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Crawfish Consumption During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

Dec 29

Crawfish is a favorite seafood of many people. They are particularly well-liked in the south, where they are commonly cooked along with various types of fish, sausage, and vegetables. However, eating crawfish while pregnant is debatable despite its widespread consumption and beneficial health effects. We've gathered all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to eat crawfish while pregnant.

Louisiana Crawfish Boil Spicy Crawfish Boiling in a Stock Pot in Louisiana crawfish stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

What is Crawfish?

Small lobster-like crustaceans called crawfish, sometimes known as crayfish, crawdad, and mudbugs, are freshwater shellfish. They can be found in lakes, ponds, and streams all throughout the world, and Cajun cuisine  particularly enjoys using them. Their delicate meat and mild flavor make them an excellent accent to any recipe. Boiling crawfish with other seafood, meat, and vegetables is the most popular way to prepare them. Crawfish are also frequently included in gumbos, stews, and soups.

Mercury in Seafood

One of the major concerns about eating seafood while pregnant is the amount of mercury in it. Mercury is a substance that occurs naturally and is found in small concentrations in the environment. Additionally, industrial pollution releases it into the air, and it may end up in waterways where fish eat it. When pregnant women eat fish that contains mercury, the mercury can cross the placenta and accumulate in the developing fetus, which can cause neurological problems and developmental delays.

Different fish have varying levels of mercury depending on the species and region where they were captured. For instance, because they contain high amounts of mercury, pregnant women should avoid eating king mackerel, shark, tilefish, and swordfish. However, people who take precautions can consume shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish without worrying about their health because they are all low in mercury.

Pregnancy Safety of Eating Crawfish

Compared to other types of seafood, crawfish have a relatively low mercury content. With an average concentration of 0.033 parts per million, they are much below the 0.1 parts per million that are considered safe for pregnant women to consume. This means that as long as the crawfish is properly prepared, it is completely safe to consume it while pregnant.

Benefits of Consuming Crawfish While Pregnant

In addition to being low in mercury, crawfish are an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Protein is essential for the growth and development of the fetus, whereas omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for the growth and development of the brain. These two nutrients can help maintain a healthy pregnancy. As important elements for a pregnant woman's diet, crawfish are a rich source of iron, copper, selenium, niacin, and vitamins A and C in trace amounts.

Advice on Eating Crawfish While Pregnant

It is best for a pregnant woman to follow a balanced, healthful diet. Consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including crawfish, is required for this. There are a few considerations when eating crawfish while pregnant. Some of these include the following:


One of the most important factors to take into account while purchasing crawfish is freshness. Make sure the crawfish you buy are alive and in season. You can tell they're new if their tails are curled and their bodies are firm. If crawfish have soft bodies or straight tails, it is recommended that you avoid eating them.

12-ounce weight limit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises pregnant women to limit their seafood intake to no more than 12 ounces per week, or two to three regular meals. This regulation applies to all types of seafood, including fish, shellfish, and other seafood dishes like sushi and clam chowder. The FDA also cautions against providing shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish to expecting mothers due to their high mercury concentration.

Appropriate Cooking

Check the cooking of the crawfish you're eating as well. They must be heated to an opaque state and have curled tails in order to accomplish this. You have a larger risk of getting food poisoning if you accidentally eat raw fish, which could be dangerous for both you and your unborn child. Boiling is the most typical way to prepare crawfish, although other possibilities include frying, baking, and grilling.


If you won't be eating the crawfish right away, it's critical to adequately chill them. To avoid cross-contamination, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after handling raw crawfish. In the refrigerator, raw crawfish can survive for up to two days. Store them with ice in a covered container to keep them chilled. Because it is impossible to determine how long imported crawfish have been hanging around or whether they have been adequately cooled, it is recommended to avoid them.


Before cooking or eating your crawfish, make sure to give them a thorough cleaning. In order to do this, the "mud vein," a section of the crawfish's intestines, must be removed. To remove the crawfish, just make a brief cut with a sharp knife down the back.


It's important to remember to put any leftover crawfish in the fridge no later than two hours after cooking them. They are edible for up to four days. Before reheating, make sure they are completely heated. The FDA recommends discarding any leftovers that have been stored at room temperature for more than two hours.

Final Remarks

You shouldn't be concerned about giving up your love of seafood while expecting. As long as they are fresh, properly prepared, and stored in the refrigerator, crawfish are entirely safe to eat. You should steer clear of a few different kinds of seafood, though. Therefore, enjoy a delicious platter of crawfish guilt-free! As long as you always remember to follow the 12-ounce guideline, you'll be fine.

Check out this blog entry from Seafood Empire for additional information about eating crawfish while pregnant: