Can I Eat Fish when Pregnant?
We all know the benefits of eating fish, but should you continue to eat fish when pregnant?
Yes! Fish contains essential nutrients that are important to the developing foetal brain. The issue is with certain types of fish that you must avoid. Here is what you need to know.
Do you know that certain types of fish can also be contaminated with brain-damaging mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl? This can make things get a little confusing when deciding to eat fish when pregnant.
FDA Guidelines for Eating Fish during Pregnancy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advise pregnant women to eat more low-mercury fish.
The FDA recommends that pregnant women consume more fish because fish contains vital nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, protein, and minerals such as iron.
How Much Fish Should I Eat when Pregnant?
The FDA recommends eating 8 to 12 ounces of fish low in mercury per week. This is about 2 – 3 servings of fish per week.
Fish is High in Nutrients
Eating fish low in mercury provides important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health.
Omega-3 fatty acids promote foetal brain and nervous system development and can also contribute to a healthy pregnancy by lowering the risk of preeclampsia.
So the question really comes down to knowing which fish you can eat when pregnant and which fish you must avoid due to high mercury levels.
Recommended Fish When Pregnant
- Farmed Rainbow Trout
- Farmed Arctic Char
- Wild-caught Pacific Sardines
- Wild-caught Alaska Salmon
- Farmed Oysters
- Farmed Mussels
- Tuna (canned-light)
Fish to AVOID when Pregnant
- Atlantic Salmon
- Chilean Sea Bass
- Orange Roughy
- King Mackerel
- Tile fish (from Gulf of Mexico)
Also, when pregnant, you should avoid eating raw fish as they are more susceptible to food-borne illnesses.
Can I Eat Fish from a local River?
The important issue here comes down to water quality. So, if you plan on eating fish from your local stream, river, waterway, or lake; then it is vital you check with your local advisories for those bodies of water to see if the water is contaminated or not.
Need more help? Ask your health care professional for advice or book in an appointment with a Dietitian who specialises in prenatal nutrition.