Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial or parasitic, such as norovirus, Vibrio
). Some of these infections only affect the mother, leaving her dehydrated and weak. Other infections may be passed on to the unborn baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences (5
). Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria
infections. In fact, pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria
than the general population (8
). This bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish
can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying. Listeria
can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta, even if the mother is not showing any signs of illness. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth and other serious health problems (9
). Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish. This includes many sushi dishes.
Summary Raw fish and shellfish can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Some of these can cause adverse health effects and harm both the mother and unborn baby.