Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab and Seafood? Important Thing You Need To Know
Are you expecting a bundle of joy? Suddenly got a seafood craving? Well, hold your seahorses! If you’re wondering what’s the problem with eating seafood while pregnant, I’ve got some news for you.
There are many dangers to eating seafood. Fish and crabs spend all their lives in the water. If the water is dirty, they pick up lots of harmful things in their bodies. When you eat them, these end up in your body and travel to your baby’s bloodstream. So, can pregnant women eat crab?
USDA recommends pregnant women minimize seafood intake to avoid health risks. These include slow brain development of the child due to mercury in the seafood. Also, seafood can have bacteria such as salmonella.
Then there is the shellfish allergy, which can cause severe damage. Even if you’re not sure you have it, it’s better to be safe than sorry. isn’t it? While most allergies appear in childhood, shellfish allergy can show up all of a sudden in adults.
Shellfish allergy shows as rash, vomiting, diarrhea, aches, seizures and many other symptoms. This is because of streptomycin found in almost all shellfish. Now, let’s take a look at the data and see — can pregnant women eat crab?
I’m Pregnant and I’ve Eaten Crab, Now What?
If you haven’t experienced the allergic symptoms, you’re probably fine. There is no need to visit the doctor. But the real danger lies in heavy metals that accumulate in seafood, such as mercury.
The human body has a lot of trouble when exposed to mercury. It causes permanent brain and DNA damage. Also, it sticks around in fatty cells and causes chronic problems.
It’s hard to know how much mercury is in seafood. That’s why you’re safest eating less than 12 ounces a week. This includes all seafood, so no cheating!
Generally speaking, the smaller the animal, the safer the seafood. According to FDA, shrimps have the least mercury in them, 0.009 grams per ton. But, lobsters can have 0.166 grams of mercury per ton. While that doesn’t sound all too bad, any exposure to heavy metals is dangerous.
So, to answer the question “can women eat crab?” the answer depends on how comfortable you are with these numbers.
As long as you keep track of your weekly shellfish quantity, you’ll be fine. It’s unlikely you’ll be eating tons of it, but it’s still better to err on the safe side. Talk with a pediatrician to discuss mercury quantities you’re consuming and whether they’re bad for your baby.
There are benefits to eating crab as well. If you have safely sailed past the obstacles, you’ll love shellfish. Just like in everything else, it’s about moderation. Here are some benefits:
- More than enough protein for both of you. Protein helps our bodies rebuild themselves. When it comes to babies, protein helps them grow strong and smart. The easiest way to ingest protein is through meat. Protein also helps the immune system fight diseases. Your baby will use the protein you eat to grow beautiful skin, hair and nails.
- Omega-3 fats and vitamins. Seafood is rich in omega-3 fats, the right kind of fat. It lowers the bad (LDL) cholesterol and risk of heart disease. There are also vitamins A and D in crabs. They do a lot of good in the body, including strengthening bones, skin and nerves.
- Antioxidants that protect the immune system. When you’re pregnant, you need to be healthy for two. In the case of antioxidants, they protect the cells from premature death. They also help the body fight off diseases. The downside is that they can’t be stored in the body, so we have to ingest them often.
- More than enough iron for two. Blood is red because it contains iron. Without iron, we experience anemia. This means dizziness and overall fatigue. When your blood is shared with the baby’s, you will both need an extra dose of iron to stay strong and healthy throughout pregnancy. If you lack iron, you will get what’s known as “pregnancy anemia”.
- Calcium that fortifies baby’s bones. Our bones are tough as nails because of calcium. It gives bones the ability to heal and even flex to an extent. Without calcium, bones start to become brittle and crack easily. Because your bones are carrying two, you need extra power wherever you can get it.
- Almost no cholesterol or calories. It’s hard to find food that’s tasty and low in calories. Luckily, crabs are one such food. Seafood won’t cause heart disease and won’t cause sudden weight gain that comes from eating carbohydrates.
- Plenty of folates. Another way to fight off pregnancy anemia, folate is key to the proper development of the baby. Without it, the fetus can develop serious congenital problems, even leading to miscarriage.
Tricks and Tips For Eating Crab Meat
You probably already have a plan for preparing seafood. But here are some food safety tips and tricks you should heed.
- No raw seafood. It’s fun to eat sushi, but try to curb your cravings. Raw seafood can be a source of serious food poisoning, which means nights in the ER and worrying about your baby. Plus, raw seafood can have harmful bacteria that come because of poor hygiene, such as E. coli.
- Always thoroughly cook seafood. A 90% cooked crab is as dangerous as a rare one. You might think it’s no big deal, but don’t take any chances if you don’t have to. Before eating a crab, ensure its shell is orange-red and meat fully white.
- Mix it up a little. The best way to avoid mercury in seafood is to get it from different suppliers. Also, try different types of seafood. This will help you avoid kitchen boredom as well.
- Thoroughly wash the food. It’s been in the water alright, but you have no idea if it was dirty. The best thing to do before cooking seafood is to wash it thoroughly. This means no mud, slime or grime on it before you start cooking it.
Cooking Crabs To Perfection
Finally, here are some tips for the aspiring crab chefs. First, you’ll need to have live crabs with you. Then:
- Step 1: Calm them down. Either tie them up or put them in a Tupperware and the freezer for 30 minutes. Otherwise, they will go berserk in your kitchen.
- Step 2: Find a fitting pot and fill it 2/3 with water. Turn on the heat, place the pot on the stove and lower the crab into the pot. Salt the water and wait for it to boil.
- Step 3: Watch for the shell color. When it starts turning orange, it’s nearly cooked. When it’s red, it’s done. This takes some practice, but it’s hard to overcook it.
- Step 4: Take the pot off the stove and take the crab out.
- Step 5: Wait for the crab to cool off.
- Step 6: Take off its top half of the shell.
- Step 7: Remove the triangle piece of the shell from the underbelly and it should all come off at once.
- Step 8: Find the crab’s gills and remove them.
- Step 9: Split the crab open and, if you want, take off its legs.
The crab is now ready to eat. You don’t have to eat It all right away. You can save some of it for later, so you don’t have to deal with this process every day.
So, can pregnant women eat crab? Definitely! But it has its dangers and is best done in moderation. It’s not about giving in to your cravings or denying them but finding that happy place where you can eat your crab and have it too.