Can You Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant – Risks of Smoked Salmon & Lox

Can you eat smoked salmon while pregnant without any risks? In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential dangers of smoked salmon and lox during pregnancy, and provide some tips for how to enjoy this delicious seafood safely.
can you eat salmon while pregnant

Key Takeaways

  • You can eat smoked salmon when pregnant if it has been heated up properly ✔️
  • You shouldn’t eat fish because it may contain harmful bacteria ❌
  • Refrigerated salmon is not entirely safe ⚠️

Can You Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant?

Can You Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant

Expectant mothers often have many questions about what they can and cannot eat during pregnancy. While there are some foods that should be avoided altogether, others are perfectly safe to eat as long as they are prepared in a certain way. For example, hot smoked salmon is safe to eat during pregnancy, but cold smoked salmon is not. So, can you eat smoked salmon while pregnant? It depends.

Hot Smoked Salmon vs Cold

Pregnant women are often advised to avoid cold-smoked fish, as it may be contaminated with listeria bacteria. However, hot-smoked fish is generally considered safe to eat. The high temperatures used in hot smoking kill any harmful bacteria, making the fish safe to eat. 

Additionally, hot-smoked salmon is less likely to be contaminated with tapeworms than cold-smoked salmon. Tapeworms can cause serious health problems for both mother and child, so it is best to avoid them altogether. While hot-smoked salmon is safe to eat during pregnancy, it is important to consult with a physician before consuming any type of fish.

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Shelf-Stable Smoked Salmon vs Ready-To-Eat

Smoked salmon is fish that has been preserved through smoking. It can be either shelf-stable or ready-to-eat. Shelf-stable smoked salmon has been cooked and canned, making it safe to eat without further cooking. While in general, smoked salmon is more or less safe to eat during pregnancy, shelf-stable smoked salmon is the better option since it does not require refrigeration. Ready-to-eat smoked salmon is not safe to eat while pregnant.

Can You Eat Lox While Pregnant?

We already know the answer to “Can you eat smoked salmon while pregnant?” But what about lox?

Lox is a type of smoked salmon that is often eaten as a breakfast food or as part of a bagel sandwich. While lox is safe for most people, it is not recommended for pregnant women because it contains high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to a developing baby. More importantly, lox falls into raw and/or refrigerated types of fish. This is strongly advised against during pregnancy, due to the risk of listeria bacteria. 

The Risks of Eating Smoked Salmon or Lox During Pregnancy

The Risks of Eating Smoked Salmon or Lox During Pregnancy

The main risk associated with cold smoked salmon or lox is the potential for tapeworm infection. This is because the smoking process does not kill all of the parasites that may be present in the fish. If these parasites are ingested, they can cause serious health problems for both the mother and child. 

Tapeworms can grow to be over 30 feet long, and they can cause malnutrition, anemia, and even death. While there is no need to completely avoid cold smoked salmon or lox during pregnancy, you have to ensure that the fish is properly cooked before consumption.

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Pregnant women are often advised to avoid smoked salmon due to the risk of listeria infection. Listeria is a type of foodborne illness that can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious health problems. However, properly prepared and heated smoked salmon poses no risk. 

Editor’s Note

Statistically, contracting listeria is fairly rare. That is not to say you can enjoy eating raw fish, but rather to calm you down if you accidentally eat some. 

The Difference Between Lox and Smoked Salmon

Both smoked salmon and lox are made from salmon that has been cured in salt. The main difference between the two is in the type of salmon that is used. Lox is made from belly salmon, which gives it a richer flavor, while smoked salmon is typically made from fillets of wild Pacific salmon. In terms of texture, lox is also softer and more delicate than smoked salmon. Lox may or may not be smoked. 

When it comes to preparation, lox is usually served sliced thin and served on bagels or cream cheese. Smoked salmon can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, including as an ingredient in salads or pasta dishes. 

A Safe Way to Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant

A Safe Way to Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant

You should choose fresh salmon that has been refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. When cooking the salmon, heat it until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid cross contamination by using clean utensils and surfaces, and washing your hands thoroughly after handling the fish. Follow these simple guidelines, and the answer to “Can you eat smoked salmon while pregnant?” is yes!

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What If You Ate Smoked Salmon or Lox?

If you accidentally eat smoked salmon, or lox, while pregnant, don’t panic. Instead, contact your doctor or midwife and let them know what happened. They will likely ask you a few questions about the smoked salmon, such as when you ate it, how much you ate, and any other symptoms you’re experiencing. Monitor for any alarming symptoms, such as excessive vomiting or bleeding. If you experience any of them, seek medical help immediately. 

Other Types of Smoked Salmon to Avoid

While most commercially-prepared smoked salmon is cooked, you should always check the label. Generally, you’d better avoid:

  • smoked salmon jerky;
  • smoked salmon candy;
  • kippered salmon;
  • and Nova lox. 

Salmon During Pregnancy – Key Takeaways

So, can you eat smoked salmon while pregnant? Pregnant women should only eat smoked salmon that has been properly cooked, and they should avoid eating it if it is past its expiration date. Additionally, pregnant women should make sure to wash their hands thoroughly after handling smoked salmon.

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