Is It Safe To Eat Sushi During Pregnancy?

Sushi During Pregnancy - Health Benefits, Risks, And Precautions

Eating nutritious and healthy foods during pregnancy is essential to provide nutrients to your developing baby. Pregnancy is the time when you need to be extra cautious whatever you eat or drink as it has a direct impact on your baby. Obviously, you've to avoid some of the things that can pose risks to you or your baby during pregnancy. With a little bit of caution, pregnant women can enjoy a variety of foods and drinks without endangering their health and the health of their little ones. If you're confused about whether sushi is safe to consume or not while pregnant. Then you're in the right place. This article is all about having Sushi in pregnancy. Read this article to know how safe or unsafe is sushi during pregnancy.

Sushi During Pregnancy - Risks and Precautions

What is Sushi?

It is a seaweed roll filled with cooked vinegar-flavored rice, raw or cooked fish, and vegetables usually served with wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce. 

Health Benefits of Sushi during pregnancy

Sushi is often regarded as one of the healthy foods because it contains many nutrient-rich ingredients. The nutrients present in Sushi include:


Fish is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. All these nutrients play a crucial role in the growth and development of the fetus. The Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) helps to promote your baby's brain development. 


Nori is a red variety of seaweed that is used to make sushi. Seaweed is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and fiber. They're an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial to promoting fetal brain development. 

Risks of eating Sushi During Pregnancy

Some of the risks involved in eating sushi during pregnancy are:

1. Excess Mercury

When a pregnant woman is exposed to high levels of mercury it can damage many parts of her body including the kidney, lungs, and nervous system (that include brain, spinal cord, and nerves). If you regularly eat fish with high mercury levels If a baby is exposed to high levels of mercury it can cause brain damage, hearing, or vision problems. Raw or undercooked fish is more likely to contain parasites and bacteria including listeria that can lead to foodborne illness or can harm your developing baby.

2. Risk of Infections

Consuming undercooked or raw seafood during pregnancy can increase the risk of exposure to certain kinds of bacteria such as listeria, which causes listeriosis. Listeriosis is a type of food poisoning that can pose serious health risks to the expectant mother and her growing baby. To prevent listeriosis, it's recommended to avoid eating sushi made with raw fish.

3. Harmful to the Fetus

Any sushi with raw or undercooked seafood is harmful to maternal health and for the growing fetus. So, it's better to avoid it. Eating such sushi can expose your baby to mercury, bacteria, and other harmful parasites. Pregnant women are more prone to infections as their immune system is weak at that time. Eating raw or undercooked seafood can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, stillbirth, uterine infection, or even stillbirth. 

Precautions to be taken while eating Sushi during pregnancy

Some of the precautions that you should take while eating sushi during pregnancy are:
  • Eat the sushi which contains vegetables or cooked fish. Raw or undercooked fish or shellfish may contain harmful parasites and pathogens which could result in an illness that can lead to blood infection which could be life-threatening to the expectant mother and her little one.

  • A fish or shellfish that has been cooked to the temperature of 145°F is safe for consumption in pregnancy as heating it to this temperature destroys any potentially harmful parasites and pathogens.

  • Raw fish that has been frozen is also unsafe to consume while pregnant. Freezing the fish can damage potentially harmful parasites but it doesn't kill pathogens (other disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses).

  • When eating out always make sure to ask about all the ingredients which are used to prepare a sushi roll. Avoid eating the sushi roll that contains any raw seafood as it can pose safety risks to you or your growing baby.

Types of Sushi that are safe to consume while pregnant

Excess levels of mercury can cause adverse effects on the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. So, always make sure that you consume sushi that contains fish of lower mercury level. Fish with lower levels of mercury include :

  • Ark Shell
  • Crab
  • Clam
  • Conger Eel
  • Cockle
  • Flatfish
  • Freshwater Eel
  • Flying Fish Egg
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Halfbeak
  • Mantis Shrimp
  • Octopus
  • Sea Eel
  • Round Clam
  • Razor-Shell Clam
  • Surf Clam
  • Shrimp
  • Sandfish
  • Salmon
  • Salmon Roe
  • Scallop
  • Shellfish
  • Smelt Egg
  • Squid
  • Trout
  • Sea Bream
  • Sea Urchin Roe

Sushi with high levels of mercury

Sushi with high levels of mercury should be avoided during pregnancy. Fish with high levels of mercury include:

  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Horse Mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Bigeye
  • Blue Marlin
  • Mackerel
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Seabass
  • Mexican Tilefish
  • Shark
  • King Mackerel
  • Bonito
  • Orange Roughy

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I eat sushi during pregnancy?

Sushi is safe to eat during pregnancy if it doesn't contain raw or undercooked fish. Raw fish contains higher levels of mercury and may also contain harmful bacteria or pathogens which can pose safety risks to the expectant mother and her growing baby.

2. Which sushi is safe to eat during pregnancy?

You can eat sushi rolls (cooked). Sushi that contains cooked seafood is safe to consume while pregnant.

3. Can I eat cooked rolls while pregnant?

Cooked rolls that are made with low-mercury fish and heated to a temperature of 145°F is safe to consume during pregnancy.

4. Which sushi rolls are safe to consume during pregnancy?

Sushi rolls that are generally considered safe for a pregnant woman are:

  • California Roll
  • Tempura Roll
  • Cooked Eel Roll
  • Cooked Salmon
  • Vegetable Roll
  • Cooked Crab Roll
  • Shrimp Roll
  • Steak and Chicken Rolls

5. Is California roll safe to eat during pregnancy?

California roll is a sushi roll that is usually rolled inside-out and often made with crab meat or imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. This crab meat is cooked and generally considered safe for a pregnant woman to eat.

Every woman and her pregnancy journey is different so it's best to talk to the doctor about your pregnancy diet to avoid any further complications. If you're unsure about any food item talk with your doctor or dietician and tell them about your concerns.

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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