Can Pregnant Women Eat Prawns or Shrimp?

"Can I eat prawns or shrimp when pregnant?" is a very common question asked by women.

As discussed in a previous article, there are a number of benefits associated with prenatal intake of fishes and seafood which contain high marine n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n−3 PUFAs), a source of omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits include reduction of hyperactivity, eczema, and asthma as well as enhancement of the child’s brain development. However, prenatal intake of fishes or seafood with high mercury levels may also impede neurological development. (The whole article: http://www.parenting-checkpoint.com/questions/how-much-fishes-should-pregnant-women-eat). Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to know which type of seafood should be eaten during pregnancy to help with health without adverse effects.

Based on the findings of one study, shrimp is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids with low mercury, and should be good for women to eat during pregnancy. The study compared the Omega-3 fatty acids and mercury contents among the various seafood species as following:

“Species that are high in omega-3s and low in mercury include salmon, trout, and shrimp. Species with both high levels of mercury and omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, shark, and halibut, swordfish, and sea bass.”

However, the mercury level of any seafood is the number one concern that any pregnant women should pay attention to. In conclusion, next time when you hear your friend ask "Can I eat prawns or shrimp when pregnant?" The answer is YES.

Created on January 20 2016 at 04: 54 PM


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Details of Scientific Answers: Click on each bullet to Read References

References:

1: "Mercury concentrations and omega-3 fatty acids in fish and shrimp: Preferential consumption for maximum health benefits," Marine Pollution Bulletin , 2010, by Smith, Katrina L., and Jane L. Guentzel.. (Citations: 25).

The consumption of fish and shrimp containing omega-3 fatty acids can result in protective health effects including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. These protective effects may be decreased by the presence of mercury in the muscle tissue of fish and shellfish. Mercury can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and impede neurological development. The objective of this project was to determine appropriate consumption amounts of selected fish species and shrimp based on mercury levels and recommended intake levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Species that are high in omega-3s and low in mercury include salmon, trout, and shrimp. Species with both high levels of mercury and omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, shark, and halibut, swordfish, and sea bass.



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