The Expert: Dr Julien Rousseaux, nutritionist in the establishments of the Elsan Group.
Can I eat sushi while pregnant? To this question, the answer is very simple: sushi while pregnant is NO! As with ceviche and fish tartars, the consumption of sushi is strongly discouraged during pregnancy. In question, the raw fishwhich is likely to carry parasites and bacteria, responsible for foodborne infections with potentially irreversible consequences for the baby.
No sushi when you’re a pregnant woman?
Throughout pregnancy, it is advisable to watch your diet, not only in order to balance your nutritional intake to provide baby with everything it needs to develop well, but also in order to guard against certain risks. and food poisoning. On the contamination side, we will be particularly wary of foods such as raw fish and raw milk cheese, on which the Listeria bacterium can develop, likely to transmit listeriosis. This bacterium is able to cross the placental barrier and cause irreversible damage to the baby. This is why, even if it is difficult to curb one’s cravings and calm one’s gluttony, one must take care to banish certain categories of food, including sashimi and certain sushi.
Raw fish (raw tuna, raw salmon) and ceviche when you are pregnant: other risks
“Apart from listeria, which can contaminate raw fish – although this is rare – and therefore put the baby at risk of premature delivery and death in utero, raw fish can also carry parasitic worms called anisakis. L’anisakidosis, a digestive parasitosis, is very painful when the nematode larvae attach themselves to the digestive wall”, explains Dr Julien Rousseaux. Only freezing for 7 days at -20°C, or cooking the fish thoroughly, can completely eliminate this parasite.
Similarly, when you are pregnant, the break in the cold chain can lead to serious food infections for the development of the baby. Care should therefore be taken to maintain refrigerated or frozen foods at all times, in accordance with their labelling.
What about frozen sushi when you’re pregnant?
Although freezing eliminates the risk of transmission of anisakidosis, it has no effect on listeria. Sushi made from frozen raw fish should therefore be carefully avoided by pregnant women. Patience, we’ll catch up after the baby is born!
Can a pregnant woman eat vegetarian sushi?
Of course, to calm pregnancy cravings and therefore those for sushi, you can turn to vegetarian sushi (cucumber maki, avocado sushi). But it will also be necessary to pay close attention to the risk of toxoplasmosis! If the test carried out in early pregnancy revealed that you are immune to toxoplasmosis, no problem. If you are not, you will need to ensure that the vegetables you eat in your vegetarian sushi are perfectly well washed or peeled. Which, in fact, is rarely possible to verify.
Vegetable sushi: watch out for toxoplasmosis during pregnancy
“Toxoplasmosis is a small parasite that can have serious consequences if it develops in a non-immune pregnant woman. It is transmitted through the skin of poorly washed vegetables and fruits, or through cats. The transmission of toxoplasmosis can cause ocular lesions in the baby, with the risk of abortion from the start of pregnancy. So if you are not immune, it is best to cook your own vegetarian sushi, taking care to wash your vegetables with plenty of water or peel them,” advises Dr Julien Rousseaux.
Shrimp, cheese, chicken, surimi sushi: which raw or cooked sushi for a pregnant woman?
As we know, when foods are fresh and thoroughly cooked, such as poultry or shrimp, there is no risk in consuming them because the Listeria and Toxoplasma bacteria are killed. This is also the case for pasteurized foods such as fresh cheese or surimi, sold in individual packaging in supermarkets. This leaves us the possibility of imagining homemade sushi recipes that pose no health risk.
Makis: can I eat seaweed when pregnant?
The maki, this small roll of vinegared rice which is presented rolled up in its nori seaweed, and garnished, in its center, with cooked food and/or washed or peeled vegetables, can be eaten during pregnancy.
Pregnant seaweed sheets: risky?
According to the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES), the consumption of seaweed in food supplements is not recommended for pregnant women. Their sometimes high iodine content, in fact, can lead to thyroid dysfunctions and have undesirable consequences on the heart or kidney. However, if you opt for vegetarian maki, occasional consumption and sparingly does not pose a problem, the iodine content being relatively low in the nori seaweed of these maki.