Calamari While Pregnant – Can I Eat It & How Safe is It?

Have you been wondering if you can eat Calamari while pregnant? Do not worry. Calamari doesn’t have high mercury levels, making it one of the best seafood choices for pregnant women, as recommended by the FDA. 

But that’s not all there is to know about this nutrient-dense food. In this article, you’ll learn about other benefits and possible risks associated with eating this delicious seafood during pregnancy.

Table of Contents

What is Calamari

Calamari is the plural form of Calamari, which means squid in Italian. Contrary to popular myths that Calamari is an octopus or pig rectum, it is squid cut into rings and deep fried.

It is chewy, light and has a mild flavor that blends easily into any dish. It is also a versatile food that can be grilled, sauteed, braised, or eaten raw.

And can fit into seafood salads, pasta dishes, soups, stews, or an appetizer.

Benefits of Calamari

  • It is a great source of protein
  • It offers omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • It is low in Mercury as compared to other seafood
  • It contains choline for brain and liver health.
  • It is rich in selenium, an antioxidant mineral that promotes immune response.
  • It contains a reasonable amount of Copper for bone health, cardiovascular and nervous system health, iron metabolism, and red blood cell formation.
  • It is nutrient-dense, so the concentration of nutrients in a 100g serving is high compared to the calories in the same serving.

Can I Eat Calamari While Pregnant?

Pregnancy can be such an exhausting experience for some women. For some, the thought of certain foods can make them ill, while others crave foods they’ve never had before.

Suppose you enjoyed eating crispy Calamari before pregnancy. In that case, you may be wondering if it is safe to continue, and if you have never had one before, it is normal for you to develop sudden cravings for it.

Even though health experts encourage pregnant women to include seafood in their meals, the question of how safe some of them are, especially during pregnancy, is a topic to consider.

Because seafood is known to contain Mercury, and high levels of Mercury in these foods can lead to mercury poisoning and other pregnancy complications.

Fortunately, Calamari has the lowest mercury level compared to other seafood and is considered safe and healthy due to its nutritional benefits.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in the air, water, or soil. It is a heavy metal that is insoluble, and if exposed to high levels of it, humans are at risk of mercury poisoning, which affects the brain, kidney, lung, and heart functions.

And has been recorded to cause bladder cancer. High levels of Mercury in pregnancy can affect fetal development, impair cognitive development, and increase the risk of cerebral palsy.

Is It Safe to Eat Calamari While Pregnant?

Eating Calamari while pregnant is not only safe but a good way to get the nutrients in nutrient-dense food.

Because of the low level of Mercury in Calamari, it is harmless to the mother and baby and supplies the basic nutrients the baby needs as a building block of their development.

Calamari contains proteins, selenium, choline, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and other minerals. Selenium helps with immune boosting and protects the body against diseases, while fatty acids help with brain development in fetuses and nourishment.

However, Calamari’s cholesterol levels are a concern for experts as higher cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular health challenges. 

To reduce the effects of cholesterol on pregnant women, avoid fried Calamari during this period.

There are several other methods of enjoying your Calamari without frying. Some include:

  • Grilled
  • Sauteed Calamari
  • Braised Calamari
  • Raw. This may not be a good option for women who easily get nauseous. Not only will it irritate, but some raw foods contain bacteria that can harm you or the baby.
  • With seafood salads or vegetable salads

Risks Associated With Eating Calamari While Pregnant

Squid Allergies

Squid is a member of the mollusk family and a cousin to shellfish like oysters, mussels, and clams, which can trigger allergic reactions as the mollusk does.

High Cholesterol Content

Foods with high cholesterol can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, and considering that many people prefer it fried, it increases its calorie and fat content, making it less healthy for pregnant women.

Nutritional Information

 Per 100g
Saturated fats0.36
Monounsaturated fat0.11
Polyunsaturated fats0.52
Vitamin B20.41
Vitamin B121.30
VitaminsPer 100g
Vitamin B20.41
Vitamin B121.30mcg
Vitamin B32.18
Vitamin C4.70
Vitamin E1.20
Vitamin B50.50
Vitamin A10mcg
MineralsPer 100g

Other Seafood Alternatives To Calamari

If you have had much Calamari and want some variety, other seafood options have low mercury levels and are considered safe during pregnancy. They include:

● Catfish

● Cod

● Crawfish

● Whitefish

● Salmon

● Sardines

● Flounder

● Whiting

● Lobster

● Herring

● White croaker

● Grouper

● Mahi-mahi

● Snapper

● Bluefish

Grilled Calamari Recipe

You might have enjoyed fried Calamari so much that you’d be wondering if it’s possible to enjoy it in any other way.

Grilled Calamari tastes just as good as fried Calamari, if not better, and is considered more healthy for pregnant women. You’d enjoy your Calamari plate with the ingredients and the right recipe within minutes.


  • Squid
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lime wedges
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wooden skewers
  • Parsley


  • First, soak your skewers in water for 30 minutes to avoid burning.
  • Rinse the squid and pat it with a paper towel to dry.
  • Cut the squid into smaller rings that are soft for the skewers to penetrate yet not too thin.
  • Thread the rings on the skewers.
  • Preheat the grill to medium heat and place the sticks over the grill for 5 minutes on each side until the edges are a little charred.
  • Drizzle some olive oil on both sides and some lime
  • Season with salt and pepper and let it heat for 2 minutes more
  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley and enjoy your Calamari.

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Calamari While Pregnant – FAQs

What type of seafood is safe during pregnancy?

If cooked thoroughly, most kinds of seafood can be enjoyed while pregnant. Mercury is present in some fish, and when consumed in large quantities, it can harm the mother and baby.

Can I eat fried shrimp during pregnancy?

Yes, you can, but you must eat moderately and ensure it is fully cooked, like all fried foods. Nevertheless, if you are craving fried calamari and popcorn shrimp, go ahead but don’t make it a habit.

Can I eat fried seafood during pregnancy?

Yes, but in moderation. Calamari that is fried can be high in cholesterol, so it should be avoided if you want to keep your cholesterol levels down.

Watch for tasty dipping sauces served with fried Calamari rings if you’re eating out.


Having Calamari while pregnant is not just safe; it is also recommended for pregnant women to include seafood in their meals at least 2-3 times a week.

Seafood contains major minerals and vitamins that promote fetal development and also reduce the risk of pregnancy complications due to nutritional deficiency in the foods these women eat.

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