Why Is Eating Sushi A Bad Idea In Pregnancy?

Whether you choose to eat cooked or raw sushi, having it in pregnancy is not a very wise idea, considering the fact that your body’s immune system is dormant so that the fetus is not affected in any way and that means the chances of an infection going from bad to worse are quite high. You wouldn’t want to take such chances in pregnancy, would you? If you are a sushi lover and are yet to be convinced about the ill-effects of it, now that you are pregnant, do consider the following factors before taking the final call:

A Parasitic Infection That You Wouldn’t Want Now

When you are consuming raw sushi, there is every probability that it may contain parasites. Parasites are present in the meat of raw fish that may not be noticeable enough by the naked eye. Sushi chefs are extremely careful about treating the fish well before making sushi but a couple of parasites might escape their eyes and if you happen to consume them, you can end up with life-threatening food-borne illnesses.

Unlike others, parasitic infections can cross the placenta and reach the growing fetus. It can also cause gastrointestinal troubles that affect your diet and consequently, your baby. You could also end up with anemia and malnourishment if the infection gets severe. There have been reported cases of miscarriages due to deteriorating maternal health after consuming sushi.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Parasitic Infection?

Often known as Anisakidosis1, parasitic infections can manifest in some of the following ways:

  • Unbearable abdominal pain
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unidentified allergic reactions

What Are The Substitutes For Sushi?

The nutrition that you could have had from sushi can also be received from fish that has been well-cooked. Eating fish during pregnancy helps the body to absorb the essential fatty acids and Omega 3 that are linked to healthy fetal brain development.

If You Must Have Sushi

If you are still inclined towards having sushi, there are a few ways to have it without harming yourself or your fetus in any way. Sushi that is made from fish that has been previously frozen and has been sourced from a reliable place is safer to consume.

Raw fish on being frozen is cured of parasites and worms that may be present. Most restaurants and shops that make sushi buy frozen raw fish. The regulation is that raw fish must be frozen at -20 degrees Celsius for a minimum of 24 hours before making the sushi. This gets rid of the harmful parasites generally present in the meat of raw fish.

Sushi need not necessarily be made from of raw fish. There are other forms like using vegetables for the filling, cooked seafood and shellfish like crabs prawns etc that do not pose a threat to the mother or the fetus.

To sum it all up, it would be wiser to avoid sushi in its real form in pregnancy. You could always have it later, when your immune system is up and kicking and can prevent the risk of infections.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anisakis