Can You Eat Smoked Salmon When Pregnant?

During pregnancy, it's important to restrict the consumption of certain foods due to their microbiological risk. So, is it safe to consume smoked salmon when pregnant?
Can You Eat Smoked Salmon When Pregnant?

Last update: 02 December, 2021

Smoked salmon is a food that has several health benefits. However, during pregnancy, you need to be sure to make a series of changes in your diet, including restricting this food. This is because it could contain bacteria that are harmful to the health of the mother and the fetus. It’s important to keep in mind that while the gestation period lasts, women need to take care of food hygiene more than ever. Poisoning outside of pregnancy can be mild, but at this stage, it’s possible to put the baby’s life at risk. Keep reading to find out more about the dangers of smoked salmon when pregnant.

Can you eat smoked salmon when pregnant?

Salmon on a cutting board surrounded by spices.

Despite its high content of omega 3, a nutrient that’s been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health, smoked salmon can’t be consumed during pregnancy.

The smoking process isn’t enough to ensure the absence of microbiological risk. To kill all the microbes, you need to raise the temperature of the product, and this type of processing doesn’t achieve it.

Among the pathogenic germs that can be found in smoked salmon, listeria stands out, which is a bacterium capable of causing premature birth or the death of the fetus. It can also be found in raw meats, in contaminated water, and even in milk that hasn’t gone through a sterilization process.

It’s best to restrict the intake of any type of raw or undercooked meat or fish during pregnancy. These products don’t usually pose a risk to a normal adult, but they’re dangerous for pregnant women.

An intoxication that causes diarrhea and dehydration can endanger the correct nutrition of the fetus, as well as its later development.

It’s important to note that some experts suggest that prior freezing of smoked salmon for 3 days reduces the risk of poisoning. However, it’s also possible to find doctors who advise against this practice. It’s best to cook the fish thoroughly during this period to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

How to consume fish during pregnancy?

It’s clear that eating fish is beneficial during pregnancy. Bluefish have healthy fatty acids inside for the mother and the fetus. An example is the aforementioned omega 3, as evidenced by research published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

However, you must always ensure that it is cooked correctly, even inside the piece itself.

Likewise, extreme care must be taken with those susceptible to being contaminated with anisakis. One of the most common cases is hake. It must be frozen beforehand and you have to make sure that it doesn’t contain any remains of the parasite or larvae.

What about raw fish?

The same thing happens with raw fish as with smoked fish. In recent years, the inclusion of sushi in the diet has become popular, as well as other preparations that use certain fish without prior cooking. Although under normal circumstances, they’re considered safe dishes, the increased risk of infections is unaffordable for pregnant women.

Pregnancy is a stage of life in which you have to take care of your diet and lifestyle more than ever. It’s also advisable to remove sausages and even some culinary spices. This way, you guarantee that the fetus develops optimally, without alterations in the supply of nutrients that may condition its well-being.

Smoked salmon, a forbidden food during pregnancy

A pregnant woman cooking salmon in a skillet.

As you have seen, it’s not a good idea to consume smoked salmon when pregnant. This fish can contain bacteria that are harmful to the health of the mother and the fetus. Therefore, you always need to guarantee correct cooking before eating it, at least for the duration of the gestation period.

Likewise, you need to cook any piece of fish or meat well–not just salmon. You must make sure that fish and meats reach a temperature higher than 70 degrees inside the food so that the microorganisms are destroyed and the hygienic safety of the product is preserved.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.