Eating Fish During Pregnancy – What's Safe & Unsafe?

Fish is one of the best foods to eat during pregnancy. It contains a high amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in building your baby’s eyes, brain, and nervous system. Still, there is much confusion about whether it is safe and beneficial to consume fish during pregnancy.

Therefore, if you’re pregnant, you must know about the types of fish you can eat and the types you should avoid while pregnant. This blog post discusses the benefits of eating fish, what’s safe to consume and what’s not, some best ways to include fish in your pregnancy diet, and more. Let’s get started!

Is It Safe to Eat Fish While Pregnant?

While most of the commonly eaten fish are safe to consume in pregnancy, the problem is with fish types having high mercury levels. Even eating the right kinds of fish is recommended for you and your child’s health. According to studies, pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat between 8 and 12 ounces of low-mercury fish every week.

Fish You Can Eat During Pregnancy

The following fish are considered good to eat during pregnancy.

  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Pacific mackerel
  • Freshwater trout

Some other safe choices include:

  • Pollock
  • Shrimp
  • Cod
  • Tilapia
  • Canned light tuna
  • Catfish

You can safely eat one serving (approximately 4 ounces) a week.

Fish You Should Avoid When Pregnant

There are seven types of fish that you should altogether avoid during pregnancy:

  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Orange roughy
  • Marlin

Needless to say that they contain the highest levels of mercury.

Benefits of Eating Fish During Pregnancy

Fish offers truly massive health benefits for both moms-to-be and their developing babies, including but not limited to:

#Supports Fetal Growth

Fish is a first-class source of lean protein that helps create all baby cells, from muscle and skin to hair and bones.

#Is Good for Baby’s Brain

Fattier varieties of fish, like salmon, are high in DHA – An Omega-3 fatty acid that helps boost the baby’s brain health. Especially during the third trimester, it’s crucial to consume fatty fish because your baby’s brain growth is fast and furious during this period.

#Boosts Your Memory

An adequate supply of Omega-3 fatty acid may improve your memory, especially when you’re suffering from ‘pregnancy brain’ – the feeling of forgetfulness.

#Improves Your Mood

The adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduces your risk of depression during and after pregnancy.

#Supports Your Heart

Omega-3 fatty acids presented in fish lower your risk of cardiac diseases by reducing triglyceride levels and preventing blood clotting and blood vessel inflammation. If you have pre-existing hypertension, fish also lowers blood pressure levels.

#May Reduce Risk of Preterm Birth

Scientists have observed that the high intake of fish lowers the risk of preterm birth.

Some Best Ways to Include Fish In Your Diet

Here are a few ways to cook fish well:

  • Grilled Fish: Grilling fish keeps all the nutrients intact and helps avoid overcooking the fish. Brush the grill plate with little oil and place the marinated fish over it. Flip it on both sides until the color turns brown. Consume it with sautéed veggies!
  • Steamed Fish: Steaming is another great way to preserve the nutrients of the fish. Brush the fish with mild spices and marinade before placing it in the steamer basket. This way, the fish would be cooked well!
  • Poached Fish: This method helps keep the fish moist. Pour water or vegetable/chicken stock in a pan or vessel, and put the fish pieces. Once you see bubbles, remove the fish from the pan, and eat it with rice or bread.

Precautions to Be Taken When Having Fish During Pregnancy

Even when you are eating pregnancy-safe fish, consider these precautions:

  • Avoid large, predatory fish like shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish.
  • Skip undercooked fish and shellfish, including sushi, oysters, and sashimi.
  • Avoid fish from local waters. Instead, eat commercially caught fish.
  • Avoid reusing marinades.
  • Buy only fresh and properly refrigerated fish.

Are There Alternatives for Fish to Get Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

If you are amongst the pregnant women who do not consume fish for religious reasons, you can eat the following food items to get omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Walnuts
  • Flax Seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Olive oil
  • Fortified yogurt, milk, and eggs
  • Prenatal vitamins

If you want to know aboutwhat foods you must avoid during pregnancy“, this article will help you understand better.

Food, Health & Fitness