Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy Part 3. Fish During Pregnancy? The Dos and Don'ts...
Before we begin, we want to talk about how fish can BENEFIT the maternal diet!
Fish, like salmon or sardines, are full of good fats that will not only help you during pregnancy and breastfeeding but will also help your baby grow! They are full of omega-3's and DHA which are important for brain development, antioxidants, and overall development!
So just because you're pregnant, doesn't mean you should skip out on fish-- simply be mindful of the fish you are eating and how much you are consuming.
When we think of mercury, we automatically think of fish--but what kind of fish? How much is too much? And how much mercury am I actually consuming? Will it harm me or my baby?
As a pregnant mother who may love her fish, it is important to understand that certain types of fish/amounts of fish can negatively harm your baby over the course of pregnancy. Mercury is unfortunately found in many types of common fish, and if consumed at too high of an amount, could be detrimental to your baby.
To better understand this concept, fish have been divided up into three categories:
Best Fish Choices during pregnancy containing <0.15mcg/g of mercury:
- These include: cod, flounder, haddock, scallop, shrimp, tilapia, canned light tuna, salmon, catfish.
Good Fish Choices during pregnancy containing 0.15-0.46mcg/g of mercury:
- These include: yellowfin, white albacore tuna, Chilean sea bass, grouper, halibut, mahi-mahi, monkfish, snapper.
Fish Choices to Avoid during pregnancy containing >.046mcg/g of mercury:
- These are shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, and ahi tuna.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only consume 12 oz of fish per week. This should come from the 'best choices' options or low mercury fishes (<.15mcg/g). This is because mercury can pass through both the placenta as well as the blood-brain barrier and could negatively impact the health of your baby in ways such as lung, kidney, and nervous system damage.
We also want to make sure that not only are we avoiding raw meat, but raw fish as well. Raw fish comes with its own risks and sets of foodborne illnesses, with impacts that could be detrimental. So ladies, unfortunately, this does mean no sushi, sashimi, or poke (at least none of the raw options).
We hope this mini series was helpful for you! If you have any questions about the above content, please let us know! We would love to help you in any way.
Thanks for reading and as always...
Your health today is a LIFETIME of health for you AND your baby.
Until next time!
Coaches Cassie and Mikayla
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Kathleen Zelman MPH, RDN, (2019) Food and Nutrition Magazine p16 https://foodandnutrition.org/Current-Issue/#A018_MJ2019