Navigating through pregnancy can have its dietary difficulties, and many moms-to-be are quick to ask whether certain foods can be eaten safely. One such dish is clam chowder: Is it a safe indulgence during prenatal development, or ought to it be avoided? To help you make an informed choice, here’s what you need to know about eating clam chowder while pregnant.
Can You Eat Clam Chowder While Pregnant?
When expecting a child, it is generally safe to eat clams as long as they are cooked properly. Unfortunately, Raw clams can be hazardous – due to potentially harmful bacteria like Vibrio vulnificus in saltwater habitats. These organisms don’t change the look, smell or taste of seafood, but can be killed off when cooked correctly. For peace of mind, the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) suggests following these guidelines for cooking clams if you are pregnant.
Understanding Clam Chowder
Clam chowder is a hearty and flavorful soup popularly enjoyed in coastal regions. This dish usually consists of clams, potatoes, onions, celery, and additional ingredients. In terms of preparation, two main varieties exist: New England-style, which is creamy, and Manhattan-style, with its tomato base. Crackers or bread often accompany clam chowder as the ideal finishing touch.
Clam chowder offers essential nutrients for pregnant women, such as protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Additionally, clams are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which are fundamental for brain and nervous system growth of the fetus. As well, potatoes provide carbohydrates for energy for both mother and baby. Therefore, clam chowder is an ideal meal to consume during pregnancy.
The Risks of Eating Clam Chowder During Pregnancy
Eating chowder while pregnant presents certain risks that should be considered. The main concern is food poisoning from consuming raw or undercooked clams, which can lead to infections such as vibriosis and can be harmful to both mother and baby. To reduce this risk, it is essential to guarantee the clams used in the preparation of the soup are properly cooked and that only fully-cooked chowder is consumed.
Another risk associated with chowder eating for expectant mothers is mercury contamination from clams. Mercury is a highly toxic substance that can cause severe damage to the nervous system of an unborn baby. It is advised that pregnant women limit their clam intake and other seafood to two servings or fewer each week to prevent any potential dangers.
Making Clam Chowder Safe for Pregnancy
If you are expecting and looking to savor a bowl of clam chowder, then there are several precautions you can take to ensure it’s safe for consumption. Firstly, make sure the clams used in the soup have been cooked thoroughly as this will minimize the danger of foodborne illnesses. Additionally, select your sources prudently and only pick clams which are fresh and properly stored.
Alternatively, you could try commercially-prepared chowders that usually consist of cooked clams and are therefore safe to eat. Nevertheless, the label should be examined carefully to guarantee the soup does not contain any components that are not recommended during pregnancy, like alcohol or excessive sodium levels.