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can pregnant women eat crab

Can pregnant women eat crab? – This is a frequently asked question that most would-be mothers often ask. Seafood is a great source of vitamins D, A, protein and omega-3 fatty acid. These minerals and vitamins are absolutely necessary for the growth and development of eye and brain of a fetus. It also helps to deal with postpartum problems and pregnancy.

Despite the myriad benefits of seafood during pregnancy, a lot of would-be mothers are not sure if pregnant women should eat crabs and are not sure about its safety. As experts suggest, crabs can be consumed during the phase of pregnancy but in moderate quantity and taking a few precautions.

Let’s take a look at what are the precautions you need to take for having crab during pregnancy.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab?

The largest problem in eating the sea food while pregnancy is that food may contain environmental pollution.

1. Choose King Crab

Crab During PregnancyNot all varieties of crab is recommended during pregnancy. As per the advice of reputed doctors, there are only a few varieties of crabs that are totally safe for pregnant women.  The king crabs are amongst the safest crab varieties. This variety of crabs is full of minerals, vitamins, lean protein and omega-3 and is very tasty and nutritious. Pregnant women require a certain amount of seafood in their diet for the effective growth of the baby. King crabs have the lowest amount of mercury. Pregnant woman should consume maximum two servings of crabmeat of 6oz each.

2. Eliminate Crab Varieties Rich In Mercury From Diet

Many varieties of crab including blue crab, snow crab, and Dungeness crab are not at all safe for consumption during pregnancy phase. These varieties contain very high proportion of mercury in them. Mercury affects the development of brain and nervous system of the fetus. Though crabs are packed with calcium and nutrients, all the varieties of crabs are not recommended for pregnant women. As stated earlier, pregnant women should opt for King crabs as they have a very small percentage of mercury in them.

Mercury accumulates in blood stream. So, it is mandatory to monitor its intake when you are pregnant. In case you have been exposed to mercury intake in your food during pregnancy or during the phase when you are planning for a baby, you should consult a physician, in order to be sure of no harm.

3. Avoid Undercooked Or Raw Crabmeat

During pregnancy avoid having undercooked or raw crabmeat, as that can contain high amount of harmful bacteria and parasites. Consuming these pathogens can cause food borne diseases like toxoplasmosis, listeriosis etc.

During pregnancy the immune system is compromised making it difficult to fight off these microorganisms obtained from food poisoning and thus it can lead to severe infection and harm both the baby and mother.

Moreover the fetus’s immune system is just developing and is not strong enough to fight off dangerous pathogens. This may lead to miscarriage or birth defects.

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4. Be Choosy

Most of the bacteria or parasites are killed during cooking. Thus consume the food piping hot. You can use a cooking thermometer to be assured that the food is properly cooked. Do not consume crabmeat that is served lukewarm. Always go for piping hot crabmeat.

Make sure that the cooking area where crabmeat is being prepared is not near to raw crabmeat, to lower the chance of transfer of parasites from the raw meat to the cooking area and thus into your food. Avoid having smoked refrigerated crabmeat for the same reason.

5. Prepare Food With Care

Can pregnant women eat crab by taking certain precautions? The answer is yes. Take adequate precaution to prepare crabmeat before consuming it, How the crab is handled, prepared and stored makes a lot of difference. Take note of the following precautions while preparing seafood.

Medical Conditions
  • Make sure to use separate cutting boards and knives for preparing raw seafood.
  • Cook the crabmeat till it turns milky white and then only you can be assured that it is fully cooked.
  • Store the perishable or leftover crab in the refrigerator in an airtight container at a temperature below 40 degrees that is at 0 degrees.
  • Do not consume crabmeat left at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Wash the utensils, cutting boards and the surface used for preparing raw food with soap and water after preparing seafood.
  • Make sure to wash your hands after and before preparing raw food.

6. Go For An Assortment Of Seafood

All types of seafood contain certain amount of mercury and so the best way to avoid taking in too much of mercury in the body is by having a wide variety of seafood in very small amounts but on the whole shell fish contains the least amount of mercury and king crabs have the least.

7. Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab Legs

Crab Legs for Pregnancy

Many times pregnant women need to know whether eating crab legs is safe during pregnancy. The answer to this question is explained as follows.

According to the “USA Food and Drug Administration,” pregnant women should lower their total intake of shellfish and fish including the crab legs to about 12 ounces for a week. The FDA has limited the amount of consumption of crabmeat for pregnant ladies as all types of shellfish have certain amount of mercury but king crabs pose little threat if consumed within the prescribed amount. If ever the intake of crab legs increases to 15 ounces in a week, the pregnant women can still be in the safe zone by avoiding seafood the next week.

While having crabs, pregnant women should ensure that the crab is fully cooked to get rid of the food borne bacteria like listeria, salmonella etc. Fully cooked crab meat appears milky white in color and the internal temperature of the meat measures 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Doctor’s advice pregnant women to take certain amount of seafood every week but the amount should not exceed 12 ounces. Shell fish among all the types of seafood is the best choice for pregnancy and king crabs are the safest.


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