What Fish Is Best To Eat While Pregnant? You Won’t Believe What The Experts Say!

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Pregnancy is a crucial time for women to monitor their food intake and ensure that they are getting all the essential nutrients. Fish, in particular, is often recommended as part of a healthy pregnancy diet due to its high protein content, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important vitamins and minerals.

But which fish is best to eat while pregnant? The answer may surprise you. Rather than focusing on specific species, experts now recommend choosing fish based on its mercury levels.

“The most important thing for pregnant women when it comes to eating fish is selecting low-mercury options, ” says Dr. Ashley Roman, staff physician at NYU Langone Health. “High levels of mercury can be harmful to both mom and baby. “

Mercury is a toxic substance found within certain types of seafood that can lead to developmental issues in babies if consumed in large amounts during pregnancy. Some of the top offenders include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

So what fish should you opt for instead? Stay tuned!

Benefits of Eating Fish During Pregnancy

Eating fish during pregnancy is highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists as it provides numerous benefits for both the mother and the developing baby. However, not all types of fish are safe to consume while pregnant due to their high levels of mercury which can cause harm to fetal development.

The best type of fish to eat while pregnant are those that are low in mercury such as salmon, herring, trout, and sardines. These types contain omega-3 fatty acids that aid in brain and eye development for the fetus while also reducing the risk of preterm labor and postpartum depression in mothers.

In addition, consuming fish during pregnancy has been linked to improved cognitive function and IQ scores for children later in life. It also reduces the risk of childhood obesity as well as asthma and eczema.

“Fish consumption during pregnancy promotes healthy growth and development of infants, ” said Dr. Laura Riley, Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine – NewYork Presbyterian Hospital.

Furthermore, adding fish into a balanced diet may lower the risk of preeclampsia among expecting mothers. Preeclampsia is a condition marked by high blood pressure which can damage vital organs like the liver and kidneys if left untreated.

To conclude, incorporating low-mercury containing fish into one’s diet during pregnancy is beneficial for both the mother’s health and fetal development. Always be sure to avoid high-mercury containing seafood options like shark or swordfish when looking to add more seafood portions onto your plate!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain and Eye Development

During pregnancy, it is essential to consume foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are necessary for the development of the baby’s brain and eyesight.

Fish has long been known as an excellent source of Omega-3s; however, certain species should be avoided due to high mercury concentrations. Pregnant women should stick with fish that contain low levels of mercury but are still packed with healthy fats.

“The best types of fish to eat while pregnant include salmon, sardines, trout, haddock, pollock, anchovies, ” said Maria Azzarelli, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Salmon stands out from this list as a favorite option among expecting mothers. It contains significant amounts of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), which plays a critical role in maintaining cell membranes throughout the body, including those in the brain and retina.

Eating two servings per week of low mercury-containing seafood can help mom meet her nutritional needs and support vital fetal growth and development.

In conclusion, choosing a safe fish during pregnancy is crucial for both mother and baby’s health. Of all the options available, salmon seems like one delicious win-win!

Protein for Fetal Growth and Development

Pregnancy is a critical phase in the life of every woman, and it requires special attention to nutrition. Protein is one of the most crucial nutrients required during pregnancy as it helps in fetal growth and development. According to health experts, pregnant women should consume at least 70-100 grams of protein daily.

Fish is an excellent source of protein that can support healthy fetal growth and help meet nutritional needs during pregnancy. However, not all fish are safe enough for pregnant women due to high mercury levels found in some species.

“Choosing the right type of fish while pregnant is essential for both mother and child’s well-being. “

The best fish for consumption during pregnancy includes salmon, cod, haddock, tilapia, shrimp, clams, catfish, trout, sardines and anchovies. These types contain low mercury levels making them suitable for prenatal consumption without risking harm or damage neither to mom nor baby.

In conclusion, increasing protein intake through consuming fish varieties with low mercury content—such as those suggested above—is essential for a healthy and successful pregnancy outcome with serve no harm done to mothers and their unborn children.

Fish to Avoid During Pregnancy

Eating fish is an excellent way to get vital nutrients during pregnancy. However, some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury and other pollutants that can harm the developing fetus.

