Sometimes it feels as though there are more things you can't eat while you're pregnant than things you can eat. The list of forbidden foods may be a mile long, but there is some leeway to enjoy what you love, even if your favorites usually include raw fish. Wondering, "what kind of sushi can I eat while pregnant?" There might be more options than you think.
I remember walking into my favorite sushi place, Tomoe Sushi in Manhattan, when I was hugely pregnant. I hadn't been in there in months, where before I went in there about once a week to study and write while waiting for my husband to get off his shift. The hostess brought me to my regular spot and the chef laughed when he saw my giant belly. "I have just the thing for you." I quickly said "nothing raw, please" and he just shook his head and laughed. He ended up making me all sorts of cooked sushi. Unagi, fried sardines wrapped in something heavenly, and of course, the ubiquitous California roll.
Is a California roll all you can have, though? Are there other rolls or fish you can, and perhaps should eat? What kind of sushi can I eat while pregnant that isn't just avocado and seaweed?
Sushi is a weird beast, and much of it is a no-no, according to the British Columbia Center for Disease Control. This is because the raw fish that makes up much of sushi can carry a parasite like the anisakidosis worm, which can make you very sick, and is very difficult to treat in pregnant women, the National Health Service noted. Also, the smoked fish that is used in some maki rolls might contain listeria, according to the American Pregnancy Association, so those, too, should be avoided. The fish needs to be fully cooked, not cooked by proxy of smoke or salt, in order to be considered safe for consumption for pregnant women. Think crab, salmon, and eel (unagi) rolls.
But that's not all.
Some fish popular in cooked and raw sushi contains high levels of methyl-mercury, which is unsafe for a developing fetus. For this reason it is important to take note of how much you're eating, and what fish is being prepared. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one serving of fish is approximately 4 ounces, or the size of the palm of your hand. There are a ton of fish options at most restaurants, but the FDA has condensed the information into an infographic.
Armed with all the info, though, it's easy to see that while your sushi may have to be cooked, it doesn't have to be limited. Chances are, your chef will be able to make you something tantalizing and delicious while still keeping you and your baby safe. Trust me, the sardine and egg (tamago) dish sounded weird to me, too, but I could still put away a few of those, and I am the exact opposite of pregnant. Kanpai.