The craving for pregnancy is so strange. One minute you’re dreaming of a pint of your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and an hour later you’re ready to do anything for steak and mashed potatoes. Perhaps you dream of eating a juicy burger (or two). You may also have food cravings that you once hated. Despise the smell and taste of peanut butter? Well, now that’s something you can’t get enough of. Pregnancy addiction can even make you try new foods like fresh oysters, but then the age-old question arises: Can I even eat this while pregnant?
You’ve probably asked yourself this a lot lately, and rightfully so. Hey, figuring out what is safe and what is not safe to consume during pregnancy, travel. Learning which pain relievers are acceptable during pregnancy takes just as much time and is just as important for you and your baby’s health!
Unfortunately, the answer to the question of whether it is safe for pregnant women to eat oysters is not black and white. On the other hand, the answer will not be a simple “no”. You can eat oysters from time to time during pregnancy, but only if they are cooked in a certain way. Keep reading to find out why and how this happens.
Can you eat oysters during pregnancy?
Let’s start with the good news: you can eat cooked oysters while pregnant. Hooray! Pregnant women can safely consume eight to 12 ounces of low-mercury seafood per week, including cooked oysters, according to the FDA. Keyword? Done. The FDA even recognizes cooked oysters as one of the “best” seafood choices to eat during pregnancy. (Cod, salmon, scallops, shrimp, and tilapia are other foods on this list that should all be properly cooked before eating.) Oysters promote baby’s spinal cord development with an important nutrient called choline. Not to mention that shellfish are also rich in protein, various vitamins and selenium.
As with some foods and drinks during pregnancy (primarily coffee), moderation is key. In the case of oysters, preparation and method of preparation are also decisive. For this reason, the Mayo Clinic states that pregnant women should No eat raw seafood, including raw oysters. This can put you and your baby at risk of developing a potentially life-threatening infection, according to poison control, due to the types of bacteria shellfish encounter in the ocean.
The Mayo Clinic also notes that consuming too much mercury during pregnancy can “harm your baby’s developing nervous system.” Luckily, oysters are considered one of the “best options” when it comes to seafood during pregnancy as they are low in mercury. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest no more than two to three servings (8 to 12 ounces or 224 to 336 grams) of “safe” seafood, such as oysters, per week during pregnancy.
The only loophole, or rather takeaway, in all of this is that when shellfish are cooked properly, the bacteria die. So theoretically pregnant can there are oysters. It’s just that oysters must be thoroughly cooked.
How to cook oysters properly?
Oysters can be fried, fried, baked, or boiled. It doesn’t matter which method you choose, as long as the oysters are – for lack of a better word – “well done”. When handling raw seafood, always have a clean work area and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling. If the shells of some oysters are already cracked or open, discard them. You wouldn’t boil an egg if the shell was broken, would you?
You can tell that an oyster is ready because its shell will open. Oysters that do not open after boiling in water for about 10 minutes should be discarded. If you choose to fry, fry, or bake fresh oysters, it’s a smart idea to boil them for a few minutes first as a precaution. When in doubt, find a recipe with step by step instructions.