Resources for parents to get through the challenges.

  1. Home
  2. Pregnancy

Can You Eat Crawfish While Pregnant?

Seafood is always in question when it comes to being pregnant. Some we know pregnant women should avoid, like sushi, but what about crawfish?

As long as it’s cooked properly, you should be fine eating crawfish. Crawfish normally has a low mercury content, which makes it safe to consume. 

Eating Seafood During Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

While crawfish is generally considered safe to eat, there are quite a few things that seafood lovers need to keep in mind over the next nine months.

Fish that are low in mercury are only considered safe if they’re fully cooked, for example.

Keep these other things in mind to determine which seafood you can enjoy now, and what you need to avoid to make sure that your baby stays safe. 

You Can Safely Eat Some Seafood, Including Crawfish, If It’s Fully Cooked

It’s highly recommended that you avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood during pregnancy. While this is particularly true for shellfish, it applies to all fish, including eating crawfish while pregnant. 

When you’re pregnant, your immune system instantly becomes lower than it was prior to pregnancy. This is necessary to make sure that your body doesn’t attack your baby.

Yet, it means that you are more likely to get sick, and you’re more susceptible to illnesses, including foodborne illnesses. 

One of the most common illnesses associated with eating raw fish is called Listeriosis. Anyone with a lower immune system, including pregnant women, is more likely to get this illness.

Listeriosis can cause an infection of the blood, meningitis, and other complications.

If you get this while you are pregnant, it can result in you, your baby, or both of you dying. Other consequences can include birth defects, pre-term labor, and many more. The risks are just not worth it. 

To make sure that fish is fully cooked, invest in a meat thermometer. Then, check the internal temperature to determine if the fish is done. When it is done, the internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F.

Other methods, such as looking at the color of the inside of the fish, are frequently used, but these methods are not safe.

Meat thermometers are inexpensive and remain the best way to tell if fish is fully cooked. This is especially important with shellfish because it’s usually harder to tell when they are done. 

Does Freezing Seafood Make It Safe For Pregnant Women To Eat?

No! This is a common myth because freezing fresh seafood can kill a lot of bacteria. While it does kill bacteria, it doesn’t kill all of it. People that consume raw seafood after it was frozen are still at risk for foodborne illnesses. 

Mercury Content In Seafood

Listeriosis is one of the main reasons that women should not eat raw seafood, but this isn’t the only concern regarding eating seafood while pregnant.

Most seafood has at least some mercury in it. Some fish have a high mercury content, but others are known for having a low enough mercury content to make them safe to eat.

What Is Mercury?

Mercury is a chemical element that’s found on Earth in its natural form. Small deposits are typically found in air, but these are not harmful because the amount is usually so small.

Mercury can be readily found in some things, like coal. (This is one of the reasons why many people believe that fish caught around coal plants have higher mercury content.) 

When mercury is found in water, it is absorbed by the fish in the water. Smaller fish that have a small mercury content are eaten by larger fish, which gives the larger fish a higher mercury content than it originally had. 

Why Is Mercury Dangerous?

Low levels of mercury often have little or no effect on people, hence why the FDA has deemed this to be safe.

Higher levels of mercury are known to cause several problems, such as neurological problems that can affect the development of children’s nervous systems.

Other problems that consuming high levels of mercury while pregnant can cause include: 

  • Developmental delays in the fetus
  • Brain damage to the fetus
  • Mental retardation in the fetus
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Lack of coordination in the fetus
  • Miscarriage

Please note that this is not an all-encompassing list. Consuming high levels of mercury while pregnant can cause a long list of problems, but these are the most common ones found. 

Mercury Content In Fish

Most fish on the market has a low mercury content that is deemed safe. Yet, there are still those species that have a higher content. Pregnant women should avoid eating fish unless they have low mercury content. 

Fish That Have A Low Mercury Content, And Are Safe To Eat While Pregnant

These are some of the most popular fish that are currently approved to be eaten while pregnant: 

  • Canned light tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Cod 
  • Catfish
  • Tilapia
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Freshwater trout
  • Crawfish
  • Oysters


Fish With A High Mercury Content That Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

These fish have higher mercury content, and should not be consumed by pregnant women, breastfeeding women, or children under the age of six. 

  • Shark
  • Big-eyed tuna
  • Ahi tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish

It should also be noted that albacore tuna has a higher mercury content when it’s compared to canned tuna. To be safe, stick with the fish on the list of low mercury fish. 

How Much Seafood Is Safe While Pregnant?

Even though most fish that have low mercury content, including crawfish, are deemed to be safe to eat while pregnant, it’s important to watch how much you eat.

When you’re pregnant, consuming large quantities of low mercury seafood can increase the levels of mercury in your body, which is also dangerous. Limit your intake to only twelve ounces per week of low mercury seafood. 

Should I Avoid Seafood While Pregnant?

No, this isn’t necessary. Some pregnant women are scared to eat seafood, but this can also eliminate the benefits of seafood, like fatty acids that are good for both you and your baby.

Instead, remember that everything is good in moderation. Indulge in low mercury seafood 1-2 times a week to make sure that you’re staying on the healthy side of things. 

So, Can I Eat Crawfish During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can. Crawfish is a shellfish, but it has low mercury levels that make it safe for consumption. Make sure that it is cooked thoroughly to avoid illnesses that can harm you or your baby.

Limit consumption of crawfish to no more than 12 ounces per week. Remember that if you are eating other seafood, this should also be included in the twelve ounces per week.