Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

Optimal nutrition plays a significant role in our health and especially during pregnancy. The question that arises all the time is “can pregnant women eat crawfish?”.

Do you have to worry about eating Crawfish during your pregnancy period? To clear this confusion, you have to read the following information that I will provide you. So here I will let you know whether it will be beneficial to eat Crawfish during pregnancy or not. So that you can healthily continue your pregnancy without any confusion.

If you’re pregnant, you’ll get to consume most of the foods you enjoyed before you became pregnant, with a few exceptions. Seafood, on the other hand, frequently raises suspicions.

The question remains the same, “can pregnant women eat crawfish?”. According to the experts, crawfish (Crayfish) are safe to eat while pregnant. If properly cooked, Crawfish are fine to eat for pregnant women. They can be served hot or cold to enjoy. Uncooked Crawfish should not be consumed by pregnant women.

However, there seem to be several more things that pregnant women frequently ask, such as how to prepare Crawfish vs. what is present inside a crawfish, such as mercury. All of this is present further down.


Crawfish meat has a similar appearance and flavor to lobster meat. The biggest difference between the two organisms is that Crawfish hardly grow more than 2 to 3 inches in length, but lobsters can grow up to 20 inches. Lobsters prefer saltwater, whereas Crawfish prefer freshwater.

Boiling, steaming, or grilling are the most common methods of preparation. The meat is smooth and light reddish-brown, with a delicate, somewhat sweet taste. Pregnant women may be concerned about mercury levels and question if it’s safe to eat Crawfish.

Approximately 95 percent of the Crawfish consumed in the United States is harvested in Louisiana, but they are popular worldwide, from Sweden to Spain to Nigeria. This common crustacean is present worldwide, crawling around in swamps, rivers, and lakes. But Can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

Origination of Crawfish

We’ve been referring to specific criteria and specifications for Crawfish sourced in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily supervise the crawfish industry in the United States. Because of this, the FDA can reliably declare Crawfish to be mercury-free.

On the other hand, imported Crawfish aren’t as tightly monitored, and mercury levels are frequently classified as unknown. It’s necessary to adhere to organically sourced Crawfish for your and your baby’s safety.

Cultivated vs. Wild

As you choose Crawfish captured or raised in the United States, you ought to be safe in terms of mercury levels in the shellfish.

If you’re collecting your pet crawfish, though, this isn’t always the case. Check for marine warnings to ensure that the water you’re fishing in isn’t poisonous or is in contaminated with other toxins.

Nutrition of Crawfish

Crawfish is a nutrient-dense food; it is enjoyed in different areas of the world. If we talk about its nutrition facts, then the following points accurately elaborate the nutrition of Crawfish:

  • Crawfish is a crustacean with white meat that is low in calories and fat. The meat of the tail contains only 77 calories and 0.95g of fat per 100g.
  • The tail meat which is white meat is high in protein. Their lean meat contains 15.97 g/100g (27 percent of the RDI) of protein and is rich in all essential amino acids in balanced proportions.
  • Consuming seafood may lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension, according to a study. Seafood has less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
  • To achieve necessary fatty acid, protein, mineral, and fat-soluble vitamin requirements, the American Heart Association recommends consuming seafood, particularly crustaceans.
  • Unlike oily fish such as salmon, Crawfish is a minor source of vitamin A and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA).
  • It contains only 57 IU/100g of vitamin A and 0.152g of omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids are required for healthy mucosa and skin.
  • Crayfish, which live in freshwater, eat microscopic insects and zooplankton, which are rich in B-complex vitamins. Crawfish meat is high in folates, niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and riboflavin, among other nutrients.
  • Crawfish and other invertebrates are at the bottom of the food chain, containing only tiny levels of heavy elements like mercury. Pregnant women should consume at least 8 ounces (340 grams) of low-mercury seafood per week, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Crayfish are high in iron (10.5 percent RDI), selenium, iodine, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus (36.5 percent RDI), and magnesium.

Now that we know so much about Crawfish, let’s return to our main query: Can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

What are the outcomes when pregnant women eat Crawfish?

