Can Pregnant Women Eat Crawfish?
Pregnancy has a lot of do’s and don’ts which can often be overwhelming. It is true especially when it’s your first pregnancy. Imagine things like the endless doctor’s visits, blood tests, sonograms, and nausea. All these can get too much in the first trimester of the pregnancy.
That’s not all. Being pregnancy requires that you watch what you eat. What baffles most ladies is “what food is safe to eat?” During pregnancy, you are bound to have an array of foods which are craving. But when it comes to crawfish and pregnancy: here is what you need to know.
Mercury and pregnancy
A study revealed that a high level of mercury in a pregnant woman’s blood is related to poor cognitive development in children. It’s usually detected when the child clocks three years. This test relied on the measure of a child’s picture vocabulary plus a list of other assessments. These include visual-motor abilities. Such tests helped to come to a conclusion.
A new study discovered that human exposure to mercury happens mainly through consumption of seafood. It is usually methylmercury which forms when mercury mixes with bacteria in the water. This mercury gets absorbed in the placenta.
From here, the mercury transfers to the baby as it grows. It passes through the food eaten by the mother. Prenatal exposure to methylmercury is linked to a variety of problems. These include:
- Low mean birth weight
- Risk of preterm delivery
- Adverse neuropsychological and behavioral effects
Implications on seafood consumption
As noted above, many pregnant mothers have second thoughts on including seafood especially crayfish. A study in Brittany, France observed 2398 women and discovered that those who consumed shellfish were at a higher risk of fetuses with small-for-gestational-age (SGA).
The study discovered a risk of SGA births was 1.33 and 2.14 respectively for women who ate one to four times a month compared to those who had it twice or more in a week. Results were different for those who had it less in a month. This risk doubled for those who ate large crustaceans more than once a month. It’s a different scenario for those who ate different seafood once or less in a month.
To eat or not to eat crawfish when pregnant
Crawfish is relished seafood by lots of people including pregnant women. According to NHS, there is no problem with eating crawfish as long as it’s cooked. Any bacteria or viruses which might have been harmful are destroyed through cooking. However, you have to always get it your supplies from a reputable source. It helps avoid crawfish with toxins.
Many people still have misgivings with eating crawfish during pregnancy. However, according to American Pregnancy Association, crawfish has the lowest level of mercury. It means you should have no worries as long as you don’t consume it raw. Below are some reasons why you cannot miss a dose of crawfish.
Source of fatty acids
Taking crawfish when pregnant provides your unborn baby with essential fatty acids. These are great for the baby’s brain. Further, crawfish is an important pathway to expose the fetus to mercury. A little bit of mercury exposure has no harm to the mother or the unborn child. Studies revealed that mothers who consumed crawfish during pregnancy have children less likely to suffer from food allergies, eczema or asthma.
Impacts on child development
According to research, consumption of crawfish of more than 340 g each week when pregnant has tremendous benefits on child development. Limitation on crawfish consumption is detrimental to the fetus. Seafood is essential in the provision of Omega-3 fatty acids necessary for neural development. Further, people with high Omega-3 fatty acids have low incidences of depression and suicide.
Source of DHA
Another reason to enjoy crawfish when pregnant is that it’s an excellent source of DHA for your growing baby. DHA is beneficial in boosting brain health of your baby. Crawfish contain a nutrient which improves brain development.
Seafood when free from contamination and well-cooked is beneficial to the fetus. Children with mothers who consumed crawfish during pregnancy have better comprehension scores than those whose mothers didn’t.
Now that you have realized why you cannot miss your crawfish, you need ideas on the proper way to make your seafood meal. The good thing you have known it’s safe to consume crawfish during pregnancy. Take extra caution when cooking crawfish. Below are some pointers which might come handy:
- Rinse the seafood many times until the water becomes completely clear
- Boil water before immersing the crawfish
- Ensure to boil for at least twenty minutes
- Afterward, turn the heat down and simmer for twenty minutes
Crawfish are cooked with vegetables and potatoes. So, it ensures preparing for a bit longer. It adds assurance to safety concerns about undercooking. According to US Food and Drug Association, all food should be boiled until its internal temperature reaches about 145 degrees. Well-cooked crawfish should be red. Further, it should be opaque with a pearly appearance.