Can You Eat Crab During Pregnancy? Let’s Find Out!

During pregnancy, it’s only natural for expectant mothers to have questions about their diet and what’s safe to eat. Seafood, in particular, is a topic of concern for many, and crab is no exception. The thought of enjoying a delicious crab dish while pregnant can be tempting, but is it safe? In this article, we’ll delve into the topic of whether it’s safe to eat crab during pregnancy, considering both the potential benefits and risks associated with including this popular seafood in your diet while you’re expecting.

Can You Eat Crab During Pregnancy? Let’s Find Out!
Can You Eat Crab During Pregnancy? Let’s Find Out!

Is it Safe to Include Crab in Your Pregnancy Diet?

One of the primary concerns when it comes to consuming seafood during pregnancy is the potential exposure to natural pollutants, such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins, and mercury, which can be present in certain seafood. However, it’s worth noting that crab falls into the lower risk category for contamination and can offer some benefits when included in a pregnancy diet.

Eating crab during pregnancy is considered safe under the following conditions:

– The crab should be thoroughly cooked.

– It’s advisable to consume crab in moderation.

– Seek approval from your healthcare provider before adding crab to your diet during pregnancy.

– Ensure that you trust the source of the crab.

Important Considerations When Including Crab in Your Pregnancy Diet

The journey of pregnancy is a time of great care and consideration for both the mother and the developing baby. While crab can be a beneficial addition to your diet during pregnancy, there are some key points to bear in mind:

Opt for King Crab

When indulging in crab during pregnancy, it’s advisable to choose king crab. Among popular crab varieties like Snow crab, Blue crab, and Dungeness crab, king crab is considered the safest option due to its lower mercury content.

Seek Local Guidance

Environmental factors, such as water contamination and pesticide levels, can vary significantly by location. To ensure the safety of the crab you’re consuming, especially if you’re catching it yourself, it’s a good practice to consult with local health authorities or fish advisors in your area.

Avoid Pre-Cooked or Raw Crab Meat

Steer clear of pre-cooked and raw crab meat dishes during pregnancy. These can potentially contain harmful parasites and microorganisms that may lead to food poisoning. Such illnesses not only pose risks to the expectant mother but can also impact the development of the baby. While raw seafood, like sushi and sashimi, is a delicacy in some cultures, it’s best to avoid them during pregnancy.

Ensure Proper Cooking

Properly cooking crab is crucial to eliminate potential risks. Thoroughly cooking your crab dish ensures that any dangerous parasites and microorganisms are destroyed. Make sure your crab is cooked until it’s piping hot.

Choose Fresh Over Frozen Crab Meat

When preparing crab dishes, it’s advisable to opt for fresh crab meat over frozen alternatives. According to the recommendations of experts like the CSU, sealed cans or pouches of crab meat are a safer choice for expectant mothers.

The Health Benefits of Including Crab in Your Pregnancy Diet

If you’ve met all the previously mentioned conditions and received the green light from your doctor, you can satisfy your crab cravings during pregnancy. Here are six health advantages of consuming crab during this special time:

Fosters Comprehensive Fetal Development

Crabs are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, D, and protein. Eating crab during pregnancy supports the holistic development of your baby.

Enhances the Mother’s Immunity

Crab meat contains antioxidants and amino acids that can boost the energy levels and immunity of expectant mothers.

Combats Anemia

Pregnant women often face the risk of anemia. Crabs, being iron-rich, can help prevent anemia during pregnancy. Iron intake also contributes to maintaining a healthy hemoglobin level for the baby after birth.

Supports Bone and Teeth Development

Crabs are a valuable source of calcium, which plays a significant role in promoting the development of the unborn baby’s bones and teeth.

Low in Calories

Crab meat is notably low in calories, making it a favorable choice for those concerned about weight gain during pregnancy.

Low in Cholesterol

Expectant mothers may have concerns about cholesterol levels when consuming crab meat. However, if your cholesterol levels are within a healthy range, you can enjoy crab without worries about elevating cholesterol levels.

Recommended Crab Consumption for Pregnant Women

While crabs are generally low in mercury content, it’s essential to exercise caution and not consume them without restraint during pregnancy. The recommended crab intake for expecting mothers is typically as follows:

– King crab: It’s safe to have 6 ounces of king crab twice a week.

