Can You Eat Oysters While Pregnant? Raw, Smoked, More

Can You Eat Oysters While Pregnant Raw, Smoked, More

Pregnant women need to eat a healthy and balanced diet during and after the pregnancy. It helps both the mother-to-be and the unborn baby. When a woman is pregnant, the need for several nutrients increases, and to ensure that, eating vital and balanced food is essential for both mother and baby’s good health.

If you love eating oysters and wonder, can you eat oysters while pregnant, will it be safe or have side-effects, keep reading to find the answers!

What are Oysters?


An oyster is a saltwater bivalve mollusk that inhabits marine habitats such as oceans and bays.

Oysters play a vital role in improving the quality of the water by filtering pollutants out of the water and providing suitable habitat to other species such as barnacles, mussels, invertebrates, and other shellfish.

Oyster Nutritional

Oysters have a hard and irregular-shaped shell called meat that protects the inner body. These mollusks are known to have aphrodisiac properties as well as a lot of health benefits.

These sea animals are low in calories yet rich in vitamins, healthy proteins, healthy fats, and minerals. These mollusks are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

100 g of raw Oyster contains (1) the following nutrients:

  • Calories- 81 Kilocalories
  • Protein- 9.45 g
  • Fats- 2.30 g
  • Carbohydrates- 4.95 g
  • Vitamin B12- 16 microgram
  • Iron- 5.11 mg
  • Magnesium- 22 mg
  • Potassium- 168 mg

Benefits of Eating Oysters in Pregnancy

Eat Oyster During Pregnancy

Oysters contain vitamins and minerals that help to carry a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few nutrients of oyster that offer great benefits and ensures healthy pregnancy-

  • Protein and zinc encourage the growth of a healthy fetus.
  • Potassium helps to keep the body hydrated and functioning optimally. This nutrient also helps to maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body’s cells.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supports the development of baby’s brain and eyes, and helps to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth.
  • Iron is important for making hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that takes oxygen to the cells, and decreases the risk of anemia, which is common in pregnancy.
  • Vitamin B12 is critical for developing the brain and central nervous system. One serving of cooked oysters has more than six times your recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 in pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Eat Oysters During Pregnancy?

People popularly choose oysters to eat raw directly from their shells. The safety of eating oysters during pregnancy depends on the way they are consumed, raw, smoked, or cooked.

Yes, it is safe to eat oysters during pregnancy, but ensure that they are thoroughly cooked and prepared. As long as they are adequately cooked, oysters are a healthy and beneficial food choice for the mother-to-be and the baby during pregnancy.

Raw or Smoked

It is advised NOT to eat raw oysters or even avoid any smoked oysters during pregnancy because some of the smoking methods don’t cook fish or shellfish to a safe temperature (2).

Oysters eat by pulling in the surrounding water, which viruses and bacteria could contaminate and cause foodborne illnesses. And the risk of contracting bacterial vibrio infection can be dangerous for the unborn baby. Just by looking, we cannot tell if the Oyster is contaminated or not.

The immune system slightly weakens during the pregnancy, making you more prone to foodborne disease or food poisoning.

Side Effects

  • Infection: Infection caused by raw oysters can lead to life-threatening severe pregnancy complications like miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.
  • Contamination: Bacterial infection by Vibrio bacteria (3) can cause symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and severe conditions like septicemia, a serious blood infection that can lead to death.
  • Mineral toxicity: There is a high amount of zinc in oysters, which, when consumed by pregnant women, can be harmful. Although zinc is a vital mineral, consuming it in high amounts can harm the pregnancy.
  • Allergy: Some people experience a widespread allergic reaction after eating mollusks. This allergy during pregnancy can be severe and dangerous, causing stomach aches, vomiting, and shortness of breath.

How To Eat Oyster During Pregnancy

1. Thoroughly Cooked: Oysters are safe for a pregnant woman only when thoroughly cooked to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees F. The different ways of cooking an oyster include frying, boiling, baking, grilling, or broiling (4).

Here are a few best ways to cook oysters, especially when you are pregnant-

  • Boil for at least 3-5 minutes.
  • Fry in oil for minimum of 3 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  • Broil for 3 minutes, 3 inches from heat
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees F.

2. Fresh Oyster: Buy fresh oysters with fully closed shells; do not cook Oysters whose shells are already open. To be on safer side during pregnancy, the oysters should be cooked immediately after buying. Keeping them in the refrigerator and cooking them after few days might increase the risk of food poisoning.

3. Extra boiling: Boiling helps to kill bacteria, so boiling oysters for 3-5 minutes before frying, baking or broiling ensures that it is completely cooked and safe to eat for a pregnant lady.

4. Oysters in the shell: Boil oysters until their shells are open, then continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Oysters can also be steamed for 4-9 minutes.


Oysters contain nutrients that are beneficial for the pregnant lady and her unborn child, but it is also important to eat them safely.

So, the answer to can you eat oysters while pregnant is definitely YES.

However, make sure you cook them properly before consumption in pregnancy to avoid food poisoning. There should also be a limit to the number of servings eaten per week.

Image Source : Canva

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