Here are some species of fish you should avoid while pregnant:

  • Swordfish: This large predatory fish contains high levels of mercury.
  • Shark: Shark meat has a higher content of toxins and mercury than most other seafood.
  • King Mackerel: This oily fish accumulates a lot of mercury in its tissue over time, which makes it harmful for consumption during pregnancy.
  • Tuna: Certain types of tuna like bigeye, blackfin, and bluefin have higher concentrations of mercury which can lead to impaired brain development in infants.
“Mercury passes through the placenta from mother to baby’s bloodstream, ” says Dr Laura Riley, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It interferes with fetal brain development. ”

In addition to the aforementioned species, it’s best to steer clear of raw sushi or uncooked shellfish since they contain bacteria or viruses that increase the risk of food poisoning during pregnancy although cooked options are safe. You don’t need to completely cut out all kinds of fish from your diet when you’re expecting; instead choose low-mercury varieties such as salmon, sardines, trout, herring or anchovies twice a week.

If you’re unsure about any particular kind or source just do what a wise woman would – ask your healthcare professional first before adding more variety into your meals!

High-Mercury Fish

Pregnancy is a significant stage in every woman’s life, and it’s crucial that they get adequate nutrients to ensure the healthy growth and development of their baby. One source of nutrition can come from fish, which is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B12. However, women should be cautious about consuming fish high in mercury as it could harm the developing nervous system of their fetus.

The following are some types of fish with high levels of mercury:

  • Swordfish
  • Tuna (bigeye)
  • Marlin
  • Mackerel (King)
  • Shark
  • Grouper

To reduce your exposure to mercury, consider eating low-mercury fish like salmon or sardines instead. It is recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that pregnant women consume no more than two to three servings (8-12 ounces) per week of low-mercury seafood.

“It’s important for pregnant women not only to eat enough nutrient-rich foods but also avoid potentially dangerous foods such as high-mercury fish. “

In conclusion, while there are several benefits associated with eating fish during pregnancy – including healthier brain function and vision for babies later on – consuming high levels of mercury through certain types of fish may negatively impact proper fetal development.

Raw or Undercooked Fish

When it comes to consuming fish during pregnancy, the consumption of raw or undercooked fish is a big NO-NO. This is because such fish may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can potentially cause foodborne illness in pregnant women.

Pregnant women should avoid sushi, sashimi, ceviche, carpaccio and other types of raw or lightly cooked fish preparations as they increase their risk of contracting food poisoning caused by bacteria such as Listeria, Vibrio, Salmonella, and E. coli.

The safest option for pregnant women would be to consume fully cooked fish such as baked, grilled or steamed varieties which ensure that any contaminants are destroyed. Additionally, choosing fishes with low levels of mercury content can help provide essential nutrients without putting both mother and child at risk.

“Consuming contaminated seafood while pregnant may have serious consequences on fetal growth and development. “

Fishes like salmon, trout, haddock, codfish among others are high in omega-3 fatty acids required for the proper growth and development of an unborn baby’s brain. It is best to stay informed of all relevant advisories when purchasing fish during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider prior to making any dietary changes, especially if you suffer from pre-existing medical conditions.

Safe Fish to Eat During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a crucial period for every woman, and it’s essential to watch what you eat. When considering the best fish to consume during pregnancy, safety should be your top priority.

The following are some safe fish that pregnant women can eat without worrying about possible harm:

  • Catfish – This type of fish has low mercury levels and high protein content, making it an excellent choice for expectant mothers.
  • Salmon – This oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in fetal brain development.
  • Tilapia – It is another good option; tilapia usually comes from farm-raised fish, so they have very minimal contaminants compared to others found in the wild. Additionally, tilapia is loaded with vitamins B and D as well as minerals like iron and potassium.
  • Sardines – Rich in nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and anti-inflammatory omega-3s makes them one healthy seafood options available out there.
“It would help if you avoided consuming shark, swordfish or king mackerel since these fishes contain higher-than-average amounts of mercury. ”

If you’re not sure whether a particular kind of has any potential risk due to its mercury level or contaminations (such as PCBs), please consult your healthcare provider before eating it while pregnant

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables combined with lean proteins will keep both mother & baby healthy throughout the entire gestational journey. With this controlled diet plan also including diversified kinds of seaweed products such as nori(Highest iodine availability), kombu etc, pregnant mommy-to-be, can safely indulge her craving for seafood.


When it comes to choosing the best fish to eat while pregnant, salmon is often at the top of the list. Not only is it a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but it also has low levels of mercury compared to other types of fish.

Omega-3s are essential for fetal brain development and can help lower the risk of premature birth, postpartum depression, and baby’s allergies. That being said, you should aim for two servings (8-12 ounces) per week to get all these benefits without consuming too much mercury.

