Can I Eat Ceviche While Pregnant? [Why You Should Avoid Raw Seafood]


Ceviche is a popular dish with raw fish marinated in citrus juices, spices, and herbs. It is commonly consumed in Latin American countries and has also gained popularity in other parts of the world. However, pregnant women are often advised to be careful about what they eat to ensure the health of both the mother and the baby. In this article, we will explore the question, “Can I eat ceviche while pregnant?” and provide you with all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

During pregnancy, women need to be mindful of their diet because the foods they consume can affect the health of the developing fetus. Some foods may contain harmful bacteria or toxins that can cause serious health issues, such as miscarriage or congenital disabilities. Therefore, pregnant women need to be cautious about the foods they eat and ensure that they are consuming foods that are safe for both themselves and their babies.

In this article, we will discuss whether it is safe to eat ceviche during pregnancy. We will explore the risks and benefits of consuming ceviche while pregnant and provide you with helpful tips to make an informed decision. We will also discuss the nutritional value of ceviche and offer alternative seafood options for pregnant women looking to incorporate seafood into their diet. By the end of this article, you will have all the information you need to decide whether or not to include ceviche in your pregnancy diet.

Risks of consuming raw fish while pregnant

Pregnancy is when a woman’s body undergoes many changes, including changes in her immune system. Therefore, being cautious about what she eats during this time is crucial. One such concern is consuming raw fish, such as ceviche. While it may be tempting to indulge in this tasty dish, it is essential to understand the risks involved.

Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, and toxoplasmosis(1). These illnesses can be severe and even life-threatening for the mother and the unborn baby. Listeriosis, for example, can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or a severe newborn infection.

It is important to note that cooking fish to the recommended temperature can kill these harmful pathogens. However, ceviche is a dish made with raw fish marinated in citrus juices, which does not effectively kill these harmful pathogens. As a result, pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming raw fish and opt for fully cooked fish instead.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women avoid raw or undercooked fish, including ceviche(2). It is essential to follow this recommendation to ensure the mother’s and baby’s health and safety. The following section will discuss some safe alternatives to satisfy your seafood cravings during pregnancy.

Alternatives to ceviche during pregnancy

When it comes to seafood during pregnancy, many women wonder if they can still enjoy ceviche. While ceviche can be a delicious and nutritious option for non-pregnant individuals, pregnant women must be mindful of certain risks of consuming raw fish. However, there are safe alternatives and options that pregnant women can enjoy.

Raw fish, a crucial ingredient in traditional ceviche, can carry harmful bacteria and parasites that may risk the mother and the developing fetus. These risks include foodborne illness and potential harm to the baby’s neurological development. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women avoid raw fish, including ceviche, to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

However, there are plenty of other ways to get the same nutrients that ceviche offers. Cooked fish, lean meats, nuts, and seeds are excellent protein sources. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements, nuts, and seeds. Vitamin D can be obtained through fortified foods, like milk and cereal, or sunlight exposure.

If you’re pregnant and still craving the flavors of ceviche, there are safe alternatives that you can enjoy. Cooked seafood, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, are safe to consume during pregnancy when cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. Additionally, many cooked ceviche recipes use cooked seafood instead of raw fish. These alternatives allow you to enjoy the flavors and nutritional benefits of seafood without the risks associated with consuming raw fish.

Frequently Asked Questions: Eating Ceviche During Pregnancy

  • Can I eat ceviche cooked in lemon while pregnant? 

Ceviche is typically marinating raw seafood in citrus juices like lemon or lime. While the acidity of the citrus juices can help to “cook” the seafood, it does not guarantee that all harmful bacteria and parasites have been eliminated. Therefore, it is generally recommended that pregnant women avoid ceviche altogether, whether cooked in lemon or not.

  • Is ceviche considered raw? 

Yes, ceviche is regarded as a raw seafood dish since it typically involves marinating raw seafood in citrus juices.

  • Is it safe to eat lime during pregnancy?

 Yes, it is generally safe to consume lime during pregnancy. Limes can be a good source of vitamin C, which is essential for the baby’s immune system and development.

  • Can I eat raw shrimp while pregnant? 

Pregnant women are generally recommended to avoid raw shrimp and other raw seafood due to the risk of foodborne illness. Shrimp should be cooked until it is opaque and firm to the touch to ensure that harmful bacteria and parasites are eliminated.

  • What raw food is not suitable for pregnancy? 

Pregnant women are generally recommended to avoid all-natural meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs as they can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites. This includes raw sushi, oysters, clams, and other raw seafood dishes.

  • Is any raw fish safe during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are generally recommended to avoid all raw fish and seafood due to the risk of foodborne illness. Fish should be cooked until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork to ensure that harmful bacteria and parasites are eliminated.


In conclusion, ceviche is a popular seafood dish that many enjoy, but for pregnant women, there are specific considerations to remember. While ceviche can be a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it is essential to ensure that it is prepared safely to avoid the risk of foodborne illness. Pregnant women should avoid consuming raw seafood, including ceviche, and opt for cooked seafood.

Cooked seafood, such as shrimp and salmon, can provide similar nutritional benefits to ceviche without the risk of foodborne illness. It is also essential for pregnant women to consult with their healthcare provider for personalized recommendations on seafood consumption during pregnancy.

In summary, while ceviche can be a delicious and healthy seafood option, pregnant women should exercise caution. Cooked seafood is a safer alternative that can provide similar nutritional benefits. Pregnant women should always consult their healthcare provider for individualized guidance on their diet during pregnancy.


Tam, C., Erebara, A., & Einarson, A. (2010). Food-borne illnesses during pregnancy: prevention and treatment. Canadian Family Physician Medecin de Famille Canadien56(4), 341–343. Retrieved from

editor. (2020, October). Foods to Avoid When Pregnant. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from American Pregnancy Association website:

Joseph Emb
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Hi there! I'm Joseph Emb, a nutritionist and certified personal trainer passionate about helping people reach their health and fitness goals. With over ten years of experience in the health and wellness industry, I've accumulated a great deal of knowledge that I love to share with my readers. I have a degree in exercise science and am proud to have been featured in reputable publications such as Men's Health and Women's Fitness. My goal with my blog is to inspire and empower others to take control of their health and live happier healthier lives.
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