In a nutshell
Yes, prawns are safe in pregnancy, as long as they have been thoroughly cooked first.
The expert view
Yearning for a prawn cocktail or mountainous prawn mayo baguette?
The good news is that it is perfectly safe to eat prawns when you are pregnant, as long as the prawns have been thoroughly cooked.
You can tell when prawns are cooked, as they turn pinky-red and the flesh becomes opaque.
Never eat raw prawns (or other raw shellfish) when you're pregnant, as they can contain bacteria and viruses that could give you food poisoning. Although this won’t harm your baby, it can be very nasty to have to endure when pregnant.
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“Prawns are a nutritious and healthy option," explains nutritionist Dr Rana Conway. "They're low in fat but contain just as much protein as meat or chicken,” .
“But it's safest to avoid them if you’re eating out at a buffet or salad bar. You can't guarantee that they've been cooked properly or have been kept sufficiently chilled.”
What about shop-bought prawn sandwiches?
Many pregnant women stick to making their own prawn sandwiches, using ready-to-eat, cooked prawns. This means you can be entirely sure that the prawns have been kept cool. We’ve all seen shoppers put unwanted sandwiches back in the chiller cabinet after a wander around the supermarket.
Mums on our forum say
"I've always eaten prawns and touch wood have been ok.... I had a prawn salad from co-op a few times and occasionally have a prawn sarnie. Prawns are cooked anyway so shouldn't they be fine to eat." - MrsCharlotte_B
"Prawns are fine to eat. they are a food poisoning risk to everyone, not just pregnant women. I've never had food poisoning from prawns. i wouldn't eat them from a caravan on Blackpool front, or similar establishment though." - xCALLEIGHx
Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, Time Out, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.
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