Can I Have Calamari While Pregnant – Can Pregnant Women Eat Calamari

There are many dos and don’ts when it comes to what a pregnant woman can eat. But can pregnant women eat calamari? Well, let’s find out!

The first time I heard the word Calamari, was from a movie – a lady on a date ordered it at a fancy restaurant. Truth be told, I fell in love with the name that instant and looked it up.

Calamari is a dish made from squid, and it is high in essential fatty acids, which are needed for overall body development. Apart from its high nutritional value, it is also a tasty delicacy.

Should you be eating calamari during pregnancy? We have all the answers for you in this article. But before we get into it, let’s find out what squid is?


What is ‘Squid’ Used in Making Calamari

A squid is a sea creature that falls under the class of cephalopods. In culinary, a squid dish is called calamari, and it can be prepared in different ways.

It can be fried or cooked, depending on the country. It is a highly nutritious dish and also very delicious. Calamari is gradually becoming a popular dish as more people are beginning to adopt squid as a cuisine.

Squid and calamari is available in many countries, including England, Lebanon, Syria, and across Europe.


Is It Safe To Eat Calamari During Pregnancy?

If you have ever visited a dietician or pediatrician during pregnancy, there is every tendency that you have been told once or twice to stay clear from seafood during pregnancy.

The reason why a doctor gives this advice is that seafood contains some percentage of mercury which affects the nervous system of your unborn child.

Therefore, Pregnant women are often advised not to eat seafood, especially those which contain a high volume of mercury, like swordfish and mackerel.

However, when it comes to mercury content, squid is one of the safest seafood around. It is not only low in mercury, it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients needed for the development of your baby.

So, the answer is yes, it is safe to eat calamari during pregnancy – but not in excess. Medical experts advise that a pregnant woman should only consume about five ounces of calamari per week.


Also Read: Is Thai Iced Tea Safe During Pregnancy? Find Out!


All You Need to Know About Mercury in Calamari

Like every other seafood, calamari is rich in mineral nutrients that are needed for day to day development of the human body.

However, seafood contains mercury, which is a huge concern for people – especially pregnant women. Over the years, the second hand consumption of mercury has been a substantial reason why many people do not consume seafood.

Mercury is a compound that exists naturally around us. It can lead to food poisoning (otherwise known as mercury poisoning), which has been discovered to have adverse effects on the lungs, kidneys, brain, and the heart.

Compared to other types of seafood, calamari contains a fairly low amount of mercury, but medical experts advice that only low amounts of the dish should be consumed during pregnancy.

This way, you enjoy the delicious treat; get a good dose of important nutrients, and don’t risk consuming a high amount of mercury capable of causing damage to you or your unborn child.


Nutritional Values and Benefits of Calamari

We totally agree, it is not enough to say that the calamari dish is high in nutrients. What are the specific nutritional values and its benefits, especially to a developing baby?

As we mentioned earlier, calamari is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It is also low in saturated fat, mercury, and sodium.

Below, we have further analyzed the nutritional values and benefits of calamari. Keep in mind that we have based the nutritional value on three ounces of served calamari. Under no circumstance should you have over five ounces of calamari in a week.

1. Iron: A three ounce serving of calamari contains 0.86mg of iron which helps increase blood flow and hemoglobin levels in pregnant women. It also contributes to the production of vital red blood cells.

2. Copper: There is a 90% recommended daily allowance of copper for pregnant women, and a calamari diet ensures 1.8mg is available. This keeps the nervous system active and healthy.

3. Protein: Can Pregnant Women Eat Calamari? Yes, they can – especially because of the protein provision. There is a 15g protein ratio in a three ounce serving, which helps to build dead tissues in the system.

4. Vitamins: calamari contains a high concentration of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C. These contribute to metabolism and building up the immune system against attacks.

5. Selenium: The recommended daily allowance of selenium for pregnant women is 63%, and a single calamari dish can boast of as much as 44mcg. Selenium helps to regulate the thyroid hormone and prevents stress in pregnant women.

6. Zinc: According to medical experts, zinc contributes to the production if insulin and enzymes in the body. A serving of calamari contains about 1.48mg of zinc.

7. Phosphorus: Pregnant women need phosphorus to help in building healthy bones and teeth in the baby. A three ounce serving of calamari provides 213mg of phosphorus.


Also Read: Can You Drink Lipton Tea During Pregnancy

How to Consume Calamari While Pregnant?

If you are already salivating at the idea of eating a calamari diet, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Even those who do not fancy squids admit that the calamari dish is irresistible.

However, as a pregnant woman, what you consume and how you consume it is often of paramount importance. Do you want to know how to consume calamari while pregnant? We’ve got you covered.

Below, we have listed some vital points to note before consuming calamari while pregnant. Check them out:


8 Points to Consider Before Consuming Calamari While Pregnant

1. Do Not Eat Raw Calamari: Yes, squid can be eaten raw, but you are advised not to partake in this practice during pregnancy. Calamari is safe for consumption for pregnant women only when cooked properly. Raw seafood contains bacteria that may harm your unborn baby.

2. Avoid Deep Fried Calamari: Naturally, deep frying reduces the nutritional value in meals. Why would you be eating a calamari dish during pregnancy if not for the nutrients? Also, deep frying adds saturated fats to foods which is unhealthy and contribute to weight gain.

3. Choose Steamed Calamari: As we mentioned earlier, calamari can be prepared in different ways. It is best to opt for the steamed ones. This way, the nutrients are all intact and the meal is healthy.

4. Consume Less than the Limit: According to medical experts, you should consume about five to eight ounce of served calamari per week. My advice is, to be on the safer side and consume way less than five ounces. This way, you know that you have nothing to fear regarding the mercury content.

5. Wash Your Calamari Thoroughly: If you are cooking your calamari at home (which is often advised – if you can), ensure to wash it thoroughly, preferably with salted water.

6. Check Your Allergies: Before considering a calamari dish, you need to check your allergies. I always advise pregnant women and nursing mothers to consult a doctor or health professional before making any nutritional decision.

7. Pay Attention to Details: You should always pay attention to the little details like the environment where your calamari is sold or processed. If you are purchasing an already processed calamari, be sure to check for the expiry dates and storage instructions.

8. Consult Your Medical Adviser: I cannot over emphasize this enough. Before you consume anything for the first time – especially during pregnancy, it is advisable that you consult a health care professional.

How to Cook Calamari for Consumption During Pregnancy

If you can, try to cook your calamari dish at home or supervise how it is made. This is because calamari can be prepared in many ways, and you do not want to put the development of your child at risk.

As you should, make sure to prepare it with a good amount of vegetables.

Calamari can be prepared in different ways – frying, grilling, steaming, sautéing, or even baking – yes, baking! The choice is yours.

Like all seafood, you need to cook your calamari thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F (62.8°C). Also, ensure to put all leftovers in the refrigerator immediately.


Also Read: 3 Possible Hair Changes & Treatment During Pregnancy

Conclusion – Can Pregnant Women Eat Calamari?

While we totally agree that the calamari dish is one of the few cuisines everyone should try out, it is best to consult a health professional before attempting it for the first time during pregnancy.

Seafood stirs up a lot of allergies – even in people who do not know they have them. As the saying goes, it is better safe than sorry. It is not worth it to risk your health or that of your unborn child over a plate of calamari.

However, I still insist that if you are someone without a history of seafood allergies – or any food allergies, calamari is one dish you should try out sometime. My advice, however, is that you should try not to be around where squids or where they are slaughtered if you genuinely want to enjoy the dish.

Final words, can pregnant women eat calamari? The answer is yes, but not in excess!