Eating lobster while pregnant is generally considered safe and healthy. Lobster is low in mercury and high in important nutrients for mom and baby. This comprehensive guide covers everything pregnant women need to know about eating lobster.
Benefits of Eating Lobster During Pregnancy
Lobster can be a nutritious addition to your prenatal diet. Here are some of the top benefits of eating lobster while pregnant:
Excellent Source of Lean Protein
Lobster contains high-quality complete protein to support fetal growth and development. The proteins in lobster are highly bioavailable, meaning they are efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body.
Rich in Omega-3s
Lobster provides omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA which are vital for your baby’s brain, eye, and nervous system formation.
High in Vitamin B12
A serving of lobster delivers over 100% of the recommended daily vitamin B12 intake for pregnancy. B12 is crucial for energy production and red blood cell formation.
Contains Iron and Zinc
Lobster has iron needed for increased blood volume and zinc to support immune health and cell growth.
Naturally High in Vitamin D
Lobster is one of the few natural food sources high in vitamin D, which aids bone development and growth.
Eating lobster in moderation can be a tasty way for pregnant women to meet increased nutritional needs.
Here are the nutrition facts for a 3 ounce serving of cooked lobster:
- Calories: 89
- Protein: 16g
- Fat: 1g
- Omega-3s: 200mg
- Vitamin B12: 2.4mcg (101% DV)
- Iron: 1mg (6% DV)
- Zinc: 1.5mg (14% DV)
- Vitamin D: 3mcg (15% DV)
Lobster is high in protein, low in fat, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. The high protein and omega-3 content make it an excellent choice during pregnancy.
Lobster contains over 16 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving, providing 32% of the recommended daily intake for pregnant women. Consuming adequate protein is vital during pregnancy to support the growth and development of fetal tissues and organs. The high-quality complete proteins in lobster contain all the essential amino acids your body needs.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Lobster is rich in the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. A 3 ounce serving provides 200 mg of omega-3s. Omega-3s are critical for your baby’s brain, eye, and nervous system formation. They also help regulate your immune system, hormones, and blood clotting. Since your baby relies on you for their omega-3 intake, eating lobster while pregnant can help ensure they get enough of these essential fats.
One serving of lobster delivers over 100% of the recommended daily vitamin B12 intake during pregnancy. B12 plays a number of important roles including DNA synthesis, neurological function, and red blood cell formation. Increased blood volume during pregnancy increases your need for B12. Low maternal levels of B12 may increase the risk of preterm birth and neural tube defects. Lobster’s exceptionally high B12 content helps you easily meet the higher demands of pregnancy.
Lobster contains heme iron which is more readily absorbed than non-heme iron from plant sources. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin and transport oxygen to your growing baby. Insufficient iron during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight and preterm delivery. Eating lobster can help provide the 1 mg of extra iron per day needed during the second and third trimesters.
Unlike most foods, lobster naturally contains vitamin D. A 3 ounce serving has 15% of the recommended daily vitamin D intake for pregnancy. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and bone development in your baby. Low maternal vitamin D levels are associated with growth restriction and skeletal abnormalities. Lobster can help you meet your increased vitamin D needs.
Lobster is high in zinc, providing 14% of the daily value per serving. Zinc enables cell growth, immune function, and protein synthesis needed for your baby’s rapid development. Even mild zinc deficiency during pregnancy may impair fetal neurodevelopment. Lobster is one of the best food sources of zinc.
In addition to being rich in protein, omega-3s, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, and zinc, lobster contains magnesium, potassium, selenium, and B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, and B6. The nutritional profile of lobster makes it a great choice as part of a healthy prenatal diet.
Is Lobster Safe During Pregnancy?
Many pregnant women wonder if it’s safe to eat lobster. Here is what the research shows about lobster safety during pregnancy:
Lobster is very low in mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that can impair neurological development when consumed in high amounts. Large, long-lived predatory fish tend to accumulate the most mercury. However, lobster is not a high mercury seafood. Testing shows lobster contains less than 0.09 ppm mercury, well below the 0.3 ppm FDA limit for seafood. Eating up to 12 ounces of low mercury seafood like lobster per week during pregnancy is considered safe.
Food Poisoning Risks
Properly handled and cooked lobster does not pose a significant risk of foodborne illness. Pregnant women are at higher risk for food poisoning so take precautions when preparing lobster:
- Purchase live lobster or lobster meat from a reputable source. Check for signs of freshness. 
