Can you Eat Smoked Salmon While Pregnant?

Can a pregnant woman eat smoked salmon? The response is based on several variables, including your demands. Here, we’ll talk about the advantages for your health, any risks, and reliable sources. Fish is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, two crucial elements for the growing fetus. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in smoked salmon, which is also delicious and healthy. The shelf-stable and hot-smoked variants, however, should be avoided by expectant mothers. Always choose mildly smoked salmon.

When prepared properly, smoked salmon is safe to eat during pregnancy, despite some people’s concerns. Docosahexaenoic acid, one of the omega-3 fatty acids, is abundant in smoked salmon. However, some people are skeptical about the safety of eating oily fish while pregnant. The preparatory technique will determine the response. Before serving cold smoked salmon to expectant mothers, it must be fully cooked.

Salmon Nutrition Facts

Smoked Salmon Nutrition Facts

Smoked Salmon

High-quality smoked salmon has a flaky or a delightful buttery texture, depending on whether it is cold or hot smoked. Depending on the curing recipe and herbs employed, there could be a trace of sweetness, a touch of dill, or neither of these. The salmon may have a strong or a moderate smoky flavor, depending on the wood used to smoke it.

It doesn’t have to require a lot of ingredients, regardless of the precise flavor or type of smoked salmon you’re looking for. The key to producing high-quality smoked salmon is to start with the proper fresh ingredients, use only the freshest fish procured ethically and sustainably, and use tested smoking techniques.

Types of Smoked Salmon

Depending on the specific curing technique, smoked salmon is either cold- or hot-smoked:

  • Cold-Smoked: At 70-90°F (21-32°C), the salmon is dry-cured and smoked. It has a vivid color, a soft texture, and an intense, fishy flavor because it hasn’t been properly cooked. This variety is frequently put on bagels and toast, in salads, and in spreads.
  • Hot-Smoked: The salmon is brine-cured and smoked at 120°F (49°C) until it reaches 135°F (57°C) or higher inside. It has firm, flaky meat and a rich, smoky flavor since it has been fully cooked. This variety is typically offered as an entrée, atop salads and rice bowls, or in creamy dips.


Various smoked salmon products are frequently seen in grocers’ aisles and restaurants. These items can occasionally be found in tin cans or vacuum-sealed pouches. Food labels frequently include the smoking process. Some even mention the pasteurization of the product, which denotes that the fish has been cooked. The best way to determine whether a product has been hot- or cold-smoked is to ask a server or contact the manufacturer.

Which Types of Smoked Salmon are Safe in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy-safe varieties of smoked salmon include those that are low in risk of infection, including:

Hot Smoked Salmon

Pregnant women can consume hot-smoked salmon in any form—fresh, frozen, or canned. This is so that the salmon cooks thoroughly throughout the smoking process since it is smoked at a high enough temperature.
The hot-smoked salmon should be marked as such because it is opaque. If it was home-smoked, at least a portion of the smoking process should have occurred at a temperature exceeding 160F/71C.

Canned or Tinned Smoked Salmon

Salmon in cans, which are typically seen on the shelves of grocery stores or shops, is safe to eat while pregnant. This is due to the pasteurization or heat treatment at temperatures that kill microorganisms required by the canning process. The only extremely unlikely exception would be if the tin were kept in a store or shop’s refrigerator (much like fresh crab meat), indicating that it had not been pasteurized.

Shelf Stable Smoked Salmon

Shelf-stable Pregnant women can frequently eat smoked salmon without any problems. When referring to ‘ambient’ commodities, or those displayed on the shelf at room or store temperature, the term “shelf-stable” in food storage is used. This salmon is often vacuum packaged in a box and sold without refrigeration. Salmon is not “shelf stable” if it needs to be maintained in a refrigerator after it is purchased and sold. Products that are shelf-stable typically only require refrigeration after being opened.

Which Types of Smoked Salmon are Unsafe for Pregnant Women?

Here are the types of smoked salmon which are unsafe for pregnant women:

Cold-Smoked Salmon

Cold-smoked fish provides natural breeding habitat for Listeria because it is uncooked. To ensure optimal muscle texture, this type of salmon is cured below 30°C (86°F). Check the labels because cold salmon may be sold under many names.

Products Containing Smoked Salmon

Products that have been pre-processed, such as cream cheese or dips with salmon taste or smoked salmonpâté and spreads, may be contaminated. They are best avoided during pregnancy because neither the remedy type nor the processing procedure is known. Another reason to avoid these salmon products is the possibility of including unpasteurized milk.

