Can pregnant women eat sushi?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can pregnant women eat sushi?” and provide information on why sushi should not be eaten, which fish are high in mercury, which kind of sushi can be consumed as well as whether there are vegan sushi options available.

Can pregnant women eat sushi?

No, pregnant women cannot eat sushi except for the ones that contain cooked fish. Sushi rolls that are properly cooked can be consumed by pregnant women. 

Another point to remember while consuming sushi would be to go for fish that have low levels of mercury. This can include catfish, salmon, tilapia, and anchovies. 

Fish that contain EPA and DHA include trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Consume them in moderate amounts as these fish can help in improving brain health.

The fish rolls need to be cooked at a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This would make them safer to be consumed.

When any sushi roll is combined with seafood, ensure that both of them (sushi and seafood) contain fish that are low in mercury.

Why should you not consume sushi during pregnancy?

Sushi prepared using raw or undercooked fish can pose a risk to both baby and mother. Listeria is a bacteria present in sushi that can cause Listeriosis.

Listeria can increase the chance of developing food poisoning. Pregnant women are highly susceptible to developing Listeriosis.

Some of the risks associated with listeriosis would include preterm birth of babies, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

Babies born with listeriosis can have defective hearts or kidneys. They can suffer from a brain or blood-related infection as well.

Babies and pregnant mothers can also be exposed to high mercury levels when eating sushi. High mercury levels can induce vision loss, hearing loss, or brain damage in babies.

Which fish are high in mercury?

Fish that contain high levels of mercury would have mercury of more than 0.3 parts per million. Some of the fish that are high in mercury would include king mackerel, swordfish, marlin, tilefish, shark, and orange roughy. Consume fish or sushi only once a week.

Which kind of sushi should not be eaten?

Sushi that is prepared without cooking the fish should be avoided. Eating raw fish can increase the exposure of babies to heavy metals like mercury. Bacteria and parasites present in raw fish can be another problem.

Also, pregnant women are vulnerable to infections because of changes in their immune system compared to women who are not pregnant.

High levels of mercury can affect a baby’s brain leading to neurological problems. Methyl mercury specifically can lead to toxicity and affect a baby’s brain.

When should you stop eating sushi?

Stop eating sushi (prepared with raw fish) if you are planning to get pregnant. Raw fish should not be consumed in all three trimesters.

During the first trimester, the development of the brain and spinal cord occurs. Apart from this, other important tissues like the heart, ears, eyes, and nose begin to form too.

By the end of the first trimester, a baby is very vulnerable and has a less developed immune system. Consuming sushi can make them vulnerable to bacteria and parasites.

However, if you have started consuming sushi, do not get scared. Instead, consult a doctor and inform them that you have consumed sushi. They would guide you and provide advice.

Are there vegan sushi options available?

Yes, there are vegan sushi options available. You can also prepare these sushis at home. It can be safe for both pregnant mother and baby too.

  • Sweet potato and avocado sushi can be a delight for pregnant women who love to eat sweet foods. The sweetness of sweet potatoes combined with the nuttiness of avocados can make up for an amazing treat!
  • Spicy tomato tuna sushi is vegan and no it does not contain tuna! The tomato tastes a lot like tuna giving you the feel of eating tuna!

You would need to keep sushi rice along with water in a rice cooker. Add salt, sugar, and rice vinegar. Mix well. Use a fork to lightly mash them to reduce stickiness.

In another bowl, keep ice water. Pierce the tomatoes slightly and add them to water. Keep the tomatoes to boil. Remove the peel of the tomatoes post boiling and then keep them in ice water to reduce the cooking process.

In another bowl, mix soy sauce, tamari, and sriracha. Cut the tomato into small pieces and add them. Cut cucumber and avocados in the form of sticks.

Lay out the nori sheet and add sushi rice. Place tomato mixture on top. Place avocado and cucumber sticks on top. Roll the sushi edges and compress them. Seal the edges and cut them before serving.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Can pregnant women eat sushi?” and provided information on why sushi should not be eaten, which fish are high in mercury, which kind of sushi can be consumed as well as whether there are vegan sushi options available.


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