Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche?

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June 5, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

Pregnant women should avoid consuming ceviche due to the risk of foodborne illness. Ceviche is a dish made from raw fish marinated in citrus juice, which may not fully eliminate harmful bacteria and parasites like listeria, salmonella, and toxoplasma.

Instead, pregnant women should opt for cooked seafood like shrimp, salmon, and tilapia which are safe to eat during pregnancy. Seafood is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients that are important for the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.

However, it is important to consume seafood in moderation and avoid high-mercury fish like swordfish and king mackerel that can harm the baby’s development. In this article, we will discuss the potential risks of consuming ceviche during pregnancy, the benefits of seafood, and the safest options for pregnant women.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche?


Understanding Ceviche

Ceviche is a popular south american seafood dish that has gained popularity in different parts of the world. It is typically made using raw fish or seafood that’s marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime. The acidic marinade ‘cooks’ the fish, causing it to become opaque and giving the dish a unique tangy taste.

In this section, we’ll be discussing the definition and ingredients, the nutritional benefits of ceviche, and the different types of ceviche popular in different cultures.

Definition And Ingredients

Ceviche is a popular seafood dish that hails from south america. This dish is typically made using fresh raw fish or seafood such as shrimp, octopus, or squid. The main ingredients used in making ceviche include:

  • Fresh seafood
  • Citrus juice (lemon or lime)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro

The marination process is key to the dish’s preparation. The fresh seafood is cleaned and sliced into small pieces before being marinated with the citrus juice. The acidic marinade ‘cooks’ the fish, causing it to become opaque and giving the dish a unique tangy taste.

Nutritional Benefits Of Ceviche

Ceviche is not only a delicious seafood dish but also a nutritious one. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of ceviche:

  • Low in calories and high in protein: Ceviche is low in calories but high in protein. It’s an ideal food choice for those who want to maintain a healthy diet without compromising their protein intake.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals: Ceviche is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin c, potassium, and folate. These nutrients are essential to maintaining a healthy diet and keeping the body functioning correctly.
  • High in omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that play a crucial role in brain function and heart health. Ceviche is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, making it an ideal food choice for those who want to maintain a healthy heart and brain.

Different Types Of Ceviche Popular In Different Cultures

There are different types of ceviche that are popular in different cultures. Some of the popular ones include:

  • Peruvian ceviche: This type of ceviche is made using raw white fish or shellfish marinated in lime juice and seasoned with chili peppers, onions, and cilantro.
  • Ecuadorian ceviche: This type of ceviche is also made using raw seafood such as shrimp or shrimp and squid combined and marinated with lime juice and tomato sauce.
  • Mexican ceviche: Mexican ceviche is made with white fish, scallops, and shrimp, along with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, marinated in a combination of lime and orange juice.

Ceviche is a flavorful and nutritious seafood dish that has gained popularity worldwide. Understanding the different types of ceviche and their nutritional benefits can help you make healthier food choices while enjoying delicious dishes.

Risks Associated With Consuming Ceviche During Pregnancy

Reasons Why Some Ceviche Dishes May Not Be Safe For Pregnant Women

Ceviche, a refreshing seafood dish, is enjoyed by many people worldwide. However, pregnant women must consume certain versions of ceviche with caution. The following are the reasons why some ceviche dishes may not be safe during pregnancy:

  • The dish may contain raw fish and seafood, which can cause food poisoning.
  • Certain herbs and spices added to the dish may not be recommended for pregnant women.
  • The acid used to cook the seafood may be too strong for pregnant women.

Potential Risk Of Food Poisoning From Consuming Raw Fish

Raw fish can contain harmful microorganisms such as parasites, viruses, and bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and vibrio. Consuming such contaminated fish during pregnancy can lead to foodborne illnesses, leading to health complications for both the mother and the developing baby.

Importance Of Avoiding Raw Fish During Pregnancy

Fish consumption is vital during pregnancy to provide essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. However, raw fish consumption should be avoided altogether, especially sushi, sashimi, or ceviche. Instead, opt for cooked fish such as salmon, tilapia, or catfish.

Other Ingredients And Contaminants That May Pose Risks To Pregnant Women

Apart from raw fish, certain ingredients and contaminants in ceviche may potentially harm a developing baby, causing health complications, including:

  • High levels of mercury in fish can lead to developmental disorders in the baby.
  • Spices and herbs such as cumin, oregano, and thyme can lead to uterine contractions.
  • Contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs), dioxins and other environmental contaminants can harm the development of the baby.

Pregnant women must be cautious about what they eat during pregnancy. While ceviche is a delicious dish, not all versions are safe for pregnant women. It is essential to avoid raw fish and seafood dishes and opt for cooked options instead.

