Can You Eat Escargot Or Snails When Pregnant?

Eating escargot(snails) during pregnancy can be a concern due to the potential health risks. They can carry parasites such as the rat lungworm, which can be very harmful to both you and the little one if not properly cooked and prepared.

Additionally, these snail dishes often involve a lot of butter and garlic, which may not be suitable for you in large quantities.

Pregnant women can eat escargot or snails, but they should heed to these precautions to minimize the risks associated and make it safer for them:

  • Make sure it is thoroughly cooked to kill any possible parasite or bacteria. The internal temperature of the snails should reach nothing less than 165°F (74°C).
  • Purchase escargot from reputable suppliers or restaurants that follow food safety guidelines.
  • Consume them in moderation and avoid excessive butter and garlic, as they can cause heartburn and digestive discomfort during pregnancy.
  • Before adding this shell food or any unfamiliar foods long term to your pregnancy diet, it’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your health and pregnancy status.

Is it safe to eat escargots?

Certainly, it is generally safe to eat escargots, under a few conditions.

They are highly regarded as a safe delicacy if cooked properly. Undercooked escargots can potentially harbor harmful bacteria detrimental to health, so thorough cooking is crucial.

But it is also important to note that if you’re allergic to shellfish, you may want to avoid them since they are a type of shellfish seafoods.

Moreover, factors such as the preparation process come into play. For example, properly cooking escargots can lower the risk associated with parasites or bacteria.

The idea is that properly preparing and boiling these delicacies can effectively ensure they are safe to consume.

On the nutritional side, escargots carry significant nutrients. According to the US Agriculture Department, a 3-ounce serving of cooked escargot contains;

  • Calories – 120
  • Proteins – 16 grams
  • Fat – 4.5grams
  • Carb – 2 grams
  • Sodium – 330 mg

Although these are generally enjoyed around the world, they might be an acquired taste for some, and others, possibly leading to discomfort.

Can you eat cooked snails when pregnant?

Can You Eat Escargot Or Snails When Pregnant?

Yes, you can eat cooked snails or escargot when pregnant as far as they are cooked very well to an internal heat of 165 degrees. Snails are a good source of proteins and iron, and they cut back heavily on the calories!

However, you must ensure to rinse them thoroughly with cool water to remove any dirt or debris and cook them completely to avoid food poisoning.

Despite this, it’s good to talk to your doctor if you need to eat snails but have some possible allergies. If you also notice some symptoms after eating it, reach out to your doctor immediately .

It’s also important to have your attention drawn to the fact that some cultures may have myths around eating snails during pregnancy contributing to certain health conditions in newborns, but there’s no scientific evidence to back these claims. So don’t fret!

What are the benefits of escargot?

While escargots or snails can offer certain nutritional advantages, it’s still important to be cautious about eating them if you’re pregnant.

Here are some potential benefits of escargot in the context of pregnancy:

  • Nutrient-dense: They are simply the power station for these nutrients – proteins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins like B12.
  • Low in fats: When you need a lower fat option, then these can be a great choice as they even make better options than beef or pork.
  • High in proteins: They are rich in proteins which are important for tissue repair, muscle maintenance and overall health.
  • Iron content: Snails are a great source of iron. Making it a part of your pregnancy diet can correct iron-deficiency anaemia and increase your blood stores.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: some snail species contain omega-3 fatty acids which are known for their cardiovascular benefits and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Collagen: These proteins are important for skin health and joint functions, and snails have them. Some cosmetic products use snail mucus extract for skincare purposes.

What are the side effects of eating snails during pregnancy?

Eating snails during pregnancy, particularly when properly cooked and prepared, does not usually cause adverse effects. However, certain precautions and potential side effects should be taken into account:

  • Risk of allergy: Pregnant women with a known seafood allergy should avoid eating snails. Allergic reactions can be severe and at the extreme, very dangerous to both the mother and unborn child.
  • Parasite Infections: If not properly cooked or prepared, they can carry parasites like the rat lungworm parasite. Eating these parasites can cause infections which can harm you and the baby.
  • Symptoms may range from headaches, fever, neck stiffness and neurological issues.
  • Digestive Discomfort: Snails are rich in protein and can be heavy on the digestive system. Eating a large quantity these, or rich sauces like garlic butter often served with escargot can lead to digestive discomfort including gas, bloating, or indigestion, which can be very uncomfortable during pregnancy.
  • High Cholesterol: Most snail preparations require that you cook them in butter and garlic, and that can be too much cholesterol which isn’t advisable during pregnancy.
  • Heartburn: Garlic, usually used in escargot preparation has been shown to contribute to heartburn and acid reflux in most pregnant women.

