Is It Safe to Eat Fish During Pregnancy?

Sometimes. Actually, both the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recommend that pregnant or nursing women eat 8 to12 ounces of fish each week. (Three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.)

How to Choose Safe Fish and Seafood for Pregnant Woman

That’s since seafood is an outstanding source of nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, all which contribute to your baby’s healthy advancement.

The technique is to choose fish that are less most likely to contain risky levels of pollutants, like mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides. These impurities have actually been linked to developmental delays in children who were exposed to them before or quickly after birth when the brain is developing rapidly.

Here’s a list of fish that have the tendency to be rich in omega-3’s and low in impurities: anchovy, herring, lake whitefish (Great Lakes), mackerel (Atlantic, jack, chub), rainbow trout (farm raised), salmon (wild or farm raised), sardine, and shad (American).

To help you sort out which fish are safe to eat, I’ve established a seafood safety wallet card and an app called Fish4Health. It includes state-specific fish usage suggestions.

Lastly, the majority of professionals believe it’s best to avoid raw fish and shellfish during pregnancy, since they may consist of bacteria that can make you ill.

Fish to Avoid During Pregnancy

Though the benefits of fish are lots of, you need to still prevent a couple of types during pregnancy. Some– especially big, ocean-faring, predator-types– consist of high levels of mercury, a clearly baby-unfriendly toxic substance. Others– particularly those that live in contaminated lakes and rivers– can be packed with pcbs, a chemical you definitely don’t wish to feed a fetus or an infant.

To play it safe, the latest fda and epa recommendations suggest preventing or restricting the following fish while you’re pregnant and nursing:

It’s best to prevent these seven types of fish, which are all greater in mercury: tilefish from the gulf of mexico, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, marlin and king mackerel.

Fish Eating Limits During Pregnancy

The following fish are considered “Good to eat,” which means you can safely eat one serving per week (that’s around 4 ounces): bluefish, buffalofish, carp, chilean sea bass, grouper, halibut, mahi mahi, monkfish, rockfish, sablefish, sheepshead, snapper, spanish mackerel, striped bass (ocean), tilefish from the atlantic ocean, albacore white tuna (canned, fresh or frozen), yellowfin tuna, weakfish/seatrout and white croaker/pacific croaker. See the complete list here.

Workout extra caution if you’re preparing to eat recreationally-caught fish: check regional state advisories for the waters where the fish was caught. If no info is readily available, stay with one serving of these fish each week, with skin and excess fat gotten rid of.

Safe Fish During Pregnancy

Despite the long list of fish to restrict during pregnancy, the vast majority of fish you’ll find in the shop and at restaurants are thought about safe to eat when you’re anticipating at two to three servings (that’s 8 to 12 ounces) per week. These include wild salmon, shrimp, catfish, tilapia, sole, go to pieces, haddock, halibut, ocean perch, pollock, cod, canned light tuna, crab, crawfish, lobster, hake, clams, black sea bass, anchovies and trout.

Heard conflicting guidance on salmon, too? Salmon’s absolutely one of nature’s best providers of dha. But to ensure you’re not also feasting on the high levels of pcbs frequently found in farmed salmon, choose wild (which likewise consists of more of those healthy omega-3 fats) or natural farmed salmon.

How to Properly Prepare Fish

By now you’ve most likely heard that you should avoid sushi during pregnancy– and the very same opts for any other raw (oysters, ceviche, smoked salmon) or undercooked fish, considering that they can consist of bacteria and parasites (like listeria) that threaten for your establishing baby.

Here are a few tips to appropriately prepare fish and help reduce your direct exposure to any possible pollutants:.

  • Purchase just fresh, correctly cooled seafood. Store it in the refrigerator in a sealed container if you’re not cooking it right away.
  • Use separate cutting boards for meats (consisting of fish) and fruits/veggies.
  • Do not recycle marinades.
  • Cook seafood (all types, including shucked clams, oysters, shrimp, lobster and scallops) up until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 ° f; if a thermometer isn’t really offered, you’ll know it’s done when the flesh is opaque (milky white); fish fillets need to flake easily with a fork.
  • Clams, mussels and oysters are prepared when their shells open; get rid of any that do not.

The Benefits of Fish for Pregnant Woman and Her Baby

The good news (at least for moms who enjoy seafood) is that fish really does provide huge benefits for both pregnant women and their developing infants. Fish:

  • Supports fetal growth. Fish is a top-notch source of lean protein, a vital amino acid that helps develop all of baby’s cells — from skin and muscle to hair and bones.
  • Benefits baby’s brain. What’s more, fish (specifically the fattier ranges, like salmon) is a source of the omega-3 fatty acid dha, which has been revealed to enhance baby brain power. It’s more crucial than ever in the 3rd trimester, when your baby’s brain development is fast and furious.
  • Improves your memory. Mentioning increased brain power, getting adequate omega-3s might likewise enhance your memory– especially helpful when you’re battling a case of pregnancy brain.
  • Improves your mood: an appropriate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and particularly dha has actually been shown to reduce your risk of anxiety during pregnancy along with postpartum anxiety.
  • Supports your heart: a diet abundant in fish may decrease your risk of cardiac disease by minimizing blood clotting and levels of triglycerides (blood fat) as well as lowering blood pressure if you have preexisting hypertension.
  • Might lower risk of preterm birth. Researchers have observed that rates of preterm birth are lower in areas with a high fish consumption– and some studies have actually certainly linked appropriate omega 3 consumption (whether through fish or supplements) to a lower risk of preterm birth.

Last Update - October 20, 2017

References

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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