There is a two-way approach to answer the question, “can pregnant women eat crawfish?” and “Is it safe to consume crawfish during pregnancy?”.

Food poisoning can be by eating raw or undercooked crawfish. Make sure the meat has reached a high enough temperature throughout the cooking process, whether you’re boiling, steaming, or frying it. This isn’t good at the best of times, but because your immune system is impaired while pregnant, it could be significantly worse.

Indications that you ate tainted Crawfish

If you suspect you’ve consumed tainted Crawfish, seek specific signs and symptoms. The biggest worrying sign is the possibility of food poisoning. The following symptoms can emerge anytime from 1 hour to 28 days after consuming infected foods:

  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Weakness

If you suspect you have food poisoning, seek medical attention right away because your immune system is weak during pregnancy.

Is it safe for pregnant women to eat just cooked Crawfish?

You might be asking the question “can pregnant women eat crawfish?” and now you know they’re safe when properly cooked.

To prevent any misunderstanding, I’ll refer to  use Crawfish throughout this article; nonetheless, it’s the same crustacean that goes by various names, such as:

  • Crawfish is a type of crustacean
  • Crawdaddies
  • Yabbies
  • Mudbugs
  • Freshwater, often known as “mountain lobster,” is a type of lobster that lives in freshwater.

When it’s not safe to eat Crawfish while pregnant?

Crawfish must only be eaten when thoroughly cooked by pregnant women (and everybody else, for such a case). Although I haven’t heard of anyone wishing to eat them uncooked, ‘undercooked’ is a possibility, especially with large Crawfish that may require longer cooking periods than you believe.

Uncooked shellfish can have bacteria and pathogens, while raw Crawfish, especially if collected wild, can carry parasite infections. Crawfish that have been cooked are safe to consume.

What is the amount of mercury that a crawfish contains?

There is more to this question, “can pregnant women eat crawfish?”. Another aspect of dealing with this question is possible mercury poisoning that may lead to severe complications (due to overconsumption of crawfish).

Pregnant women are frequently aware that they must limit their mercury consumption, including mercury in seafood.

Generally, the mercury levels in Crawfish are minimal, averaging 0.033 parts per million. To indicate how little that is, seafood with a mercury concentration of up to 0.1 PPM is still deemed “low.” With these low amounts of mercury in Crawfish, pregnant women do not need to be concerned. But still, can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

Mercury levels are minimal in both farmed and wild Crawfish from the United States. Because the United States is one of the top providers of Crawfish, that’s the most likely Crawfish you’ll encounter.

It’s worth mentioning that imported Crawfish are labeled as containing an “unidentified” quantity of mercury, so go to farmed or wild Crawfish from the United States.

When you’re going wild crawfish fishing, see if there are any marine warnings in the area, which signify that some local reservoirs may be contaminated or have other difficulties.

When you’re pregnant, how much Crawfish can you eat and Can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

Since we have thoroughly tackled the question, “can pregnant women eat crawfish?” and covered all the related areas. But how much crawfish is allowed to eat for a normal person and especially for a pregnant woman?

Pregnant women in the United States are recommended to consume 8–12 ounces of minimal mercury fish or shellfish each week. This includes Crawfish, which have low mercury content.

Read Also: Can Pregnant Women Drink Wine?

What is the weight of 12 ounces of Crawfish?

It’s important to keep in mind that it’s preferable to eat a diverse fish intake rather than 8-12 ounces of only one variety per week when you’re pregnant.

If you’re already pregnant, though, you may find that you can only eat one sort of seafood, and so it’s all you have to eat for the period. That’s ok as well.

Because Crawfish can vary in size, it’s difficult to give a specific estimation of what 12 ounces of crawfish meat seems like. 12 ounces of shelled crawfish meat weighs around 240 grams or 0.75 pounds. As a general rule of thumb:

12 ounces of crawfish tails equals 3-4 servings. If you’re in the UK or Europe, fully prepared crawfish tails usually serve in 80-120g 1-serving trays.

