Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sushi and pregnancy

This is a topic that comes up a lot for me.

Pre-pregnancy I used to eat sushi atleast twice a week. It's amongst my favorites, and especially after becoming pregnant and whereas so much of what I used to love no longer appeals, sushi still is a major craving.

I had some trepidation initially, but I've been having it once a week for the past two months. I order the shrimp avocado roll (the shrimp is cooked) and the eel avocado roll (eel is cooked as well) or one of the vegetarian rolls. Today I even had the salmon roll (raw) after seeing it looked exceptionally fresh.

I've been doing a lot of research into raw fish during pregnancy, and this article was particularly compelling.

Some good points it makes:

  • the rate of people falling sick from eating raw fish (1 per 2 million) is far less than that from eating chicken (1 per 25,000).

  • Japanese restaurant's kitchens are often the cleanest of all restaurant kitchens

  • FDA guidelines require all raw fish to be flash-frozen first, this process kills harmful parasites, as well as cooking would

Surely, I don't think it's worth taking unneccesary risks. My regular sushi spot is a place I've been going to for some 5 years now. I know and trust their quality. I also for the most part plan to stick to cooked fish rolls but if the urge for a raw roll strikes, I know I'll feel fine eating it. Today I ordered the raw salmon roll, and people at the table actually asked if I was planning to eat it. I shared my thoughts and two of the women at the table admitted they'd also eaten raw fish rolls while pregnant... I guess many of us are just too scared of having fingers pointed at us for doing so.

Any sushi lovers out there? Are you abstaining or enjoying in moderation?


jenn said...

Hub and I used to go to a really good place when we lived in VA. They had a cupple of really good rolls on their menu that I would love to have now. ( cooked ones ) But there aren't any good places here that we have found. I say eat it. As long as you feel safe doing so I don't see an issue.

NoohGirl said...

Hi, I am coming out of lurkdom just to say keep enjoying your sushi. I live in Tokyo, Japan, and here there are no rules about pregnancy and raw fish! There are pregnant women all over Japan eating raw fish and sushi everyday!

sienna said...

this is nyc - plenty of great, really fresh sushi!! during my 2ww when i wasn't supposed to eat sushi, i went to sushi of gari (my fav!!) and chowed down. hubby was not happy with me, but my response was "they're talking about not eating BAD sushi! THIS sushi is obviously fresh given the prices!". i hope you enjoyed it :o)

Red said...

I abstain. I love it, but I just can't bring myself to eat it while pregnant. I am a bit of a nut and stick to ALL the guidelines (not a drop of alcohol, bacon, ham or other smoked products or fake sugars cross my lips).

But I don't blame you for eating it if you feel safe doing so. It is a small risk, the risk of having a serious car accident is probably higher, but I don't stop driving!

Courtney said...

We are going tonight to a sushi place! I know the chances of getting sick are slim, but I get the heebie-jeebies. My luck is I would get the slight chance and get sick!

Serendipity said...

I never ate sushi while pregnant, I was just too chicken. I craved it like mad tho!

princess rose said...

i also thought about women in japan... and figured if they are doing it, then it's not so bad right? i've only had raw sushi 2 or 3 times since pregnant and don't feel bad about it =)
i also think about french women and i hear they are advised to limit wine to 1 drink per day while pregnant... so i enjoy a sip or two during special occasions, not a whole glass though.

pregnant in Manhattan said...

thanks ladies- the diversity in opinions is to be expected and I admire that you all respected other's choices despite your personal stance.

To NoohGirl- that's a point I've thought of. Though I have to say the quality issue of raw fish is of paramount importance, and raw fish in Japan is of the highest quality. I travel quite a bit and don't know that I'd feel as comfortable ordering a sushi roll in Dar es Salaam say. And despite the NYT article saying all fish that will be served raw has to be flash frozen I still will stick to the few places I know and trust for the coming months.

I'm still going to continue enjoying my sushi, but be a smart consumer doing it.