Can I Eat Roe While Pregnant?

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Marjorie R. Rogers

Yes, you can eat roe while pregnant, but it should be pasteurized and properly refrigerated to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. Raw or unpasteurized roe should be avoided due to potential bacterial contamination.

Eating well during pregnancy is crucial for the health and development of both the mother and the baby. However, navigating what foods are safe can be challenging. Roe, or fish eggs, is a nutrient-dense food that many pregnant women wonder about. This article explores whether it is safe to consume roe during pregnancy, its nutritional benefits, potential risks, and safe consumption practices.

What is Roe?

Roe refers to the fully ripe internal egg masses in the ovaries of fish and certain marine animals like shrimp and sea urchins. It is often consumed as a delicacy in various cuisines, either raw, salted, or cooked. Common types of roe include salmon roe (ikura), sturgeon roe (caviar), and flying fish roe (tobiko). Roe is known for its rich flavor and high nutritional value, making it a popular choice among seafood lovers.

Nutritional Value of Roe

Nutritional ValueDetails
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsEssential for fetal brain development and maternal heart health.
ProteinSupports tissue growth and repair.
Vitamin DVital for bone health and immune function.
Vitamin B12Essential for red blood cell production.
IodineCrucial for thyroid function and brain development.
CholesterolHigh levels, so should be consumed in moderation.
SodiumHigh levels, which can affect blood pressure.

Risks of Eating Roe During Pregnancy

Bacterial ContaminationRaw or unpasteurized roe can harbor harmful bacteria like Listeria.
High Sodium ContentCan contribute to high blood pressure and swelling.
Allergic ReactionsSome individuals may experience allergic reactions ranging from mild to severe.
Environmental ContaminantsPotential presence of PCBs and other toxins, especially in large fish.
High CholesterolExcessive consumption can elevate cholesterol levels.

Safe Ways to Eat Roe During Pregnancy

To safely enjoy roe during pregnancy, opt for pasteurized and refrigerated varieties. Ensure that the roe is sourced from reputable suppliers to minimize the risk of contamination. Cooked roe is a safer alternative to raw roe. Incorporate roe into dishes like sushi rolls with cooked ingredients, canapés, or as a topping for salads and omelets. Always consult your healthcare provider before adding roe to your diet.

Alternatives to Roe During Pregnancy

Cooked FishEnsure it is low in mercury and properly cooked.
Omega-3 SupplementsChoose high-quality, pregnancy-safe supplements.
Pasteurized DairyProvides essential nutrients without the risk of bacterial contamination.
Plant-Based Omega-3Sources like flaxseeds and chia seeds.
Lean MeatsEnsure they are well-cooked to avoid bacterial risks.

Experts Tips

  1. Consult Your Doctor: Always check with your healthcare provider before adding roe to your diet.
  2. Choose Pasteurized: Opt for pasteurized roe to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination (source).
  3. Moderation is Key: Consume roe in moderation to avoid excessive intake of sodium and cholesterol (source).


Can I eat raw roe during pregnancy?

No, it is not recommended to eat raw roe during pregnancy due to the risk of bacterial contamination, which can harm both the mother and the baby.

What are the benefits of eating roe during pregnancy?

Roe is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D, and B12, which are essential for fetal brain development, maternal heart health, and overall pregnancy wellness.

How much roe can I safely consume during pregnancy?

It is advisable to consume roe in moderation, typically no more than 1-2 tablespoons per week, to avoid excessive intake of sodium and cholesterol.

Are there any types of roe that are safer to eat during pregnancy?

Pasteurized and properly refrigerated roe from reputable suppliers is safer. Cooked roe is also a better option compared to raw roe.

What should I do if I experience an allergic reaction after eating roe?

If you experience symptoms like hives, skin rash, or difficulty breathing after eating roe, seek medical attention immediately.


Roe can be a nutritious addition to a pregnancy diet when consumed safely and in moderation. It offers essential nutrients that support both maternal and fetal health. However, it is crucial to choose pasteurized and properly refrigerated roe to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider before making any significant dietary changes during pregnancy.

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