Ceviche While Pregnant: Risks, Side Effects, Safety

Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you embark on this beautiful journey of motherhood, it’s important to take extra care of your health and make informed choices about what you eat. One food that often raises questions for expecting mothers is ceviche. In this blog, we will dive deep into the world of ceviche and its safety during pregnancy. We’ll explore the risks, potential side effects, and how to ensure safety while enjoying this delicious dish. From understanding the symptoms of listeriosis to proper methods of handling and storing fish, we’ve got you covered. So, if you’re wondering whether it’s safe to indulge in ceviche while pregnant, keep reading to find out all the good news and information you need to make the best decision for you and your baby.


What Is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a beloved Latin American dish made by marinating raw fish or seafood in citrus juice, specifically lime juice. The acid in the juice “cooks” the fish, changing its texture. It’s commonly garnished with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, omega, and other seasonings to enhance its taste.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ceviche?

It is advisable for pregnant women to avoid consuming ceviche due to the potential risks of listeriosis, a foodborne illness. Ceviche is often prepared with raw fish or seafood, which may harbor harmful bacteria or parasites. Opting for cooked seafood options is recommended to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby.

Understanding the Symptoms of Listeriosis

Pregnant women need to be aware of the symptoms of listeriosis, a foodborne illness that can occur from consuming raw or undercooked seafood. Listeriosis is caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in raw fish and seafood dishes like ceviche. The symptoms of listeriosis include fevers, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea, and in severe cases, it can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, or serious illness in newborns. Thus, it is crucial for pregnant women to choose cooked seafood options over raw ones to ensure their safety from listeriosis.

Risks of Ceviche for the Baby

Consuming ceviche while pregnant is not advisable due to the potential risks it poses to both the mother and the baby. Ceviche, a popular seafood dish marinated in citrus juice, is often made with raw fish or seafood. Raw fish may harbor harmful bacteria, parasites, or viruses such as listeriosis, listeria or toxoplasma. These infections can cause severe complications for the baby, including birth defects, developmental issues, or even miscarriage. To protect both you and your baby from the risks of listeriosis, it is best to opt for fully cooked seafood options during pregnancy. By substituting raw fish with cooked shrimp or imitation crab meat, you can still satisfy your craving for ceviche while ensuring the safety of your pregnancy. Remember, the safety of your baby always comes first. Additionally, it is important to note that cooked seafood options can still provide essential nutrients such as fatty acids that are beneficial for both you and your baby’s health.

Are There Any Other Fish You Should Be Wary Of?

In addition to avoiding raw or undercooked fish, pregnant women should be cautious of high-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. These fish can contain mercury that may harm the baby’s nervous system. Opt for low-mercury options such as salmon, trout, sardines, and shrimp. Consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice on fish consumption during pregnancy.

Should I Just Avoid Fish Altogether Then?

No, it is not necessary to completely avoid fish during pregnancy. However, pregnant women should consume fish in moderation and avoid high-mercury fish as well as raw or undercooked seafood. It is best to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations based on your individual circumstances.

Which Fish Are Safe To Eat?

During pregnancy, it is generally safe to consume fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and tilapia. Low-mercury options such as shrimp, crab, and catfish can also be enjoyed in moderation. However, high-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish should be avoided. It is crucial to cook fish thoroughly to eliminate any potential bacteria or parasites.

Proper Methods Of Handling And Storing Fish

When it comes to handling and storing fish, there are a few important steps to ensure safety. It is crucial to choose fresh, high-quality fish for making ceviche while pregnant. This seafood dish, often made with raw fish, is a common craving for pregnant women. However, it is important to follow proper handling and storage practices to minimize any potential risks. Start by selecting the right type of fish, such as tilapia, salmon, or trout, which are known to have lower mercury levels. Properly clean and prepare the fish, removing any scales or bones, before using it in your ceviche. Ensure that you store the fish properly, keeping it refrigerated and avoiding leaving it at room temperature for too long. Safe handling practices, like avoiding cross-contamination with other foods, are also essential. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a delicious dish of ceviche while pregnant without compromising your health or the health of your baby.

Keeping the Ceviche Cool

Ensuring the Safety of Your Ceviche during Pregnancy:

To indulge in the delicious flavors of ceviche while pregnant, taking measures to keep it cool and safe is of utmost importance. Opting for seafood, like tilapia or salmon, over raw fish reduces the risk of consuming potentially harmful parasites or high mercury content. The key is in the proper handling and storage of your seafood dish. Choose fresh fish from trusted sources to minimize contamination risks. Store your ceviche at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) to stave off bacteria growth. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to savor, making sure to consume it within one to two days. Remember, if you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system, it’s always wise to play it safe and choose cooked seafood options instead. By following these guidelines, you can confidently enjoy a refreshing and safe ceviche, satisfying both your cravings and nutritional needs.

Thawing Overnight for Safe Consumption

Thawing Overnight for Safe Consumption: Ensuring the safety of ceviche while pregnant requires proper thawing of the fish. One recommended method is to thaw the fish overnight in the refrigerator. This allows for a slow and even thawing process, which reduces the risk of bacteria growth. To maintain freshness and minimize foodborne illnesses, the thawed fish should be used immediately without refreezing. It’s important for pregnant women to prioritize using fresh, high-quality fish from reputable sources. By following these guidelines, expectant mothers can savor the flavors of ceviche without compromising their well-being or that of their baby.

Using a Meat Thermometer for Proper Cooking

When it comes to enjoying seafood during pregnancy, using a meat thermometer for proper cooking is crucial. This applies to all types of fish, including ceviche. By checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, you can ensure that the fish is cooked thoroughly, eliminating any harmful bacteria or parasites that may be present. Pregnant women should be cautious about consuming raw or undercooked fish, as it can pose a risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella or listeria. By following proper cooking guidelines and using a meat thermometer, you can safely indulge in a delicious seafood dish without worrying about any potential health risks.

Quick Refrigeration of Leftovers

To maintain the freshness and quality of the leftovers from your ceviche, it is important to handle and store them properly. After indulging in this delightful seafood dish, ensure that any remaining ceviche is promptly refrigerated at a temperature below 40°F (4°C). Refrigerating the leftovers prevents bacterial growth, minimizing the risk of foodborne illness. Pregnant women should be cautious, as they should avoid consuming raw or undercooked seafood, including ceviche. By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy your ceviche while pregnant.


In conclusion, while ceviche can be a delicious and refreshing dish, it poses risks for pregnant women due to the potential presence of harmful bacteria, including pathogens such as listeriosis. Listeriosis is a serious concern that can harm both the mother and the baby. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and take precautions to avoid consuming raw or undercooked fish during pregnancy. However, this doesn’t mean you have to avoid fish altogether. There are safe options available that are low in mercury and can provide essential nutrients for your baby’s development. To learn more about which fish are safe to eat during pregnancy and proper methods of handling and storing fish, download our comprehensive guide now.

Frequently Asked Questions

[faq-schema id=”3717″]


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *