Can I eat Fish when I am Pregnant?

Can I eat Fish when I am Pregnant?

I’ve been asked this question several times, especially that we are in the summer season, and people eat lots of fish. I’ve discussed this issue of fish and mercury in a previous post but I would prefer to re-post the subject again. Before answering the question here’s a general overview about the health benefits of fish.

Health Benefits of Fish

Most kinds of fish are highly nutritious, containing large amounts of vitamins, minerals and highly beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats), good quality lean proteins and are also low in saturated fats. Some fish are also rich in specific nutrients such as calcium for example in salmon and sardines.

Due to the highly nutritious content, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, fish has been highly correlated with preventing heart diseases (by preventing blood clots), enhancing infant’s neurological development (intellectual ability), reducing mood swings and depression, reducing blood pressure, and preventing Alzheimer.

It’s highly recommended to eat around 2 servings of fish per week (always consider steaming, baking etc. over frying cooking techniques). As for pregnant women, it’s highly recommended to eat fish, because fish provide the infant with a specific type of omega-3 fatty acid named DHA that is, as stated previously, essential for brain development.

Alert: Fish contains Mercury

Talking about pregnant women and fish, it’s very important to be alert that despite fish is a highly nutritious food, it might contain some unhealthy toxic substances, mainly mercury. Mercury, coming from sea water contamination, can accumulate and sit within the fish meat, specifically that large in size fish such as tuna; thus if eaten can pass through the placenta to the infant causing a disruption in the nervous and brain development.

That’s why as we always say, it is all about moderation, pregnant women ought to consume fish due to its highly beneficial nutrients yet, must avoid the high mercury containing fish especially the shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish; tuna can be eaten yet in restricted amounts, as for sardines, they are safe (due to their small size).

Note: Mercury can accumulate in our bodies, thus it’s highly recommended that women planning to get pregnant also restrict the highly contain mercury fish before the phase of conception.

More info from Mayo Clinic:

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