Can you eat ceviche while pregnant?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat ceviche while pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of ceviche, risks associated with eating ceviche and how to safely consume ceviche. 

Can you eat ceviche while pregnant? 

NO, you can not eat ceviche while pregnant. Ceviche has been associated with a high risk of parasitic and bacterial infection, hence it is not regarded as safe for pregnant women. Consumption of ceviche during pregnancy can lead to some serious illnesses that can affect the health of the unborn child.

As ceviche is raw fish and heat is not applied during the process, it does not kill the bacteria in the raw fish, which can be harmful if ingested. That is why it is not safe to eat ceviche during pregnancy. 

What is ceviche?

Ceviche is a popular Latin American seafood meal that has originated in the country of Peru and is typically served as an appetizer prior to meals, often with other things like sweet potatoes and avocados.

It is composed of raw fish of your favourite variety that is marinated with lime juice and lemon juice, after being cut into pieces. 

The lemon and lime juice makes the fish white and tender giving it a taste just like cooked fish. 

It is then seasoned with all kinds of different spices native to the particular region, for instance, chilli peppers, salt, vinegar, cilantro, and chopped onions.

Ceviche should be eaten right after preparation to preserve its freshness and to minimize the risk of potential food poisoning.

Risks associated with eating ceviche during pregnancy

Consumption of raw fish is a common cause of food poisoning and is particularly dangerous for pregnant females leading to some dangerous side effects.


The most common type of food poisoning caused by eating raw seafood is listeria. Pregnant women are a lot more prone to Listeriosis as they are lower in their immunity. In severe cases, listeria can make you seriously dehydrated putting the life of your child at risk. 

There are extra risks for pregnant females, mostly because of the involuntary muscular contractions made by the body in order to try and expel the foreign particle outside the body. These contractions can possibly make you run for early labour, or even worse, lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Even if you ate ceviche before your pregnancy and felt perfectly normal, you could still encounter a listeria infection later, as the parasite can remain in your digestive system for approximately 2 months, which could lead to symptoms in your first trimester.

That is why doctors recommend avoiding having fish and other seafood items raw, like sashimi, raw shellfish, raw oysters, and others. Common symptoms of listeriosis include:

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of balance
  • Frequent headaches
  • high fever and chills
  • Sense of confusion
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhoea

Risk for the baby

The worst part is that the parasite can be transmitted to your child as well. This will lead to more serious problems for the baby because of the likelihood of brain and blood infections, which can both have permanent and severe consequences, including:

  • Blindness
  • Problems with normal brain development
  • Serious lack of cognitive ability
  • Problems with proper kidney function
  • Weak heart
  • Risk of paralysis 
  • Higher probability of epilepsy

How to safely consume ceviche 

If you really are craving ceviche in your pregnancy, consider making your own to prevent any potential risk of infection. 

Select appropriate seafood to prepare ceviche

Ceviche can be prepared with any type of seafood that you prefer. While some people prefer tuna, this is not significantly harmless while you are pregnant. Rather, choose a fish with low mercury levels. For instance, shrimp is a conventional option, and it makes a mouth-watering ceviche.

Marinade it in lime juice or lemon juice

Marinade the fish by adding some lemon or lime juice to denature the fish and to add an extra delicious flavour. 

Cut the fish into small cubes as you commonly do to prepare ceviche. Next, place it in a large container of lemon or lime juice, according to your preference. You can also add any of your favourite seasonings for some extra rich flavour. 

Cook The Fish

Afterwards, sauté the fish in lemon or lime juice with a bit of butter. Use a meat thermometer to maintain the internal temperature. This will help you make sure that the fish is cooked well within so it will not place you or your baby at risk. 


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat ceviche while pregnant?” with an in-depth analysis of ceviche, risks associated with eating ceviche and how to safely consume ceviche. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.