– Snow crab, blue crab, and Dungeness crab: Due to potentially higher mercury content, limit your consumption to less than 6 ounces per month, or you may choose to skip them entirely.

Pregnancies are unique, and what’s suitable for one individual may not be ideal for another. It’s vital to consult your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations, as they are familiar with your specific health history.

Can Pregnant Women Consume Snow Crab Legs?

Snow crab legs offer a good source of essential fats but can be high in sodium. Excessive consumption may not be advisable for pregnant women. When indulging in snow crab legs, ensure they are thoroughly cooked and consider using healthy cooking methods like boiling, steaming, grilling, or frying. Avoid consuming half-cooked or raw crab legs, and be mindful not to exceed recommended daily allowances.

Risks and Considerations for Eating Crab During Pregnancy

When pregnant, it’s crucial to follow safe food handling and preparation practices when including crab in your diet. Here are some key risks and considerations:

– Ensure proper cooking of crab meat using appropriate methods.

– When storing live crabs, use well-ventilated containers, and refrigerate fresh crab at temperatures below 40°F or keep it well-packed in ice in an airtight container.

– Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw and cooked crab to prevent cross-contamination.

– Mercury exposure can harm a developing fetus, leading to neurological issues and congenital abnormalities. Hence, it’s essential to avoid high-mercury crab varieties to protect your baby’s health and safety.

In conclusion, consuming crab during pregnancy can be safe if you choose low-mercury options like king crab, source your crab wisely, and use proper cooking methods to enjoy its nutritional benefits while minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Avoid crabs with high mercury content, as they can pose a threat to your growing baby. Always seek guidance from your healthcare provider, dietitian, or gynecologist before incorporating crab into your pregnancy diet.


How much crab can you eat while pregnant?

The recommended crab intake during pregnancy varies depending on the type of crab. It is typically safe to consume 6 ounces of king crab twice a week. Other crab varieties like snow crab, blue crab, and Dungeness crab should be limited to less than 6 ounces per month or avoided, depending on individual circumstances.

Is crab high in mercury?

Crab is generally low in mercury, especially when compared to some other seafood. King crab, in particular, is considered a low-mercury option and is safer for consumption during pregnancy. However, it’s essential to be cautious with other crab varieties that may contain higher mercury levels.

Can you eat fully cooked crab while pregnant?

Yes, you can safely enjoy fully cooked crab during pregnancy. Proper cooking methods are essential to eliminate potential risks associated with harmful parasites and microorganisms that may be present in raw or undercooked crab. Always ensure that your crab dish is thoroughly cooked before consumption.

Is it safe to eat crab during pregnancy?

While it is generally safe to eat crab during pregnancy, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. It’s advisable to choose low-mercury options like king crab and ensure proper cooking methods are employed. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your specific health history.

How much crab can I eat during pregnancy?

The recommended crab intake for expecting mothers varies depending on the type of crab. You can typically consume 6 ounces of king crab twice a week, while other varieties like snow crab, blue crab, and Dungeness crab should be limited to less than 6 ounces per month, or you may choose to avoid them.

Can pregnant women eat snow crab legs?

Snow crab legs can be consumed during pregnancy, but in moderation. Ensure they are thoroughly cooked and consider using healthy cooking methods. It’s important to avoid consuming half-cooked or raw crab legs and to stay within recommended daily allowances.

What are the health benefits of eating crab during pregnancy?

Crab can offer several health benefits during pregnancy, including promoting fetal development, enhancing the mother’s immunity, helping to prevent anemia, supporting bone and teeth development in the baby, and being low in both calories and cholesterol, making it a suitable option for expectant mothers.

What are the risks associated with eating crab during pregnancy?

Some potential risks when consuming crab during pregnancy include the presence of harmful parasites and microorganisms in raw or undercooked crab, as well as the risk of food poisoning. Additionally, high-mercury crab varieties can be harmful to the fetus, leading to neurological problems and congenital abnormalities.

What safety precautions should be taken when eating crab during pregnancy?

It’s crucial to cook crab meat properly, store live and fresh crab appropriately, use separate utensils for raw and cooked crab, and avoid high-mercury crab options. Consult with your healthcare provider or a healthcare professional for specific dietary guidance and recommendations during your pregnancy.


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