Is it safe now that I have had my baby(she is 2 months) for me to be around and eat shellfish? I assume it is, but I have gotten some mixed answers on this? I just figure I make sure I wash up real good before I touch her or feed her.

asked 24 May '10, 18:30

Ashley%201's gravatar image

Ashley 1
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edited 15 Jun '10, 13:01

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Tammy ♦♦
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While not exactly the same, this other question is related and may contain useful information for you: http://moms4mom.com/questions/4980/fish-when-to-start-including-fish-in-meals-and-which

(24 May '10, 18:46) Scott ♦♦

There are two basic dangers to shellfish due to their habitat and eating habits:

  1. They live at the bottom of the water where a lot of bacteria and pathogens accumulate
  2. They tend to be filter-feeders, and as such accumulate a lot of toxins in their body over their lifetime

Properly cooking shellfish very nearly eliminates concern #1 above - as long as the food is properly prepared and cooked to the right temperature, then any bacteria and pathogens that could survive in its original habitat are destroyed. It is this area that is of most concern for pregnant women, as some of these bacteria and pathogens may cause, directly or indirectly, miscarriage or (less likely) birth defects.

The toxins they accumulate are not destroyed by cooking, and are absorbed into your own body. In general the level is low enough with moderate to low consumption of these foods that it is of little concern. However, rising levels of mercury and other heavy metals in our oceans does pose some concern, especially during the early developmental phases of life (both prenatal and postnatal) where even small amounts of toxins can have large effects. These toxins are the same as found in other fish, but due to the habitat and food source, shellfish tend to have higher concentrations of them.

These toxins can be passed to nursing children through breast milk. Some people continue to abstain from shellfish until they are done nursing.

The US EPA has some guidelines on how much and what kinds of fish and shellfish are safe for consumption by pregnant and nursing mothers. They focus only on risks posed by heavy metals and industrial contaminants, though.

This article points to some early research showing that nursing infants may become sensitized to foods the mother eats, which may affect allergic reactions in the future. There is little solid evidence backing this up, but it is worth considering.

Here's a simpler breakdown of the EPA guidelines on a recipe website.

The FDA has some interesting, but very technical, information on the effects of some shellfish pathogens on humans.

link

answered 25 May '10, 16:21

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Adam Davis
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edited 08 Jun '10, 20:07

I wasn't supposed to be eating shellfish when I was pregnant? Whoops, my bad! Good thing that anything that even looks like it might, possibly, be at all undercooked, makes me want to vomit when I'm pregnant!

From what I've been able to find, it's like everything else, properly and completely cooked, with proper kitchen hygiene (which it sounds like you've got down) and shellfish are fine. Unless someone in your immediate families have a severe allergy to shellfish and you're nursing. Then you might want to hold off for a bit.

This link explains breastfeeding and allergins really pretty well

link

answered 25 May '10, 06:39

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Neen
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edited 25 May '10, 07:48

+1 like the link. The only articles I could find mention the nutritutional value of shellfish to a breastfeeding mum.

(25 May '10, 10:04) K D
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Asked: 24 May '10, 18:30

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Last updated: 15 Jun '10, 13:01