Why Can’t You Eat Sushi When Pregnant?


When it comes to dietary decisions, pregnancy is a time of careful consideration. Despite the fact that many foods are safe and nutritious for both the mother and the developing fetus, certain items require extra caution. Due to safety concerns, sushi, a beloved dish enjoyed by many, frequently raises queries during pregnancy. So, why can’t you eat sushi when pregnant?

Certain components of raw fish may pose health risks to both the mother and the unborn child, and therefore sushi consumption during pregnancy is restricted. 

In this article, we will explore the rationale behind the recommendation to avoid sushi during pregnancy, with the goal of empowering pregnant women to make decisions that prioritize their health and the health of their intended child.

Why Can’t You Eat Sushi When Pregnant?

Sushi consumption during pregnancy is a source of concern due to the risks associated with eating uncooked or undercooked seafood. Here’s why many medical personnel advise pregnant women to avoid sushi:

 Risk of Foodborne Illness:

  • Raw or undercooked seafood, such as sushi fish, can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses inlcuding salmonella, listeria, and norovirus.
  • Due to alterations in their immune systems, pregnant women are more susceptible to these infections, which can cause more severe symptoms.

Mercury Content:

  • Some sushi fish, such as tuna, swordfish, and king mackerel, may contain significant concentrations of mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can adversely affect a fetus’s developing nervous system.
  • Consuming mercury-rich fish during pregnancy is a cause for concern, as it can result in developmental problems and other health hazards.

Parasites and Infections:

  • Raw fish may contain parasites that are rendered harmless by heating. Pregnant women are advised to avoid eating foods that may contain parasites because they pose a risk to the developing fetus.


  • Preparing sushi involves managing raw seafood, which can result in cross-contamination of surfaces, utensils, and other foods in the kitchen, thereby increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Safety Variability:

  • Sushi’s safety is contingent on the origin, handling, and quality of its constituents. It can be difficult to maintain consistent safety standards, particularly in restaurants.

Pregnancy-Related Sensitivities:

  • Women’s senses of taste and smell can alter during pregnancy. This could make it difficult to detect deterioration or unpleasant odors in raw fish, thereby increasing the danger of ingesting potentially unsafe seafood.

Safe Sushi Options:

  • Some sushi options, such as vegetable rolls, tempura rolls, and cooked seafood rolls, are safer alternatives for expectant women.
  • If you have a sushi craving, choose sushi made with prepared ingredients or vegetables and avoid sushi made with raw fish.


Consult your healthcare provider for individualized recommendations on dietary choices during pregnancy. Although some pregnant women may occasionally enjoy sushi from reputable sources, it is essential to prioritize safety and avoid high-risk options in order to safeguard your health and that of your unborn child.

What Happens If You Eat Sushi While Pregnant?

Consuming sushi, especially raw fish, during pregnancy may pose hazards to you and your unborn child. Raw salmon may contain pathogenic microorganisms, parasites, or viruses that can cause foodborne illnesses. 

The symptoms of these diseases include vertigo, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. In extreme cases, they can cause complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, and birth defects. 

Pregnant women should avoid eating uncooked or undercooked fish, such as sushi, in order to prioritize their unborn child’s health and instead choose safer, fully-cooked alternatives. Always consult with your healthcare provider for individualized dietary advice to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Can I Eat A Little Sushi While Pregnant?

Although it is generally advised to avoid raw fish during pregnancy due to potential risks, you can satisfy your sushi craving with prepared or vegetarian options. Sushi made with completely cooked seafood or vegetables is a potentially safer option. 

These options reduce the likelihood of exposure to hazardous bacteria or parasites. Sushi must be obtained from reputable, well-prepared sources and consumed in moderation. 

Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice, as they can assist you in making decisions that prioritize your own and your baby’s health.

What Sushi Can A Pregnant Woman Eat?

Choose safe sushi options during pregnancy by selecting cooked or vegetarian varieties. Sushi rolls that contain completely cooked ingredients, such as shrimp or eel, are acceptable. Avocado and cucumber rolls are also harmless to consume. 

Good options include tempura rolls with sautéed ingredients and rolls containing imitation crab (such as California rolls). Due to potential risks, it is prudent to exercise caution when consuming uncooked fish. 

Choose restaurants with a good reputation and consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice to ensure your safety and the health of your infant.

Bottom Line

This was all about why can’t you eat sushi when pregnant. The recommendation to avoid sushi during pregnancy is predominantly based on the risks associated with eating raw fish and certain seafood. These dangers include exposure to pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and toxins that can result in foodborne maladies. 

Choosing seafood that is cooked or completely cooked can provide the nutritional benefits of fish while minimizing potential health risks. 

Thank you for reading!

Read more: How To Tell My Boyfriend I’m Pregnant?

TheMama Miracle

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