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The Benefits of Eating Shrimp During Pregnancy

The Benefits of Eating Shrimp During Pregnancy

Shrimp don't take long to cook, and they can be fried, sautéed, and grilled, making dinner prep for busy families with picky eaters that much simpler. When it comes to seafood, meal planning while pregnant can feel tricky because there seem to be so many types of fish to avoid. The good news is that not all fish are bad. Here, Biloxi Shrimp Co. explores the health benefits of eating shrimp while pregnant.

Seafood Safety while Pregnant

Seafood is a great source of nutrients. It contains many of the nutrients your body needs to function daily as well as several your baby needs for development. However, because of the high mercury content in some types of fish, it's widely recommended that pregnant women steer clear of certain seafood dishes.

Mercury is a known neurotoxin commonly found in certain seafood. The level of mercury found in aquatic life depends on the species. Shark, swordfish, and other large, predatory fish generally have higher concentrations of mercury, while smaller, low-lifespan fish usually have lower concentrations. While it's always a good idea to consult your doctor on pregnancy food choices, research shows consuming seafood that's low in mercury is safe for both mother and fetus.

Types of Low-Mercury Seafood

What does this mean for shrimp? Good news! Your favorite type of shellfish does not fall into the high-mercury category, making it a safer seafood option during pregnancy. Along with Gulf shrimp, other seafood choices for expecting women may include:

  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Crab
  • Pollock
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Canned light tuna
  • And more…

Whether you've been craving a crab-stuffed shrimp dinner or a slice of delicious seafood pizza for lunch, there are many types of fish women can enjoy while pregnant. Making yourself a list can take some of the worry out of meal planning each week and deciding what to order at restaurants.

Nutritional Benefits of Gulf Shrimp

Gulf shrimp are a low-fat, low-calorie, and high-protein food. As long as they are fully cooked, shrimp are a healthy seafood choice for most pregnant women. In fact, it's recommended by the FDA and EPA that women eat a variety of seafood that totals at least 8 to 12 oz. per week. This equals approximately two to three servings of nutrient-rich goodness that provides your body with:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine

Omega-3s EPA and DHA are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential in fetal growth. From cognitive to eye development, this fatty acid is critical to growing unborn babies. Experts recommend pregnant women consume enough of this nutrient throughout pregnancy to support healthy fetal development. It's also recommended during the postpartum period to support lactation.

Iron is especially good for pregnant women because it helps combat anemia. With at least two of you to care for, your body's producing more blood to go around. Eating iron-rich meals, such as meat and seafood, can help your body produce the extra blood it needs. This can also help you feel more energized during the next nine months.

Dive into Your Favorite Shrimp Recipes Today

Whether you’re expecting a little one or hoping to give the mother-to-be in your life a delicious seafood gift she’ll love, Gulf shrimp can play an important role in a healthy pregnancy. Need ideas for ways to savor shrimp? We offer a variety of delicious shrimp recipes you can prepare at home.