- Store lobster at 40°F or below and cook within 1-2 days of purchasing. Do not eat lobster that smells unpleasant or ammonia-like as this indicates spoilage. 
- Cook lobster thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F to kill any bacteria present. Undercooked lobster can harbor pathogens. 
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked lobster meat. Only eat lobster dishes that have been cooked completely.
- Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and reheat to 165°F before eating again.
Following safe purchasing, storage, and cooking guidelines reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.
Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause pregnancy complications like preterm labor, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Listeria is killed by proper cooking. To avoid listeria when eating lobster:
- Ensure lobster reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Use a food thermometer to verify doneness.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked lobster. Only consume lobster dishes that have been thoroughly cooked.
- Prevent cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked lobster.
- Wash hands, countertops, and tools after handling raw lobster.
Following food safety guidelines when handling, cooking, and storing lobster helps minimize the risk of listeria and other foodborne illnesses.
How to Choose Safe Lobster
Selecting fresh, high-quality lobster is key to staying healthy when eating lobster during pregnancy. Here are tips for choosing safe lobster:
Check for Freshness
Inspect live lobsters and raw lobster meat for signs of freshness:
- Live lobster should be active with intact limbs and shell. Avoid lethargic lobsters with damage or discoloration.
- Raw tails should smell like the ocean. Discard lobster with unpleasant odors indicating spoilage.
- Meat should be firm and translucent. Avoid mushy or slimy texture.
Only purchase lobster that appears and smells fresh. Do not eat lobster that seems spoiled.
Proper cooking destroys bacteria:
- Boil or steam live lobsters at least 5 minutes until shells are bright red.
- Bake, broil, or grill lobster tails 8-10 minutes until opaque. Use a food thermometer to confirm 145°F internal temperature.
- Microwave thawed lobster 45-90 seconds based on thickness. Verify meat is piping hot with no translucent areas.
Cook lobster dishes thoroughly to prevent foodborne illness. Do not eat raw or undercooked lobster while pregnant.
Avoid Certain Preparations
Some lobster dishes may increase pregnancy food poisoning risks:
- Sashimi and ceviche made with raw lobster meat
- Undercooked lobster rolls and tacos
- Rare or medium lobster meat
- Homemade lobster sushi
Stick to fully cooked lobster recipes. Avoid higher risk raw or undercooked preparations until after pregnancy.
Choosing fresh lobster and cooking it properly reduces pregnancy health risks.
How Much Lobster Can You Eat?
Eating 8-12 ounces of low mercury seafood like lobster per week is considered safe during pregnancy. To stay within recommendations:
- Limit lobster to 1-2 servings per week as part of a balanced diet. A serving is about 3-4 ounces of lobster meat.
- Avoid eating lobster multiple times per day or every day. Overdoing lobster intake could expose you to excess mercury and vitamin A.
- Pair lobster with lower mercury seafood like salmon, shrimp, pollock, cod, and canned light tuna.
- Check local advisories for lobster caught from contaminated waters. Limit consumption of such lobster.
Consuming lobster in moderation as part of a varied seafood intake allows you to safely reap the nutritional benefits while pregnant.
Lobster Recipes for Pregnancy
Here are some delicious, nutritious recipes for enjoying lobster during pregnancy:
Toss cooked lobster meat with avocado, grape tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve over mixed greens or stuffed in a whole wheat pita.
Combine cooked lobster with mayo, lemon juice, celery, chives, and tarragon. Serve in a toasted hot dog bun.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Fold lobster meat into cheesy macaroni and bake until bubbly. Top with panko breadcrumbs.
Make creamy arborio rice risotto and stir in cooked lobster at the end. Garnish with parsley.
Baked Stuffed Lobster
Split lobster tails lengthwise and fill with a mixture of breadcrumbs, lemon zest, garlic, and Parmesan. Bake until lobster is opaque.
Puree cooked lobster shells into a rich, creamy soup base with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Finish with sherry and cream.
Fill tortillas with Monterey jack cheese, lobster meat, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Grill until crispy.
Top prepared pizza crust with Alfredo sauce, lobster pieces, spinach, and mozzarella. Bake until bubbling.
These recipes make it easy to incorporate nutritious, delicious lobster into your pregnancy diet. Adjust cooking methods and ingredients as needed to ensure proper doneness.
Is it safe to eat lobster tail while pregnant?
Yes, lobster tail is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it is fully cooked to 145°F. Avoid raw or undercooked lobster.
What happens if you eat bad lobster while pregnant?
Eating spoiled lobster could cause food poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Seek medical care if symptoms are severe.