Pot Luck

Attention Pregnant Women: You CAN Eat Sushi

As we all know, pregnant women typically abstain from certain foods throughout their pregnancy -- specifically, foods which could harm a growing fetus. Many types of fish, for example, have high levels of mercury -- which can cause a liver infection in a pregnant woman -- while others foods, such as soft cheeses, have long been on the "avoid" list but are actually quite safe.

Pregnant women are especially advised not to consume raw fish, due to the parasites that are naturally present in the fish and that could potentially cause a parasitic infection.

Carl Rosa, president of the Sushi Club of Houston, was recently asked by a pregnant woman if she could still eat sushi despite her doctor's warnings. The answer is yes, and Rosa helped the woman create a list of sushi items she could eat -- because none of them contain raw fish.

For all of the pregnant women who love sushi, here is Rosa's list of sushi items you can eat while pregnant:

"When considering sushi, would-be moms merely need to avoid raw fish or seafood to avoid the rare and regrettable grasp of most food-borne parasites," Rosa said. "And although raw fish is considered a hallmark of sushi, there are dozens of delicious options available for pregnant sushi lovers."

Whenever you visit a sushi restaurant, simply ask your sushi chef or the manager to give you a list of cooked sushi options. You can still consume nigiri, vegetable rolls and fusion rolls.

"In fact, three of the most traditional forms of sushi are actually cooked: unagi (freshwater eel), anago (saltwater eel) and tamago (sweetened, cooked egg)," Rosa said.

If you enjoy nigiri such as these, Rosa suggests trying shiitake nigiri or boiled king crab leg nigiri. Avocado rolls and cucumber rolls are excellent vegetable-only sushi rolls, while caterpillar rolls, spider rolls and California rolls are also wonderful fusion roll choices. Rosa advises, however, to always ask your sushi chef or restaurant manager, as they will know the food best and will be able to provide safe sushi choices.

Rosa worked with Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill, Kata Robata, Zushi and Redfish Seafood Grill to create a list of rolls and other sushi options pregnant women can consume. As a result, each of these restaurants has special rolls and sushi that are safe recommendations for pregnant women.

Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill

Try the Kubo's Roll (fried shrimp and spicy mayo) or the Alaskan King Crab Roll with king crab, asparagus and avocado. But remember to ask your chef to make both of these without tobiko, which are fish eggs.

Kata Robata

Kata Robata offers the Longhorn Roll with fried shrimp, freshwater eel, avocado, spicy mayo and a sweetened unagi sauce. Remember to ask your sushi chef to not include those fish eggs.


Order the Jack William Roll at Zushi for a safe sushi roll filled with tempura vegetables, avocado and snow crab. It's topped with peppered rib eye, leeks and a citrus soy sauce.

Redfish Seafood Grill

For a pregnancy-safe roll, try the Happy Roll, which includes tempura shrimp, masago, jalapeño, cream cheese, mayo and an avocado, kani and seaweed salad topping. Again, ask for the chef to remove the masago.

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn