Is Eating Seafood During Pregnancy Healthy?

by Nikolai Nikitenko September 06, 2017

Is Eating Seafood During Pregnancy Healthy?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Fish?

While eating seafood can be healthy, it can often contain mercury. Mercury is a poisonous metal, and eating large amounts of seafood on a regular basis can cause serious birth defects, including serious problems with the nervous system. Due to the food chain, the levels of the substance in fish depends upon the fish that you're eating. 

There are also other toxic metals that can be found in fish, such as cadmium and lead. These metals can also cause problems with the development of the brain. In addition, some fish contain other toxic substances, such as PCBs, dioxin, and dibutylin. Dioxin remains in the body for an exceptionally long period of time, and it has been linked to birth defects.

Why Is Eating Fish During Pregnancy A Good Idea?


Many types of fish contain omega-3, and these fatty acids can help to ensure healthy development of the baby. Specifically, omega-3 is essential for health of the nervous system and brain. In addition, there also is iron, minerals, and vitamins contained in fish that help support the pregnancy. There also are high levels of protein in fish, and this helps to improve the development of the baby. Due to the health benefits of fish, it's essential to eat some fish while pregnant.

What Types Of Fish Are Most Nutritious?


If you will be eating fish during pregnancy, it's important to pick kinds that are especially nutritious. Salmon is generally regarded as one of the richest sources of omega-3s. However, cod also contains high levels of this fatty acid. As if that's not enough, the iron that is contained in fish is a different form of iron than what is found in other meats. This iron is referred to as heme iron, and it is much easier for the body to absorb.

Alaskan pollock is also quite nutritious for pregnant women. Alaskan pollock contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and it contains high levels of minerals, vitamins, and protein. In addition, alaskan pollock is low in cholesterol and unhealthy fats.

Wait, there are even more reasons why eating fish while pregnant is a good idea. Fish also contains a significant level of vitamin D. This can help to promote bone health. Seafood also contains calcium, and this is also important for bone health. These materials are essential for the bone development of the baby.

What Seafood Can A Pregnant Woman Eat?


Fish To Avoid While Pregnant:


King mackerel, shark, tilefish from the Gulf Of Mexico, and swordfish are considered to be unsafe in any amount. The reason why these are fish to avoid while pregnant is the fact that the amounts of toxic metals in these fish are higher than all other types of fish. Bigeye Tuna is also considered to be unsafe, but this is a different type of tuna than albacore tuna or yellowfin tuna. Marlin and orange roughy are considered unsafe as well.

Safer Forms Of Fish:


If you are wondering what seafood can a pregnant woman eat, these are some of the best (ideal):

  • Anchovy
  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Atlantic Croaker
  • Butterfish
  • Black Sea Bass
  • Clam
  • Catfish
  • Crawfish
  • Cod
  • Hake
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Sardines
  • Pickerel
  • Plaice
  • Pollock
  • Perch
  • Pacific Chub Mackerel
  • Mullet
  • Oyster
  • Herring
  • Lobster: Spiny And American
  • Whiting
  • Whitefish
  • Freshwater Trout
  • Squid
  • Sole
  • Skate
  • Smelt
  • Shad
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp


Here are some kinds of fish that are considered okay to consume in moderate amounts once per week (limited consumption):

  • Monkfish
  • Bluefish
  • Buffalofish
  • Rockfish
  • Carp
  • Sablefish
  • Sheepshead
  • Chilean Sea Bass/Patagonian Toothfish
  • Snapper
  • Grouper
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Halibut
  • Striped Bass
  • Mahi Mahi/Dolphinfish
  • Tilefish From The Atlantic Ocean
  • Seatrout/Weakfish
  • White Croaker/Pacific Croaker

Can Pregnant Women Eat Tuna?



Both albacore tuna and yellowfin tuna are fine to consume during pregnancy. So, for those of you asking themselves, "Can pregnant women eat tuna?", the answer is yes for many brands of canned tuna and fillets of the fish. However, it is best to limit consumption to once per week. 

However, it's important to watch out. Some brands of tuna may be labeled as ahi tuna. While ahi tuna could be yellowfin tuna, it also could be the unsafe bigeye tuna. Also, it is best to stay away from farm raised tuna. 

Can Pregnant Women Eat Crab?


Crab is generally considered to be okay during pregnancy. However, the question of, "Can pregnant women eat crab?" isn't always as straightforward as it sounds. If crab is consumed in modest amounts, it is safe. However, large amounts of crab may be unsafe. 

Can Pregnant Women Eat Salmon?


Not only can pregnant women eat salmon, but salmon is often considered the most beneficial type of fish to eat during pregnancy. It contains an exceptionally high level of nutrients and relatively low levels of toxic metals. There may be even more reasons why salmon is healthy during pregnancy. In fact, researchers are still studying the health benefits of salmon.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Tilapia?


Not only can pregnant women eat tilapia, but tilapia contains high levels of protein and other materials necessary to promote bone and muscle development for your baby. In addition, it is fairly low in fat.

What About Eating Fish Locally?


If you are planning to eat locally caught fish, it's essential to keep up to date on local fish advisories. In some cases, certain rivers, lakes, and streams may be polluted with hazardous contaminants. Sometimes, events that create pollution can occur suddenly. 

What Is The Difference Between Farm Raised Fish And Wild Caught Fish?


Farm raised fish can contain much higher levels of toxins than wild caught fish. In fact, dioxin levels in farm raised salmon tend to be 11 times higher than in wild caught salmon. High levels of dibutylin are also commonly seen, and this chemical is known to weaken the immune system. This could potentially endanger your baby. There also are high levels of antibiotics and pesticides in farm raised fish. Farm raised salmon also have 10 times the amount of pollutants that are known to cause cancer.

In addition, farm raised fish often doesn't have as high of a concentration of vital nutrients. Therefore, the risks of eating farm raised fish often outweigh the benefits. This is especially likely to be true if the farm raised fish come from a country with less environmental regulations than the US, such as China. If you are eating out, it's a good idea to ask your server if the fish is farm raised or wild caught.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Fish Raw Or Undercooked?

It is not safe to consume undercooked fish while pregnant. In addition, undercooked fish could cause food poisoning. This could take nutrients away from your baby. Pregnancy also increases your vulnerability to food poisoning.

Raw shellfish can be especially dangerous. Sometimes, raw shellfish can contain a bacterium that causes a disease referred to as vibriosis. This disease is extremely hazardous to pregnant women. Oysters are particularly likely to carry bacteria that cause a serious form of this illness.

Wait, there is another reason why consuming undercooked or raw fish is dangerous during pregnancy. Raw fish could potentially contain tapeworms and other parasites. These parasites could take away nutrients from you and your baby. 

How Much Fish Should Pregnant Women Consume?



How Much Of The Fish In The Ideal Category Can Be Consumed?


Fish that have especially low levels of toxic metals can be consumed in amounts of 8 to 12 ounces per week. This is two to three servings per week.

How Much Of The Fish In The Limited Consumption Category Can Be Consumed?


These fish should be consumed in amounts of no more than one four ounce serving each week. If you are eating locally caught fish and are unaware of local health advisories regarding fish from the body of water where the fish was found, limit consumption to six ounces per week or less. 

Why You Should Buy Seafood From Us:


We offer many kinds of fish, including the kinds of fish that are recommended for pregnant women. So, come to the shop and pick out some shellfish or fish fillets for you and your baby.




Nikolai Nikitenko
Nikolai Nikitenko

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