Is It Safe To Eat Halibut While Pregnant?

Halibut While Pregnant

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While you are pregnant, you need to keep a close eye on what to eat and what to avoid. Ordinarily, the Halibut is a delicious fish to eat, but while you have a bun in the oven, it might not be wise for you to enjoy the fish.

So, if you want to include Halibut in pregnancy diet or are simply looking for some safety information about the fish and its effects on pregnant women, consider reading our post below. Here we talk about consumption of Halibut during pregnancy.

What Is Halibut?

A halibut is a type of flatfish and belongs to family Pleuronectidae. It is native to the northern Pacific and Atlantic waters. Halibut is grilled, fried, or steamed for consumption. It is a widely eaten fish in most parts of the world. The Pacific halibut has a sweet and mild taste. It has a characteristic snow white color when cooked.

Halibut is an excellent source of protein, selenium, phosphorus, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also healthy as it contains low amounts of sodium and fat [1]. From 100 gm of raw Pacific halibut, you can get approximately 100 calories, with zero amounts of carbohydrates and sugars. The same amount can provide you protein (20.8 gm), total fat (2.29 gm), sodium (54 mg) and selenium (36 mcg) in approximate amounts [2].

[ Read: Salmon During Pregnancy ]

Is It Safe To Eat Halibut During Pregnancy?

Yes! It is safe to eat cooked halibut while you are pregnant, but moderation is the key. Seafood contains mercury, and it is probably the biggest concern with fish consumption during pregnancy.

Most adults can consume some amounts of mercury without experiencing any health problems. But, an excess of mercury can cause problems for fetal health. Therefore, if you are pregnant, limit your halibut consumption to 6 ounces or about 120 g per week.

[ Read: Grouper While Pregnant ]

Eating Halibut During Pregnancy:

If you eat fish, continue to eat a few servings of this nutritious food source during your pregnancy. Ask your doctor about your seafood serving size during pregnancy. Accordingly, adjust your serving of halibut per week. It is best to limit your intake of halibut when pregnant to a few servings every month. Add other varieties of fish in your diet that have low mercury concentrates.

[ Read:Seafood During Pregnancy ]

Side Effects Of Eating Halibut During Pregnancy:

  • Halibut contains some amount of mercury, which can be harmful to fetal health. Pacific halibut from the Alaskan and Canadian region, Atlantic halibut and the variety found in Greenland contains moderate amounts of mercury [3]. Pacific halibut from California region contains mercury in elevated amounts. Halibut can easily contain mercury levels of 1.52 parts per million (PPM) [4]. If you ingest high levels of mercury during your pregnancy, it can cause fetal development delays. You baby can also suffer from cerebral palsy, deafness and vision problems [5].
  • Halibut can also contain pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins. PCBs are manmade toxins and used in industrial activities. PCBs can contaminate sources of water including seas. These can get into fish and other sea creatures [6]. Dioxins are chemicals that get into the environment through industrial emissions, burning of trash and fuels and chlorine bleach processes. These toxins reach humans through the food chain [7]. These chemicals accumulate in the fatty animal tissues such as fish and other seafood. Dioxins can cause a lot of damage in the body. It affects development, reproductive processes, immunity and can also cause hormonal problems and cancer. The amount of these pollutants in halibut is considerably less than the levels found in some varieties of oily fish like tuna. But you can’t rule out the presence of these chemicals from halibut [8].

[ Read: Can Pregnant Women Eat Haddock ]

Eating Fish During Pregnancy:

  • Fish is an excellent food source for omega-3s, proteins and numerous vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are essential for good health. But during pregnancy, you must clearly monitor your halibut and overall fish intake. It is necessary due to mercury present in most seafood. The same applies if you are planning your pregnancy or breastfeeding your child.
  • You can eat up to 12 ounces or approximately 340 gm of seafood per week during pregnancy. It is best to stick to fish with lowest mercury levels such as salmon, anchovies, cod, tilapia and catfish. Avoid swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish. Also, limit your intake of white tuna and halibut.
  • If you eat fish found in your local water bodies check with your city’s health department about the level of mercury in the water.
  • If you eat a lot of fish, it is better to reduce your servings even when you are planning your pregnancy. Over a period mercury can collect in the blood. If mercury levels in your blood are high, it may take up to a year before it reduces significantly. To make it possible, you may need to stop eating mercury completely. So, if you eat seafood, stick to fish and shellfish with minimum mercury concentrates.
  • Pregnant women need a lot of omega-3 fats in their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimum neurodevelopment of the fetus. The primary source of two main active forms of omega-3 fats (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) is seafood. Omega-3 fats help with fetal eye and brain growth. Eating food sources with omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy can also protect women from perinatal depression and provide a host of benefits to fetal health. If you don’t eat fish or restrict your intake of fish during pregnancy, you must eat other safe sources of these essential nutrients. Omega-3s found in flaxseed is at par with its marine sources regarding quantity. But it contains shorter omega 3s than the longer chain omega-3s found in marine food sources. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are soybean, canola oil, wheat germ and walnuts. So, there are plenty of options for you in terms food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. So, don’t miss out on obtaining it if you want to avoid eating halibut or other fish during pregnancy.
  • You can also consume fish oil during pregnancy to supplement your need for omega-3 fats. Ask your doctor for a safe brand of fish oil that you can use while pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • If you are pregnant, it is safe for you to eat limited servings of halibut. Strive for balanced meals and do not rely on only marine food sources to obtain essential nutrients for you and your baby.

Did you eat halibut or other fish during pregnancy? Did you stop eating fish during pregnancy for fear of mercury contamination? Tell us about it here. Leave a comment.

 

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