Why Is Sushi Bad During Pregnancy

sushi risks during pregnancy

Are you pregnant and craving sushi? Unfortunately, you may need to reconsider. Sushi can pose risks during pregnancy due to potential foodborne illnesses, high mercury content, and the presence of raw or undercooked fish. Consuming sushi while pregnant can also lead to parasite and bacterial infections, potentially harming your baby. It's important to be aware of these risks and make informed choices to ensure the health and safety of both you and your baby.

Potential Foodborne Illnesses

To understand the risks of consuming sushi during pregnancy, it is important to be aware of the potential foodborne illnesses that can be transmitted through raw or undercooked fish. Raw or undercooked fish, commonly found in sushi, can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that pose a risk to both the mother and the developing baby. One of the main concerns is mercury, which can be found in certain types of fish used in sushi. High levels of mercury can harm the baby's developing nervous system.

To ensure food safety during pregnancy, it is recommended to follow specific guidelines. Firstly, avoid consuming raw or undercooked fish, including sushi. Instead, opt for cooked seafood options like shrimp or crab. Additionally, it is important to choose reputable and trustworthy restaurants that prioritize food safety practices.

If you're craving sushi flavors, there are safe alternatives available. Consider trying vegetarian sushi rolls, which use ingredients like avocado, cucumber, and sweet potato. These alternatives can provide a similar taste experience without the potential risks associated with raw fish. Remember, prioritizing food safety is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

High Mercury Content

Consuming sushi during pregnancy can be harmful due to the high mercury content in certain types of fish. Mercury poisoning can have serious consequences for both the mother and the developing baby. It is important to be aware of the types of fish that are high in mercury and to avoid them during pregnancy. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Mercury poisoning can lead to developmental delays and brain damage in the fetus.
  • Certain types of fish, such as tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel, are known to have high levels of mercury.
  • Opt for seafood alternatives that are low in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, and catfish.

Raw or Undercooked Fish

Avoiding raw or undercooked fish is crucial during pregnancy due to potential health risks associated with bacterial and parasitic infections. Raw or undercooked fish can contain harmful bacteria or parasites such as Salmonella, Listeria, or Toxoplasma, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. These infections can pose serious health risks to both you and your baby. To ensure the safety of your pregnancy, it is important to cook fish thoroughly before consuming. Cooking methods such as baking, grilling, or steaming can help kill any potential pathogens. Additionally, it is recommended to choose fish that is low in mercury, as high levels of mercury can harm the developing nervous system of your baby. While cooked fish can provide important nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, it is essential to prioritize safety and opt for properly cooked fish during pregnancy.

Parasite and Bacterial Infections

Raw or undercooked fish can expose you to parasite and bacterial infections, posing a serious health risk during pregnancy. To protect yourself and your baby, it is essential to understand the prevention measures, symptoms, and treatment of these infections.

Prevention measures:

  • Avoid consuming raw or undercooked fish during pregnancy.
  • Ensure that the fish you eat is properly cooked, reaching an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C).
  • Choose cooked or vegetarian alternatives to sushi and sashimi.


  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue and weakness


  • If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention.
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics or other appropriate treatments to control the infection and protect your health and the health of your baby.

Potential Harm to the Baby

Understanding the potential harm to your baby is crucial when it comes to consuming sushi during pregnancy. Sushi, particularly raw or undercooked fish, poses developmental risks to your baby. Raw fish may contain parasites, such as tapeworms or roundworms, that can be harmful to the baby's health and development. These parasites can hinder the absorption of essential nutrients and compromise the baby's growth. Additionally, sushi may result in nutritional deficiencies for both you and your baby. Raw fish can be a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your baby's brain and eye development. By avoiding sushi, especially raw fish, you can reduce the potential harm to your baby and ensure they receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Pregnant Women Eat Vegetarian Sushi?

Vegetarian sushi can be a healthy choice for pregnant women. It provides essential nutrients and is low in mercury. If you're avoiding fish, try veggie rolls with avocado, cucumber, and carrots for a tasty alternative.

Is It Safe to Eat Cooked Sushi During Pregnancy?

Cooked sushi can be a safe option during pregnancy, providing essential nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids. If you're craving sushi, consider opting for vegetarian rolls or cooked seafood to satisfy your cravings without compromising your baby's health.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Sushi Rolls That Contain Cooked Fish?

Yes, you can eat sushi rolls with cooked fish while pregnant. However, raw fish alternatives like cooked shrimp or vegetarian sushi offer nutritional benefits during pregnancy.

What Precautions Can Be Taken to Reduce the Risk of Foodborne Illnesses From Sushi During Pregnancy?

To prevent sushi-related foodborne illnesses during pregnancy, it's important to follow safe handling practices. These include choosing reputable restaurants, ensuring the fish is properly cooked, and avoiding high-risk ingredients like raw seafood.

Are There Any Types of Sushi That Are Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Different sushi alternatives for pregnant women include vegetable rolls, cooked fish, and tempura. Avoiding raw fish during pregnancy reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses and potential harm to the baby.


In conclusion, it is best to avoid sushi during pregnancy due to the potential risks it poses. Sushi can harbor harmful bacteria and parasites, increasing the chances of foodborne illnesses. Additionally, certain types of fish used in sushi may contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the developing baby. Opting for cooked sushi or other safe alternatives can help ensure a healthy pregnancy.