Additionally, one should be aware of the ingredients used and the fish’s mercury levels to ensure consuming the healthiest version of the dish that poses no harm to the baby.

Pregnancy-Safe Ceviche Recipe

Pregnancy is a crucial stage where women should be mindful of what they eat. Undoubtedly, ceviche is one of the most delicious and healthy seafood dishes, but is it safe for pregnant women? It’s a question that many pregnant women ask themselves when craving this classic spanish-american dish.

Guidelines For Preparing Ceviche Safely During Pregnancy

1. Serving Fresh Seafood

Ensure you purchase the freshest seafood possible from reputable sources. Avoid fish caught from contaminated water bodies as it may contain high levels of mercury that can harm the baby. Always store it appropriately at a temperature of below 40°f.

2. Add Acid Only After Cooking

Acidic ingredients like lime juice in ceviche can cook the fish, but it’s not a sufficient cooking method for pregnant women. The safest cooking methods involve heat; it’s wise to cook the fish for at least five minutes in boiling water or pan-fry it before using in the ceviche recipe.

Ingredients To Use And Avoid

When making ceviche, it’s crucial to choose the right ingredients and refrain from those that may harm you and your baby.

1. Safe Fish

• Shrimp

• Squid

• Scallops

• Oysters

• Lobster

2. Fish To Avoid:

• Shark

• King Mackerel

• Swordfish

• Tilefish

• Tuna

Best Cooking Methods To Eliminate Bacteria

When preparing ceviche, ensure you use the right cooking methods and properly store it to minimize any chances of bacterial growth.

1. Pasteurization

Always use pasteurized eggs in your ceviche recipe. Avoid any raw eggs to reduce the risk of any bacterial infection that can prove harmful during pregnancy.

2. Use Sanitized Utensils

Clean your utensils and cutting boards properly, use separate knives to cut your vegetables and seafood, and marinate in separate bowls. If you’re not sure how to sanitize properly, you can always use a mixture of water and bleach in the correct ratio.

Ceviche is safe for pregnant women if made while following these guidelines. Always choose the right ingredients, cook adequately, and store appropriately. Let your cravings be satisfied with this delicious ceviche recipe without any risk to you or your precious little one.

Other Safe Seafood And Fish To Eat During Pregnancy

Fish With Low Levels Of Mercury That Are Safe For Pregnant Women

Seafood is generally beneficial for pregnant women due to its rich nutrient content. However, some fish can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the baby’s development. Fortunately, there are many types of fish with low levels of mercury that are safe for pregnant women to consume.

Here are some examples:

  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Catfish
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Trout

Nutritional Benefits Of Consuming Seafood During Pregnancy

Seafood is packed with essential nutrients that are important for a developing baby. These include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which help in the development of the baby’s eyes and brain.
  • Protein, which is necessary for the baby’s growth.
  • Vitamin d, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.
  • Iron, which helps in the formation of red blood cells.

Consuming seafood during pregnancy has been linked to various long-term benefits for both mothers and babies.

Guidelines For Cooking Seafood To Ensure It Is Safe For Pregnant Women

Even if a type of fish is safe for pregnant women to eat, it is important to handle and cook it correctly to prevent contamination. Here are some guidelines to follow when cooking seafood during pregnancy:

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling raw seafood.
  • Cook seafood to an internal temperature of at least 145°f.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood.
  • Only consume seafood from reputable sources.
  • Store seafood at the right temperature (below 40°f for refrigeration and below 0°f for freezing).

By adhering to these guidelines and choosing safe fish options, pregnant women can safely enjoy the many nutritional benefits of seafood without worrying about potential harm to their babies.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche Raw?

Yes, pregnant women should avoid raw seafood, including ceviche, due to the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Can Ceviche Be Made Without Raw Fish?

Yes, ceviche can be made with cooked shrimp or imitation crab instead of raw fish.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Ceviche?

Ceviche is low in fat, high in protein, and packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy meal option.

Is The Acidity In Ceviche Safe For Pregnant Women?

Yes, the acidity in ceviche is safe for pregnant women, but they should still avoid eating raw fish due to the risk of foodborne illnesses.

How Long Can Ceviche Be Stored In The Fridge?

Ceviche can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but it’s best to consume it within the first 24 hours for optimal freshness.


To sum up, pregnant women should be cautious when considering ceviche as a meal option. Consuming raw fish or seafood can put them at risk of contracting various infections and ultimately harm their unborn child. It is essential to follow expert advice and take necessary precautions to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

To indulge in ceviche safely, pregnant women can opt for cooked seafood ceviche or vegetarian options while dining out. Alternatively, they can prepare it at home by using cooked and fresh ingreidents. Prioritizing food safety during pregnancy is crucial, and it is always best to consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.

Remember, a healthy pregnancy starts with informed choices and safe practices!

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …