Is it safe for pregnant women to eat shrimp paste?

Whether pregnant women can consume shrimp paste is a common question that many expectant mothers wonder about. Shrimp paste is a popular condiment widely used in cooking. Understanding this concern, today, The Pregnancy Care aims to help expectant mothers understand the answer more clearly through the following article.

Can pregnant women eat shrimp paste?

Pregnant women can eat shrimp paste, but it’s advisable not to consume it excessively due to the sensitive digestive system during pregnancy. Additionally, foods like shrimp paste are made from seafood and may contain certain levels of mercury. This could potentially hinder the baby’s development, affect the nervous system, or even lead to congenital defects in the child.

Shrimp paste is a commonly used seasoning in cooking. If it’s properly processed hygienically and correctly, it can enhance the flavor of dishes. As of now, there hasn’t been any scientific study definitively stating that shrimp paste can directly impact the health of pregnant women or the development of the fetus.

Is it safe for pregnant women to eat shrimp paste?
Is it safe for pregnant women to eat shrimp paste?

Benefits of Eating Shrimp Paste During Pregnancy

Answering the question of whether pregnant women can eat shrimp paste, The Pregnancy Care aims to introduce some benefits of shrimp paste for expectant mothers:

Fetal brain development

Dr. Nemesio Montano and Dr. Victor Gavino, two nutrition doctors from the University of Montreal in Canada, conducted research affirming that shrimp paste contains a significant amount of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). This nutrient is crucial for the fetal brain and eye development from pregnancy to childbirth. Therefore, when pregnant women consume shrimp paste, they absorb DHA components that aid in the child’s intelligence and comprehensive development.

Preventing birth defects

Shrimp paste not only benefits expectant mothers but also serves as a rich source of B-group vitamins. These vitamins play a vital role in supporting the development of the baby’s nervous system and help prevent fetal abnormalities.

Preventing cardiovascular and joint diseases

Shrimp paste is rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids with relatively low cholesterol levels. It’s easily absorbed and helps limit heart and joint-related diseases.

Especially, shrimp paste can also reduce blood sugar levels. Consuming shrimp paste during pregnancy can somewhat reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Additionally, it aids in calcium supplementation for pregnant women.

Choosing the safest type of shrimp paste for pregnant women

As shrimp paste is typically produced in environments conducive to bacterial growth, consuming inadequately sanitized shrimp paste poses a high risk of food poisoning, especially since pregnant women have weaker immune systems. Moreover, due to its salty taste, excessive consumption may lead to swelling, increased blood pressure, fatigue, dehydration, and irritability.

Therefore, here are some tips to select tasty and safe shrimp paste:

Select based on aroma and flavor

Well-prepared shrimp paste has a distinct and strong aroma when cooked but should also have a subtle pleasant smell and a moderately salty taste. Traditionally made with white salt and marine shrimp, it’s natural, nutritious, and of high value. Be meticulous and avoid types with a fishy or odd smell.

Choose based on color

Shrimp paste typically has a familiar reddish-purple hue or sometimes a light purple tone, representing the traditional and natural color of the product.

If you notice a deep red-purple color layer, it’s likely artificially colored. Absolutely avoid this type as it might cause poisoning for expectant mothers.

Key Points for Pregnant Women Eating Shrimp Paste

While shrimp paste offers several benefits for expectant mothers, there are essential considerations to avoid potential health issues and ensure the optimal development of the fetus:

– Prioritize shrimp paste with a clearly traceable source to prevent bacterial contamination that could lead to food poisoning in pregnant women.

– When consuming shrimp paste, ensure it is thoroughly cooked to guarantee hygiene and avoid consuming it raw.

– Avoid mixing shrimp paste with other food items to prevent cross-contamination and potential bacterial infections.

– Additionally, pregnant women should consume shrimp paste in moderation due to its high salt content, which could potentially lead to increased blood pressure and edema during pregnancy.

During the course of pregnancy, maintaining a balanced diet is one of the crucial aspects for expectant mothers to focus on. The Pregnancy Care hopes that this article has helped address the question ‘Can pregnant women eat shrimp paste?’ and provided necessary insights regarding shrimp paste. This information can assist in making suitable adjustments to one’s dietary choices. Wishing all expecting mothers a healthy and safe pregnancy journey.


What is shrimp paste made of?

Shrimp paste is typically made from fermented ground shrimp mixed with salt. It’s a concentrated condiment commonly used in various cuisines, imparting a distinctive umami flavor to dishes.

What is shrimp paste in Vietnamese cuisine?

In Vietnamese cuisine, shrimp paste is known as “mắm ruốc” or “mắm tép.” It’s a common ingredient used to add flavor to dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and dipping sauces. Vietnamese shrimp paste is usually made by fermenting small shrimps or krill.

Is Bagoong a shrimp paste?

Yes, Bagoong is a type of shrimp paste used in Filipino cuisine. It’s made from fermented small shrimps or fish mixed with salt. Depending on the region and preparation, Bagoong can vary in taste and texture.

What can replace shrimp paste?

If you’re looking for a substitute for shrimp paste, miso paste or fish sauce could serve as alternatives in certain dishes. Additionally, a mix of anchovies or fish sauce with soy sauce might provide a similar umami flavor profile in some recipes. However, the precise flavor of shrimp paste might not be perfectly replicated, so adjustments may be needed based on personal taste preferences and the specific recipe being prepared.

Is it OK to eat shrimp paste while pregnant?

Pregnant women can consume shrimp paste in moderation, but it’s advisable not to eat it excessively due to the potential risks associated with its high salt content and the possibility of containing mercury from seafood, which could affect fetal development.

Is it safe to eat shrimp paste?

Shrimp paste is generally safe for consumption, but pregnant women should be cautious due to its high salt levels and potential presence of contaminants like mercury. It’s recommended to consume it in limited amounts to avoid any adverse effects on pregnancy.

Can you eat paste when pregnant?

If you’re referring to shrimp paste, yes, you can eat it during pregnancy, but it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and frequency due to its salt content and potential contaminants that might affect the developing fetus.

Is Bagoong safe during pregnancy?

Bagoong, a type of shrimp paste used in Filipino cuisine, should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy. As with other types of shrimp paste, it contains high salt levels and could potentially have contaminants, so pregnant women should be cautious and limit their intake.


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