To minimize these possible side effects, pregnant women are advised to adhere to the safety measures in eating seafood. Proper cooking to an internal heat of 165 and eating small quantities are crucial to eliminate parasites and ensure safety.

Additionally do not hesitate to talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before adding snails to your pregnancy diet. They can provide guidance that tailors your specific needs and pregnancy circumstances.

Can snails cause miscarriage?

There is no evidence to suggest that consuming snails or escargots can cause miscarriage in pregnant women.

Miscarriages mostly occur due to factors like chromosomal abnormalities in the developing embryo or fertilized egg.

Lifestyle factors such as heavy intake of caffeine and alcohol can also contribute to the risks of miscarriage.

The consumption of snails, when properly cooked and prepared, does not usually contribute to these common causes.

However, as with any consumed food during pregnancy, ensuring thatthey are well cooked and prepared is important to avoid the potential risk of food-borne illnesses.

What are some escargot alternatives?

Just in case you’d want to err on the safer side of caution and opt for escargot alternatives, here are some options that are both delicious and offer similar nutritious benefits for pregnant women:

  • Lean meats – Opt for lean cuts of poultry such as chicken and turkey and well-cooked lean beef or pork. Be sure to cook thoroughly to prevent salmonella or listeriosis.
  • Fishes: Go for salmon, tuna and sardines, which are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Be mindful of mercury content and chose low-mercury fishes like the ones just mentioned, and cod.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of plant-based proteins, fiber and even iron. They are also low in fat and can be included  in plenty dishes.
  • Leafy greens: Veggies like spinach, kale, and collard greens are great source of vitamins and minerals like folate and iron.
  • Eggs: Go for pasteurized ones, and make sure they are fully cooked to avoid the risk of salmonella. Once you ensure these then you can safely enjoy and reap its benefits nutritionally.
  • Dairy products: Go for milk, yoghurt, and hard cheeses. Opt for pasteurized options to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds should be your go-to because they are highly nutritious.
  • Fortified foods: Breakfast cereals and grains are fortified with the good nutrients you and your baby needs.

Remember to maintain a well-balanced diet throughout your pregnancy to ensure you’re getting all the important nutrients.


Can a pregnant woman eat fufu?

Yes, it is safe to eat this Africa-Ghanaian dish during pregnancy but in moderation.

Can you eat mussels when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat mussels, lobsters, and even crab as long as you properly cook them.

Can a pregnant woman eat gari?

Gari is also an African food that originated from Ghana, specifically. It is safe to eat it too while pregnant but in moderate amounts.


The question of whether you can eat escargot (snails) while pregnant revolves around a complex set of considerations.

While it does offer some potential nutritional benefits, including protein, iron, and essential vitamins and minerals, it also carries certain risks, primarily related to parasitic infections and high-cholesterol content.

These risks can pose potential harm to both the mother and the developing fetus.

Pregnant women can eat escargot but are generally recommended that they exercise caution when it comes to consuming it, or any dishes made from snails.

Proper cooking and preparation are essential to eliminate parasites, and it’s advisable to source snails from reputable suppliers.

Talking to your doctor is also important to make better dietary choices that prioritizes your well-being together with your baby during this important stage of life.


Britannica (Escargot | Description, Snail Types, Dangers, & Serving), WebMd (Snails- Are There Health Benefits?)

Georgina Austin, CNM

Georgina Austin, CNM

Hello! I'm Gina, a certified midwife, a writer, an experienced one of course, and a proud mother of twins, Noel and Noelle. With eleven years of maternity support experience and my own journey through motherhood, I offer reliable information on women's health here on this blog.

In addition to writing about pregnancy and breastfeeding, I cover topics like sexual health, birth control, egg donation, sibling relationships, and managing life with multiple children. So, whatever issue you're facing as a woman, I've got you covered!