Fresh wild-caught salmon is considered the healthiest option as farmed varieties may contain more pollutants. You can easily cook salmon by baking or grilling it with citrus fruits like lemon or lime – just ensure that it gets cooked thoroughly before eating.

“The American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish as they contain high levels of methylmercury which could damage your baby’s nervous system. “

If you don’t like seafood or find yourself allergic to salmon specifically, there are plenty of other options rich in Omega 3s suitable for pregnancy such as sardines, trout, anchovies. Just be sure to consult with your doctor or obstetrician first if you have any concerns about incorporating this into your diet!


When it comes to pregnancy, every mother wants the best for their child. Nutrition plays a crucial role in fetal growth and development. A balanced diet during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and preterm labor. Therefore, choosing the right fish that is both safe and beneficial for pregnancy becomes essential.

While many types of fish are indeed good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, they also run the risk of containing high levels of mercury. One type that stands out from the rest is Anchovy. This small oily fish is an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Anchovies contain omega-3s primarily in the form of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which is vital for brain health and vision development in unborn infants. The American Pregnancy Association recommends consuming at least 200 mg of DHA daily during pregnancy.

“According to studies by Fisheries Environmental Science Department, eating no more than two servings per week or up to six ounces total may be wise. “

In addition, anchovies offer other nutritional benefits like calcium needed for strong bones and teeth; iron necessary for red blood cell formation; and vitamin B12 critical to nerve function. These nutrients aid in reducing several risks associated with pregnancy while enhancing maternal health.

Therefore, including anchovies into your regular meal plan can prove beneficial with its impressive nutrient profile that promotes overall health throughout pregnancy.


Cod is a type of fish that is often recommended to pregnant women due to its high nutritional value and low levels of mercury. It is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and selenium.

One serving of cod (100g) contains around 20 grams of protein which helps in the growth and development of the fetus. Omega-3 fatty acids present in the fish help in brain and vision development.

Furthermore, Cod also has low levels of mercury making it safe for consumption during pregnancy. High levels of mercury can negatively affect fetal brain development leading to issues such as learning disabilities and developmental delays.

To ensure safety while consuming cod, make sure it is fully cooked before consumption.

“It is important to consume a variety of seafood while pregnant to get all necessary nutrients. “
Overall, cod is considered one of the best types of fish to eat during pregnancy due to its high nutrient content and low levels of contaminants like mercury. Other fish options that are safe include salmon, tilapia, sardines and trout among others. Pregnant women should avoid high-risk species like shark, swordfish or king mackerel that have high levels of mercury.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best types of fish to eat during pregnancy?

Salmon, sardines, trout, and herring are great options for pregnant women. These fish are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for fetal brain development. Other safe options include shrimp, catfish, tilapia, and cod. It’s important to choose fish that are cooked thoroughly to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

What types of fish should be avoided during pregnancy?

Pregnant women should avoid high-mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. These fish can accumulate high levels of mercury, which can harm the developing nervous system of the fetus. Tuna should also be limited to 6 ounces per week due to its higher mercury content. Additionally, raw or undercooked fish, such as sushi, should be avoided to prevent foodborne illnesses.

How much fish should pregnant women consume each week?

Pregnant women should aim to consume 2-3 servings (8-12 ounces) of low-mercury fish per week. This can include two 6-ounce servings of canned light tuna, which is lower in mercury than other types of tuna. However, it’s important to not exceed this amount as too much mercury can be harmful to the developing fetus.

What are the benefits of eating fish during pregnancy?

Eating fish during pregnancy can provide numerous benefits for both the mother and fetus. Fish is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, which are important for fetal brain and eye development. It can also reduce the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Additionally, consuming fish during pregnancy has been linked to improved cognitive development in children.

Can pregnant women eat sushi or raw fish?

Pregnant women should avoid raw or undercooked fish, including sushi, sashimi, and ceviche, to prevent foodborne illnesses. Raw fish can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning. However, pregnant women can enjoy cooked sushi rolls that contain low-mercury fish and other cooked ingredients.

Are there any risks associated with eating fish during pregnancy?

While fish can provide numerous benefits during pregnancy, it’s important to be cautious of mercury levels. High levels of mercury can harm the developing nervous system of the fetus. Pregnant women should also be careful to avoid consuming fish that may be contaminated with harmful chemicals or pollutants. It’s important to choose fish that are low in mercury and cooked thoroughly to reduce any potential risks.

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