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The Truth About Eating Fish During Pregnancy!

Updated on October 30, 2016

Avoiding seafood high in mercury is the key to staying safe and healthy while eating seafood during pregnancy. According to, The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that you should eat 8-12 ounces a week of a variety of seafood that’s low in methylmercury while you’re pregnant or nursing a baby. Fish and seafood provide a great source of protein, iron, and zinc which are needed for the baby’s growth and development. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a fatty acid, found in many types of fish, that helps promote brain development. Although seafood is a great way to get nutrients eating fish high is mercury can affect the baby’s brain growth, cognitive skills, language, motor skills, and vision.

Fish and Seafood Safe to eat during pregnancy:

  • Salmon

  • Trout

  • Anchovies

  • Herring

  • Sardines

  • Shad

  • Shrimp (cooked until flesh is pearly and opaque)

  • Lobster (cook until flesh is pearly and opaque)

  • Pollock

  • Tilapia

  • Cod

  • Catfish

  • Canned Light Tuna

  • Atlantic and Pacific Mackerel

  • Clams (cook until shells open)

  • Mussels (cook until shell opens)

  • Oysters (cook until shell opens)

  • Canned or Shelf Safe Smoked Seadfood (usually considered safe)

Fish and Seafood to Avoid during pregnancy:

  • Shark

  • Swordfish

  • King Mackerel

  • Tilefish

  • Striped Bass

  • Bluefish

  • Chilean Sea Bass

  • Golden Snapper

  • Marlin

  • Trevally Jack

  • Spanish Mackerel from the Golf of Mexico

  • Walleye from The Great Lakes

  • Smoked Seafood labeled Lox, Nova Style, Kippered, or Jerky (usually found in deli section)

  • Uncooked Seafood

  • Sushi

When eating seafood during pregnancy it is crucial to pay attention to what you are eating and where the seafood is coming from. You should always pay attention to what’s going on in the environment. If you are unsure about whether a specific fish caught from waters in your area you should call your local health department

If you are still uneasy about eating seafood during pregnancy or you just don’t like seafood there are other ways to get the nutrients you and your baby need.

You can get omega-3 fatty acids from:

  • Flaxseed

  • Canola Oil

  • Walnuts

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • Soybeans

  • Yogurt

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Vitamin Supplements (it has not been determined whether supplements can promote brain development)

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