Is It Safe to Consume Oysters While Pregnant?

Eating Oysters During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Anindita Bhattacharya (Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian)
View more Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian Our Panel of Experts

Pregnancy cravings can manifest in the weirdest forms. Most pregnant women crave food items that they should avoid during pregnancy. It is no secret that oysters are incredibly delicious and a delicacy for most people. But are they safe to be consumed during pregnancy? Well, there’s only one way to find that out.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Oysters?

Pregnant women can safely consume oysters only if they are fresh and cooked thoroughly. Yet, it is recommended to keep oysters at bay, especially in certain phases of pregnancy.

Potential Side Effects of Eating Oysters When Pregnant

Pregnant women must strictly avoid raw or undercooked meat products. Consumption of raw oysters during pregnancy would fall into the same category, which can give rise to certain unwelcome side effects. A few of these are listed below.

1. Risk of Experiencing Gastrointestinal Problems

Since oysters might not be adequately cooked or would generally be raw, there is a high chance of them containing bacteria that can infect the digestive tract and other areas within the body. At times, the bacteria and fungi causing the infections might be harmful to the foetus, leading either to a miscarriage or severe damage to the brain. The bacteria could also result in an illness severe enough to cause a blood infection that can be life-threatening for the mother and the baby.

2. Ineffective Immunity During Pregnancy

Since a baby is growing within the body, the immunity system takes a step-down to keep all the processes functioning as they are. Undercooked or half-cooked oysters, unfortunately, increases the chances of experiencing food poisoning. At times, they could even trigger allergic reactions as a result of the immune system’s final response.

Cheesy Oysters

Why Consuming Oysters Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy

Any meat product that is served raw or is not prepared by subjecting it to an intense cooking process is generally unsafe for a pregnant woman. However, oysters themselves do have various constituents that can be quite beneficial to a pregnant woman.

  • The proportion of vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and various omega 3 acids in oysters are quite substantial. All these constituents are highly recommended for a pregnant woman, which can keep her heart healthy and also keep a check on any inflammation.
  • Amongst the numerous elements required to keep the neurological development of the growing child on track, zinc is a pretty important one. While it might be present in trace quantities in various food items, oysters contain a considerable proportion of it, making it a great choice during pregnancy.
  • Protein intake is another factor that needs to be taken into account for pregnant women. Oysters are quite rich in protein and significantly low in fat as well as calories. This makes them the perfect addition to pregnant women, who are struggling to keep their weight in check.

Charcoal Oysters

Things to Consider Before Eating Oysters While Pregnant

While consuming adequately cooked oysters during pregnancy poses the lowest risk and the highest benefit for the mother, it is necessary to keep a few things in mind before consuming oysters in any form.

  • Prefer using fresh oysters instead of refrigerated ones when preparing cooked recipes using them.
  • While cooking oysters, ensure that they have been cooked thoroughly and have a texture that is firm and healthy.
  • Keep away from oyster consumption especially in the first and last trimesters, since they are high-risk periods.
  • Consume oysters in limited quantities along with any seafood items that accompany it.

Alternatives to Oysters

While oysters do provide numerous benefits and nutrients that are rarely found in other food products, there are always alternatives one can consider. Fish oil supplements, peanuts, pumpkin seeds do contain zinc in good proportion, along with flaxseed oil or certain cereals which contain omega-3 acids and are safer than oysters.

Keeping away from canned smoked oysters might be difficult if you are already a die-hard fan of them. But ensuring your baby’s safety and a healthy pregnancy ought to be your priority at all times. Opting for alternatives is your best bet to avoid any complications.

Also Read: Is it Safe to Eat Crab during Pregnancy?

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