Are clams safe to eat while pregnant?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “ Are clams safe to eat while pregnant?”. We will discuss the health benefits and risks of eating clams while pregnant. We will also look at how to safely store, cook and eat clams while pregnant.

Are clams safe to eat while pregnant?

Yes, clams are safe to eat while pregnant. Clams are safe to eat during pregnancy provided they are properly cooked. However, you must follow the necessary hygiene practices when cooking and eating to make sure you don’t get food poisoning. 

Raw or undercooked clams must never be consumed. They’re fine in clam chowder when the other ingredients, such as pasteurized milk and cream, are also safe during pregnancy. Check to see if their shells have opened, which shows they’re done and reject any that haven’t. 

What are the risks of eating clams while pregnant?

Foodborne illnesses are the main risk of eating clams while pregnant. Clams host many bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. Proper cooking will destroy most of these microbes and make the clams safe to eat.

Food-borne illness from bacteria

Whether you’re pregnant or not, eating raw clams is dangerous. This is because germs and diseases such as Vibrio vulnificus, a type of bacteria prevalent in saltwater, can be discovered in raw clams.

Vibrio vulnificus can be found in practically all seawater, even in areas where shellfish like clams have been ‘authorized’ for harvesting. Its presence has nothing to do with pollution. Afflicted clams have no noticeable differences in appearance, flavor, or odor from those that aren’t infected.

Fortunately, many bacteria are eliminated by cooking, hence why cooked clams are safer. If you’re not certain what temperature your meal is reaching, a nice cooking thermometer is a good investment. 

Food-borne illness from a virus

Hepatitis A virus and noroviruses are the most frequent foodborne viruses. The most common method of transmission is by eating shellfish such as clams, oysters, and mussels  The water where these clams grow has become more contaminated with human feces.

Raw clam intake has been connected to large episodes of norovirus and hepatitis A virus. Illnesses and outbreaks have also been linked to insufficient cooking, such as simmering with insufficient heat.

What are the benefits of eating clams while pregnant?

  • Vitamin D, proteins, iodine, selenium, and important long-chain unsaturated fatty acids are all found in lams, making them a good source of nutrients for pregnant women.
  • Clams are a great source of protein and have a high protein density. Eating clams while pregnant provides protein to the body, which aids in the development of the baby as well as regular growth.
  • Clams may also boost your zinc level and overall immunity if you eat them regularly. 
  • They’re high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Can you eat clam chowder while pregnant?

Clam chowder is safe to eat while pregnant.

Clam soup is undoubtedly a favorite way to eat clams. If cream and milk are used, they should be pasteurized, but even if they aren’t, the soup should be served hot to eliminate any bacteria.

One thing to look for is that if the clams are alive and fresh instead of canned, they must be fully cooked in the soup or chowder for at least 3 minutes. This is typically the case, therefore most clam chowders, whether you prepare them yourself or order them, are safe to eat while pregnant.

What are the tips for safely eating clams while pregnant?

  • When cooking fresh clams, lightly tap the clam to see if it is still alive and well. Those that don’t close should be discarded.
  • To remove sand or dirt, brush or clean the clams under running water.
  • You may need to dip the clams in water to remove any grit, based on where you bought them. To do so, soak in a gallon of water with 1/3 cup of salt. Leave for 25 minutes, then repeat the process 2-3 times more. 
  • You must only eat clams that open after they’ve been cooked. All clams that did not open during the boiling process should be discarded.
  • To kill bacteria, cook at a temperature of 74 degrees Celsius.
  • Avoid interruptions when cooking clams. Cooking that is only partially completed or interrupted creates an environment that encourages bacterial growth. When thoroughly cooked, clams are plump and opaque.
  • Cook clams in tiny pans to avoid overcrowding and prevent the shells in the center from being properly cooked.
  • Raw clams should be avoided.
  • Only buy clams from a reputable source.

Other FAQs about Clams that you may be interested in.

What do clams eat?

Are dead clams safe to eat?


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “Are clams safe to eat while pregnant?”. We discussed the health benefits and risks of eating clams while pregnant. We also looked at how to safely store, cook and eat clams while pregnant.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


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