough for two!

It Provides Plenty Of Iron

Iron is always important. Women are more likely to be iron deficient than men. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common conditions that pregnant women suffer from.

Unfortunately, iron isn’t always included in prenatal vitamins. Your doctor can prescribe iron supplements, but you can also do your part by getting additional iron from your diet.

(It’s always better if you can get more of your vitamins from healthy food.)

Your body needs iron all of the time, but especially when you’re pregnant. Iron is essential for your body to produce the blood that it needs.

Your blood supply needs to increase while you are pregnant so that there is enough for both you and the baby, so it’s important that it has what it needs to make that happen. 

Iron also helps the body move oxygen. Oxygen is moved throughout the body via red blood cells. That includes the oxygen in your baby’s body, so you’ll need to make sure that you have enough iron in your body for you and your baby to be healthy. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is great for healthy skin, hair, and eyes. This applies to all women, but especially pregnant women. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, too.

It helps protect the body from damage that is caused by free radicals. Other benefits of Vitamin E include: 

  • Regulation of prolactin
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Wider blood vessels, which can prevent clotting
  • Makes sure that your body can use Vitamin K
  • Helps cells interact with each other
  • Reduces the risk of miscarriage
  • Critical for the development of the head and eyes of your baby
  • Ensures proper growth (deficiency can result in stunted growth)
  • Improves blood circulation in the mother

Vitamin E is very important, but it’s also important not to take too much. Vitamin E is included in most prenatal vitamins, which usually makes it unnecessary to take supplements.

If you do want to take supplements, consult your doctor first. Too much vitamin E can lead to toxicity and can be dangerous for both you and your baby. 

Calamari Has A Bit Of B12

Even when you aren’t pregnant your body needs B12. It’s essential to keep your blood and nerve cells working properly.

During pregnancy, your body needs more B12 than it normally does. The recommended amount is 2.6 micrograms every day. Just three ounces of calamari has 85 grams. 

zinc foods

Zinc Is Important During Pregnancy Too

Too much zinc is bad for your metabolism and can have a negative impact on the way that your body absorbs copper, but consuming the recommended 12 mg per day when you’re pregnant is best. 

Zinc is very important for the placenta. It can impact both the growth and the function of the placenta during pregnancy. Because of this, a zinc deficiency can result in negative outcomes for the pregnancy as a whole. 

That’s not all zinc does. It also affects the growth of the fetus. Zinc plays a role in transporting iron through the placenta so that your baby can have a healthy development. It can also affect your blood pressure. 

The problem with us getting enough zinc is that our body doesn’t have a storage system in place for zinc. Whatever we don’t use is disposed of daily. Because of that, a person needs to consume zinc every day. 

Foods like calamari are great for a person that is trying to increase their zinc intake. Other foods that are packed with zinc include: 

  • Pork chops
  • Pork loin
  • Almonds
  • Peas
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cashews
  • Cereals and foods fortified with zinc

Remember that you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet to make sure that your body, and your baby, have all the nutrition needed. 

Things To Watch Out For If You Want To Eat Calamari During Pregnancy

Calamari is great for all of us, especially pregnant women. It’s one of the few kinds of seafood that you can still enjoy! However, there are a few things that you need to watch out for if you want to eat seafood. 

Know Where The Squid Came From

In general, squid is known for being a low mercury fish. However, there are exceptions. Fish that are caught in waters that have a higher level of mercury tend to also have a higher level of mercury in them.

Typically calamari is low in mercury, but it’s always best to be on the safe side. 

It Needs To Be Fully Cooked

Calamari should never be eaten raw. Instead, you should make sure that you follow the same rules that you do while eating any other seafood.

Make sure that it is properly cooked to avoid consuming harmful bacteria. It’s safest to cook your own and utilize a thermometer to guarantee that you’re not eating partially cooked calamari. 

Consider The Dish Before Ordering It

Some dishes that are called calamari are meant to be served with raw or partially cooked squid. For example, sushi that is advertised as having calamari often contains raw squid. Other dishes might have partially cooked squid. 

You can research dishes before heading out to eat to avoid any misunderstandings. Another great option is to always request that squid be fully cooked when ordering it.

If the dish includes fully cooked calamari, it won’t matter. If it doesn’t, yours will be fully cooked so you and your baby will both be safe. 

Seafood That Is Not Safe To Eat While Pregnant

It’s common to research a food before eating it when you’re pregnant, especially when it falls into the seafood category. As a general rule of thumb, you should only eat fully cooked seafood.

Any seafood that you do consume should be low in mercury. It’s best to avoid seafood that is served raw (like certain shellfish) and ones that are high in mercury. Seafood known for being high in mercury includes: 

  • Shark
  • Big-eyed tuna
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • King mackerel

Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. If you have a particular favorite, or craving when it comes to seafood you need to research that seafood to make sure that it is currently safe to consume. 

It’s also important to note that the CDC remains active in investigating and updating what foods are, and are not, safe to consume while pregnant.

Double-checking is always a great idea, especially when it concerns the safety of yourself and your unborn baby. 

In Conclusion

It’s common for pregnant women to question whether they can eat certain foods while they’re pregnant, especially when it comes to seafood. Calamari is safe to eat as long as it is fully cooked. 

Medical Disclaimer. All content and media on the MomInformed Website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.