Can You Eat Calamari When Pregnant? Everyone loves the luxury of seafood. Whether it’s a vacation meal by the coast, a wedding feast, or a family celebration!

When you’re pregnant it can feel like a huge list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to food and some of your favorite seafood might be off the menu, so it’s not surprising many mothers-to-be might be wondering if you can eat calamari when pregnant! 

So let’s dive in and find out the real answer! 

First, let’s look at the mini brief so you can find out straight away! 

Cooked calamari is not only ok to eat when you are pregnant, but is also packed full of protein, iron, antioxidants, and vitamins. Calamari is ideal to nibble on during the first and third trimesters. It’s one of the healthiest seafood to eat according to the FDA, however, do not eat raw calamari. 

Ok with the short answer in mind, let’s find out more as to what exactly calamari is. 

What is calamari? 

As with so many mouthwatering foods hailing from this European culinary capital, Calamari is essentially the Italian word for squid. 

A popular food right across the globe from the Mediterranean and the USA through to Syria and Asia. 

It usually describes an unctuous slice of squid, deep-fried in batter and often served as part of a tapas meal or an appetizer. 

With smaller plates, commonly eaten ‘tapas style’ becoming more and more popular in many restaurants, calamari is enjoying a high ranking on customers’ favorites list! 

Who knew that some squid can grow up to 80 feet!

“Calamari is essentially the Italian word for squid”

Is calamari a more expensive type of squid? 

There are some schools of thought which suggest that calamari is from a more exclusive squid! 

So for those of you wondering if you can eat squid when you are pregnant, will you be getting the cream of the squid crop if you choose calamari on the menu? 

Well, here at helptomoms we go with the traditional explanation which is that calamari is simply a word for the meat of the squid, similar to how we refer to the meat from pigs as pork.

Why is it ok to eat calamari when pregnant? 

It’s important when you’re pregnant to get enough nutrients from a wide range of foods throughout all three trimesters. 

‘Eat the rainbow’ is a good way to ensure mothers-to-be eat enough variety of foods from all the major food groups. 

Eating calamari along with a healthy diet of vegetables, fresh fruit, grains, and lean meat can help to make sure you get the vitamins you need while pregnant. 

Smaller portions 

In both the first and third trimesters, smaller portions can help with some of the digestive issues you might be experiencing. 

Morning sickness more commonly found in the first months of pregnancy can be alleviated by ‘grazing’ on a range of foods. 

The third trimester also comes with digestive issues such as heartburn, where larger meals can add to the uncomfortable feelings. 

The ‘appetizer’ size of fried calamari means that it’s perfect in a smaller portion or small plate. 

So if you are craving a plate of calamari with lemon and parsley, go right ahead! 

Health benefits of calamari when pregnant 

So if you’re an expectant mother as we found out earlier, it’s absolutely fine to eat calamari during pregnancy.  

In fact, this tasty morsel can actively help to promote good fetal development, increase your baby’s IQ, and support mothers’ health too! according to a recent study. 

Calamari is also said to be one of the most nutritious seafood you can eat during pregnancy according to the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) 

While it’s also recommended in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans to consume between 8 and 12 ounces of seafood every week during pregnancy. 

The nutritional benefit of calamari 

So what is contained in this often craved seafood which makes it such a powerhouse of nutrients? 

  • Protein-rich: Protein helps to provide much-needed energy during pregnancy and according to experts, 60 grams a day is recommended for moms-to-be. Calamari contains a massive 13 grams of protein in just a small 3-ounce serving. 
  • Combats anemia: Anemia is an issue commonly found in pregnant women. Calamari is rich in copper which can help boost red blood cell production and prevent it. 
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants are important to help your body fight off free radicals which can cause cancer and also help to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Calamari is packed full of antioxidants, so it’s a perfect food to help build white blood cells. 
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals: Calamari not only tastes good, but it also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals important during pregnancy. Calamari contains potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and Vitamin B-12, which are all essential to keeping you and your growing baby healthy.  

Ok so now we’ve found out not only is calamari fine to eat when you are pregnant and is full of protein and iron, can you eat it raw? 

Read on to find out! 

Can I eat raw calamari when pregnant? 

As with any raw fish, the recommended advice from many experts is to avoid it. 

One of the main reasons is that it can cause food poisoning and during pregnancy, your body can be more susceptible to picking up infections. 

This is because of the metabolism and circulation changes in your body. Food poisoning is not only unpleasant for moms to be, but it can also increase the risk of infections for your baby and in worst cases, lead to premature birth. 

“As with any raw fish, the recommended advice from many experts is to avoid it.”

So now we’ve found out that you can enjoy the salty taste of calamari throughout your pregnancy, you might be wondering if there’s any fish you should avoid. 

Read on to discover more. 

Which fish should I avoid when pregnant? 

  • Marlin
  • Shark 
  • King mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish 
  • Bigeye tuna

The main reason for these fish being off the menu when pregnant is down to their high levels of Mercury. 

Mercury poisoning in pregnancy can cause damage to your heart, lungs, kidneys, and parts of your nervous system. It can also cause damage to your sight and heating. 

“The main reason for these fish being off the menu when pregnant is down to their high levels of Mercury.”

So now we’ve discovered that calamari is completely safe while pregnant to enjoy as part of a celebration of just simply a cozy lunchtime treat. You might be wondering if Octopus is also safe? 

Find out below. 

Can I eat octopus when I’m pregnant? 

Interestingly in our research for this article, we discovered that many people confuse calamari as being octopus! 

So for any expectant mother-to-be, we thought we would clear this confusion up and assure you that octopus is well, simply octopus! 

So you’ll be pleased to know that you can enjoy octopus as long as it’s cooked. You can also enjoy it cooked and then served cold. 

It’s perfectly cooked at a low calorie such as steamed or griddled in the same way as calamari. 

So let’s finish on some mouthwatering ways to enjoy calamari! 

5 of our favorite ways to eat calamari

  • Deep-fried in a light batter 
  • Paella- a colorful rice dish including chicken, peppers, and saffron 
  • Cioppino – a tasty Californian fish stew with tomatoes 
  • Kalamarakia Yemista – a beautiful Greek stew with squid left whole and stuffed with fragrant vegetables and fresh herbs 
  • Salt and pepper squid – calamari cooked Japanese style with ginger and garlic ( hold the Shaoxing wine!)

For more information on other pregnancy topics, check out our other blogs.