Is It Safe To Eat Mussels During Pregnancy?

4 min read

Moms-to-be who are lovers of seafood need to be very cautious during pregnancy. Seafood needs to be consumed in the right proportion and has to be very carefully and hygienically prepared. A healthy diet helps nourish you and the fetus, but at the same time you must be careful to avoid certain foods to prevent the risk of exposure to toxins that could be harmful for you and your baby. Though you will certainly have cravings that need to be satisfied, but you must also make sure you eat only what is right for you and the developing fetus. Excess of anything can be quite harmful. So, when it comes to choosing foods you must be very careful in what you eat and how you cook it. When all this is taken care of, most foods can be consumed.
mussles during pregnancy

  • Are Mussels Safe During Pregnancy?
  • Health Benefits Of Eating Mussels During Pregnancy
  • Side Effects Of Consuming Uncooked Mussels During Pregnancy
  • How To Cook Mussels?

Are Mussels Safe During Pregnancy?

Mussel is the common name used for several kinds of bivalve molluscs and clams. They are mainly found in saltwater but then there are freshwater mussels too. Mussels are delicious, affordable and simple to cook. They are one of the most sustainable types of shellfish. While some say you shouldn’t eat mussels during pregnancy, others say it is safe to eat mussels while you are pregnant. Remember to consult with your doctor rather than going by information from friends and family.
The question of safety needs to be addressed with respect to every variety of seafood you consume during pregnancy. There are two things a mom-to-be must keep in mind throughout the three trimesters:

  1. During pregnancy, the immune system is less active. Therefore, bacteria might attack you and your growing baby easily
  2. Some bacteria have the capacity to cross over the placenta and potentially harm or worse, even destroy the fetus

Health Benefits Of Eating Mussels During Pregnancy

  • Mussels are a lean source of protein that aids fetal growth and therefore are safe during pregnancy. But as mentioned earlier, it must be cooked properly
  • Besides protein, they are high in Zinc, potassium, Vitamin C and Calcium. These are the minerals necessary for your health and for also for the growth of the fetus
  • Also, mussels are a good source of iron that helps increase the blood volume and keep you from getting tired easily
  • Moreover, they are low in fat and therefore good for the heart

pregnant woman eating musse

Side Effects Of Consuming Uncooked Mussels During Pregnancy

  • Like most shellfish, mussels might harbor bacteria, the most common one being Vibrio Vulnificus. These rod-shaped bacteria can survive in seawater even though it has a higher concentration of salt. If fishes from sea water are eaten raw or are under cooked, the chances of food poisoning are higher. In normal adults, Vibrio is known to cause diarrhea but because pregnant women are low in immunity, the side effects of consuming foods infected with Vibrio can be more serious. However, it is not known for sure if Vibrio can actually cross the placenta and harm the fetus. Yet, it is better to be safe than sorry
  • Under cooked mussels are known to harbor Hepatitis A. This virus is the most common cause of jaundice in pregnancy. An infected mother might pass it on to the baby and cause further infection to the liver when the baby is born. Hepatitis A is also known to be a cause for premature delivery. To prevent Hepatitis A from passing on to you, make sure you cook the mussels in boiling water for at least 3 minutes. Steaming is not of much help to kill the virus
  • Mussels are highly exposed to contaminants in the sea. This includes mercury as well, but not in larger quantities. Therefore, make sure that you consume it within the prescribed limits. One or two servings a week is ideal

How To Cook Mussels?

  • When you buy mussels it is very important to store them properly. Transfer the mussels into a bowl and loosely cover it with a wet kitchen towel or a wet tissue paper. This is because it is very imperative to keep the mussels’ moist while at the same time giving them some air. Store the mussels in the coolest part of your refrigerator, and make sure you that you cook them the same day. Also, don’t clean the mussels until you are ready to cook them
  • Remember to boil the mussels for 3 minutes (as mentioned earlier), even if their shells have already opened. This is the only way to destroy Hepatitis A virus. If after boiling, the shells don’t open, discard them. Mussels are known to use their shells as filters to get their food from the water they live in. Therefore, the shells harbor bacteria. This is why it is important to break the shells completely before consuming

Remember to consult your doctor when you are in doubt about any food that you want to include in your diet during pregnancy. You can browse and find interesting recipes using mussels as an ingredient. You can substitute ingredients to suit your taste and needs. As long as mussels are cooked well and the shells are broken, there is nothing to worry. Enjoy your food and stay safe during those nine months. Remember, indulgence is not a problem, but anything in excess is.
Did you eat mussels when you were pregnant? How did it benefit you? Please leave your experience in the comments section below.

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