Is sushi safe to eat during pregnancy?

Although we always hear that women should avoid sushi during pregnancy, this seems to be a gross generalizaton – while it is true that pregnant women should avoid eating raw fish and certain other foods, there are plenty of varieties that do not include raw fish, and are safe to eat during pregnancy.

Why am I supposed to avoid sushi during pregnancy?

Many types of sushi use raw fish as an ingredient, and because raw fish may contain parasites and bacteria that could make both you and Baby sick, healthcare providers and nutritionists (particularly in the Western Hemisphere) often advise pregnant women to avoid eating sushi.

However, not all sushi is created equal. There are in fact many kinds of sushi that either use cooked fish instead of raw fish, or no fish at all – these types of sushi without raw fish should be perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy.

What are some safe types of sushi when I’m pregnant?

You should always check with your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about the pregnancy-safety of any type of sushi, but these are likely okay to eat when pregnant:

  • California roll: This household name in sushi uses cooked imitation crab, which should be safe for both mom and baby. Just make sure that the roll doesn’t include roe, as this may cause illness.
  • Kappa maki: Containing cucumber and no fish, kappa maki is widely considered to be safe during pregnancy.
  • Unakyu: With a main ingredient of cooked eel, unakyu is considered safe to eat during pregnancy.

When eating sushi during pregnancy, the most important thing is to make sure that whoever prepares the dish does so without raw fish – so long as your fish is cooked, steamed, broiled, or otherwise heated to remove all potential parasites and bacteria, it should be safe to eat.

Your healthcare provider might have a different opinion about sushi altogether, so you should talk to him or her if you have any questions.

  • DL Villazanakretzer. “Fish Parasites: A Growing Concern During Pregnancy.” Obstet Gynecol Survey. 71(4):253-9. Web. Apr 2016. 
  • “Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. FAQ001 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web. Accessed 7/19/17. Available at
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