Is It Safe to Eat Fish During Pregnancy?

Is It Safe to Eat Fish During Pregnancy?

Are you curious about whether it is safe to eat sushi while expecting? Or the right type and amount of seafood that you should be consuming during your pregnancy?

This article might give you some answers but please consult your doctor to prevent any kind of unwanted harm during your pregnancy.

First of all, the answer to the first question is a “YES” as long as the fish in the sushi you are eating is cooked. So, you do not need to abandon your love of sushi just because your little one is about to arrive, you only need to cautiously choose the type you are going to order.

Research shows that eating fish during pregnancy is beneficial for the neurodevelopment of the fetus due to its high levels of protein, unsaturated fat, and Omega-3 oils. Omega-3 plays a very important role in healthy fetal development and fish oil is found to have boosting effects on babies’ brain development. Fish consumption is also linked to a decreased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.

Thanks to the high level of protein, vitamins, minerals and low calories; seafood and fish that have low mercury levels are ideal for pregnant women’s regular diet. EPA, CDC and FDA recommend for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish in a week.

Some of the fish types that contain low levels of methylmercury and are found to be safe options for you:

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Cod
  • Crab
  • Clawfish
  • Haddock
  • Herring
  • Lobster (Spiny)
  • Mackerel (Atlantic, Pacific, and South Atlantic)
  • Oysters
  • Perch
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shad
  • Shrimp
  • Skate
  • Snapper
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna* (Chunk light)
  • Weakfish

*Keep in mind that "tuna" does not count as an oily fish. You may consider limiting your tuna consumption since it has higher levels of mercury in it compared to some other types of fish. Additionally, eating too much of oily fish might be harmful for your baby due to its content of pollutants.

Some of the fish types containing moderate levels of methylmercury:

  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Lobster (Northern American)
  • Mackerel (Gulf of Mexico)
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Tuna (Fresh or White Albacore)

Some of the fish types that contain high levels of methylmercury that you should avoid eating:

  • Any kind of raw fish*
  • Mackerel-king
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish

*Because of harmful viruses, toxins and bacteria in them, raw shellfish is a type of seafood that you should stay away from.  

Consuming fish that have high heavy metal levels (such as mercury) is shown to have negative impacts on the babies’ nervous system. Therefore, while choosing what type of fish to eat, you should consider eating from the ones with low mercury levels.

In conclusion, eating safe seafood during pregnancy has developmental and nutritional benefits for your fetus thanks to the high concentration of minerals, vitamins and Omega-3 oils. However, avoiding eating any type of raw fish doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop eating sushi. As long as the fish in your sushi is cooked, you can enjoy!


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