Smoked Salmon Sushi

Raw fish makes up the majority of salmon sushi. A study on Listeria in salmon sushi showed that their number rose exponentially over three days. Therefore, avoid eating raw salmon sushi when pregnant. But you might think about having cooked salmon sushi.

Health Benefits of Eating Smoked Salmon During Pregnancy

Smoked Salmon

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) meal of smoked salmon offers a wealth of healthy nutrients for pregnant women. Although smoked fish is generally considered safe for pregnancy, there are some dietary restrictions that pregnant women should follow.

  • Fish is a great source of iodine and vitamins B12 and D, essential for healthy fetal growth and development.
  • Fish frequently contains higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA when compared to other protein sources. DHA has been related to better newborn and child development and plays a particularly significant function during pregnancy by aiding fetal brain development.
  • Smoked fish is a rich source of protein and is high in vitamins A and D. It is also high in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, iodine, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • While smoked fish is a great source of protein, it is best to avoid smoked or raw seafood, especially uncanned varieties, as they can contain harmful bacteria called Listeria.

What are the Potential Risks of Eating Smoked Salmon During Pregnancy?

Here are the risks of eating smoked salmon during pregnancy:

High Risk of Listeria

Eating raw or undercooked fish, such as cold-smoked salmon, can result in many bacterial, viral, and parasite diseases. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are the source of this foodborne sickness. Pregnant women, up to 18 times more likely than the general population to get Listeria, are particularly susceptible to this. Through the placenta, this illness can spread directly to a fetus. Although the sickness can have severe and deadly adverse effects on unborn children, pregnant women only have mild to moderate symptoms.

Listeria in pregnant women and unborn babies can result in:

  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight of newborns
  • Meningitis (inflammation around the brain and spinal corn)
  • Miscarriages

Flu-like symptoms, fever, exhaustion, and muscular aches are a few indications of Listeria in pregnant women. If you have these symptoms while expecting a child and suspect that you may have contracted Listeria, get in touch with your healthcare professional.
When pregnant, it’s better to avoid sources like deli meats, cold-smoked salmon, and other raw or undercooked fish to lower your risk. Even hot-smoked salmon should be heated to 165°F (74°C) before consumption to eliminate Listeria germs.

May Result in Worm Parasites

Consuming salmon that is raw or undercooked increases your chance of contracting parasites. Tapeworms are among the most prevalent parasites found in raw or undercooked salmon. In addition to excessive or fast weight loss, tapeworms can cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Additionally, they could cause intestinal obstructions and nutrient deficits. Salmon should either be deep frozen for 15 hours at -31°F (-35°C) or heated to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to kill parasites like tapeworms.

High in Sodium

Salmon is initially salted-cured before being smoked, both cold and hot. As a result, the finished product is frequently sodium-rich. Just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of smoked salmon may contain 30% or more of the maximum recommended sodium consumption of 2,300 mg for healthy people and pregnant women, depending on the specific curing and preparation techniques. High salt diets are associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, which harm expectant mothers and their babies. As a result, pregnant women should only sometimes consume salt-cured foods like hot-smoked salmon.

Ways to Prepare

Smoked salmon is a well-liked treat in the United States. Most salmon can be eaten without harm when cooked correctly and properly prepared. Although smoked salmon in cans or on shelves is safe to consume, some varieties may be detrimental to unborn children. You can have smoked kippered and Nova-style salmon, but pate is the greatest way to prepare smoked salmon. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, two omega-3 fatty acids, can be found in smoked salmon.

It is advised to consume smoked salmon in moderation because pregnancy-related preeclampsia and high blood pressure can harm mothers and babies. However, 3.5 ounces of smoked salmon contain more sodium than is advised for a pregnant woman. Additionally, the snack only contains 2,000 mg of salt for pregnant women while having roughly 30% of the daily limit for healthy adults.


Salmon prepared and cured with smoke is known as smoked salmon. Smoked salmon that has been hot-smoked is fully cooked, so it’s not always raw. Hot-smoked salmon is great for dips. In my family, we frequently serve hot-smoked salmon with mayo on crackers and a squeeze of lemon, which is excellent and delicious.

Although cold-smoked salmon is incredibly nutritious, it’s best to stay away from it if you’re expecting it. These kinds are dangerous to your health because they aren’t properly cooked. On the other hand, hot-smoked salmon is fully cooked and shouldn’t spread harmful illnesses. To ensure safety, reheat any hot-smoked salmon that hasn’t already been heated to 165°F before consuming it. Smoked fish options that are shelf-stable are also secure. So it’s advisable to limit your salmon intake while expecting hot-smoked or shelf-stable varieties.