In the United States, airtight plastic bags of primed crawfish meat (e.g., Boudreaux, Bernard’s, Riceland, Gulf Marine) are normally 12oz or 1lb in size.

Complete Crawfish, such as those used in a crawfish boil, provide only approximately 15% tail or claw meat when cooked in their shell, depending on their size. As a result, 6-7 pounds of entire Crawfish give 12 ounces of flesh.

Benefits of Crawfish while pregnancy

Now that you are pregnant and also know the answer to can pregnant women eat Crawfish?, let’s see the benefits of eating it. If you’re craving Crawfish while pregnant, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s a nutrient-dense food. Crawfish, in particular, is regarded as a lean protein that is low in fat and saturated fat. Shellfish is also an excellent source of:

  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Niacin
  • Vitamins A and C are present in trace amounts.
can you eat crawfish while pregnant

Cooking Crawfish safely at home

When handling and preparing Crawfish, adhere to standard food safety guidelines outlined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). You should proceed to this only when you know the answer to can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

This includes using separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing raw Crawfish to avoid cross-contamination. To reduce the risk of contamination, thoroughly wash and sterilize utensils and food prep surfaces that may come into contact with raw seafood.

Similarly, after handling raw Crawfish, thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, surfaces, and any appliances.

Keep in mind that pregnant women’s immune systems are compromised because their bodies are now supporting two people. As a result, bacterial infections that are less serious when you aren’t pregnant can be problematic and dangerous to your baby.

Check that the Crawfish has reached a temperature of 165°F (74°C). To ensure that your tasty treats have reached the proper temperatures, use a cooking thermometer.

General considerations for pregnant women

Just because Crawfish is “OK to eat” doesn’t mean you can gorge yourself on it all day, every day.

Of course, if you know you’re allergic to shellfish, pregnancy isn’t the time to test whether you’ve overcome your allergy. However, consider the 12-ounce rule in mind.

Although it is low-mercury seafood, pregnant women are advised to limit their total seafood consumption to 12 ounces per week. This usually equates to two to three servings of seafood per week.

Because Crawfish are smaller than other crustaceans like lobster and crab, you can easily eat more of them while staying within the recommended dietary guidelines.

In the grocery store, for example, ready-peeled Crawfish are typically sold in 12-ounce or 1-pound packages. On the other hand, the whole Crawfish from a crawfish boil yields less meat once the shell is removed and would require 6 to 7 pounds to meet the 12-ounce guideline.

The Bottom Line

Crawfish is seafood and is enjoyed all over the world. It is a nutrient-dense food and has various benefits to the human body. But when it comes to a pregnant woman, eating Crawfish is dangerous for both mother and baby. It is due to high levels of mercury in seafood. So, it is advised to avoid eating Crawfish during pregnancy. The information present here suggests the answer for Can pregnant women eat Crawfish?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Following are the frequently asked questions by pregnant women:

When I eat Crawfish, I can’t stop eating. Can you tell me how much is too much?

As previously stated, the ideal weekly limit for crawfish consumption is 12 ounces. Even better at 8 oz.
To avoid any potential health risks while pregnant, it is best to stick to the limit.
When we talk about 12 ounces of Crawfish, we’re talking about 3 to 4 servings of cooked crawfish tails. It could also be a tray containing only one serving of this seafood.
Shelled and peeled frozen crawfish meat should be available in the United States. This is usually packaged in a 12-ounce plastic pouch.
A whole crawfish, on the other hand, usually yields only a small amount of meat. Depending on the size, you’d need about 7 pounds of one whole Crawfish to get 12 ounces of meat.

Can I eat Crawfish while lactating?

YES! You can consume Crawfish while breastfeeding, but excessive eating can be problematic. As a Health specialist, I always advocate for a healthy, well-balanced diet. As a health specialist, I encourage you to “go for it!” 🙂 Pinch. Peel. Eat, then repeat!

Rashmi Shrestha

Namastey!! I am Rashmi Shrestha. I am an enthusiast writer and reader. I have completed my degree Bsc. Human biology from Kathmandu University. I love to read poetry and write some too. I am looking forward to working with WOMS

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