Fish and Mercury in Pregnancy: What you need to know.
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
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 are: 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 are 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.
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.
All of the information during pregnancy can be daunting, but Mamas Maternal Health can help you sort through it. Check out our website to join us today and find out how!
Credit: Kathleen Zelman MPH, RDN, (2019) Food and Nutrition Magazine p16 https://foodandnutrition.org/Current-Issue/#A018_MJ2019