The Fishy Truth During Pregnancy

You’re pregnant and the big question is – should you eat fish or not?

The answer is: YES!

Your doctor probably made you nervous when you first told him/her that you were pregnant and they said to limit your fish consumption because of the mercury content.  Some pregnant women take this to the next step and decide to fully avoid it since they are nervous.  However, fish is extraordinarily healthy for you and your baby so it’s important to include it in your diet but in the right quantities and type.

What’s the Deal with Mercury

  • Mercury can pass from your own blood into your baby’s blood causing damage to his or her nervous system which can lead to developmental delays and brain damage.
  • Mercury is found in greatest quantities in large, ocean fish such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark.  These fish should be avoided by women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.
  • The lowest mercury fish are: shrimp, canned light tuna (limit white albacore to 6 oz per week), salmon, sardines, pollock, catfish, and tilapia.

What about Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

  • Fish is often touted for it’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  Which everyone knows is good for heart health.
  • DHA, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid, has been shown to be beneficial for your baby’s brain development.  It also contributes to healthy eye development.
  • Pregnant women should aim for 200-300 mg of DHA.  Keep in mind ALA (found in flax, walnuts, and other foods) is not converted to DHA well (only about 10%).
  • Here are some good sources of DHA: salmon (3 oz = 740 mg DHA); Blue Crab (3 oz = 196 mg); Tuna, light, canned (3 oz = 190 mg); Catfish (3 oz = 116 mg); Eggland’s Best Eggs (1 = 50 mg); Silk Soymilk Plus Omega-3 DHA (32 mg)

Bottom Line

  • According to the FDA pregnant women can have up to 12 oz of fish each week.
  • Make sure you consume a variety of fish, so you limit your exposure to any toxins.
  • Avoid all the high mercury containing fish as listed above.
  • Consume fish high in DHA Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Make sure your fish is fully cooked to prevent any foodborne illness.
  • Don’t be scared of fish – it’s incredibly healthy for you and your baby!

2 Responses

  1. I loved fish during both my pregnancies!

  2. […] Fish recommendations remain the same from pregnancy […]

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