4 Effective Ways To Prevent Fish Allergy During Pregnancy 

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Many individuals deal with food allergies caused by milk, eggs, nuts, etc. Their bodies cannot tolerate these foods well and produce several symptoms. Similarly, some women experience fish allergy during pregnancy, causing them to develop symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and eczema. However, in some rare cases, fish allergy may give rise to a dangerous issue called anaphylaxis (1).

If anaphylaxis is not treated at the nascent stage, it can be life-threatening. To avoid such situations, we have given below some important information regarding fish allergy during pregnancy.

What Is Food Allergy?

Milk and eggs may cause food allergy.

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Food allergy is a common phenomenon found in adults and children. The most familiar food, which causes allergies, are milk, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy, peanut, and fish (2).

  • Every individual has certain levels of tolerance towards their allergic substance.
  • Some people can eat a small portion of their allergic substance and are okay while some might be affected by touching them!
  • However, you should not be concerned much if you have a normal level of allergy; it is a matter of worry only when you are highly allergic to an item.

How is Fish Allergy Caused?

If you are suffering from fish allergy, you are hypersensitive towards the chemical and biological components of fish; therefore, eating fish may cause negative reactions in your body.

Allergy towards any particular food (in this case, fish) is caused in the following ways (3):

  1. When you eat fish, your immune system might wrongly think of it as a harmful substance. It then orders your body to reject it.
  2. Thus your body will try to defend itself and start producing antibodies to fight against the harmful substance.
  3. These antibodies are called immunoglobulin E or IgE. They are the weapons used by your body to defend itself against any potential attack.

So by the second and third helping of fish, your symptoms become severe. It happens to the extent of you becoming comatose, because by then many antibodies would have been generated and wrecking havoc inside your body.

Who Are Vulnerable To Develop Fish Allergy?

If you have asthma, you may get fish allergy during pregnancy.

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You are more likely to develop fish allergy due to any one of the following reasons

  • If you have a family history of fish allergy.
  • If you had any food allergies in the past, there are more chances you may suffer again.
  • If you are allergic to any other food, you may also develop an allergy to fish.
  • Lastly, if you have asthma, there are more chances to get an allergy to fish.

Symptoms Of Fish Allergy:

Fish allergy during pregnancy may cause dizziness.

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If you are suffering from fish allergy you may suffer any one or more of the following symptoms (1):

  1. Symptoms on skin like eczema or hives
  2. Swelling
  3. Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  4. In rare cases respiratory problems like difficulty in breathing
  5. Allergy symptoms such as above can be elevated to a condition called anaphylaxis when exposed to fish proteins. It becomes a fatal case and you might suffer from
  6. Dizziness
  7. Breathlessness
  8. Loss of consciousness

In case of anaphylaxis, the patient should be rushed to the nearest hospital and treated as soon as possible.

How To Treat Fish Allergy?

For mild allergy, your doctor may give you medications.

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When you are pregnant you cannot consume any over the counter medicine available to overcome the allergy. It is very important for you to discuss this issue with your doctor beforehand, so that he can suggest only those medications which are not harmful to your baby.

1. Mild Allergy:

Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce your symptoms of itching and hives. He will make sure that the prescribed medicine does not harm your growing baby in any way.

2. Severe Allergy:

An injection of Epinephrine and immediate medical treatment by the doctor should be given (1).

Ways To Prevent Fish Allergy:

Always read the ingredients label before consuming any food.

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If you want to remain safe and allergy-free during your pregnancy, then the best way is to avoid consuming fish or any other food made in combination with it. Also, we encourage you to follow the rules prescribed below:

  • Avoid restaurants which serve seafood; or at least, avoid the seafood section in the menu!
  • Don’t cook or shop for fish; a touch can also be allergic (or become allergic in the future, even if you are not allergic to touching a fish now).
  • Always read the ingredients label before consuming any food; this step is vital when you are buying groceries too (1).
  • If you are not sure of the ingredients in a particular food, avoid it – don’t take any chance.

Fish does offer a lot of nutrients needed for you and your unborn child. Ask your doctor to prescribe you suitable substitutes to make up for the loss in your pregnancy diet.

Do not neglect if you notice any symptoms of fish allergy. Be proactive and get proper treatment from your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the common fishes people are allergic to?

The common fishes people may be allergic to are catfish, tuna, cod, and salmon (3). People allergic to shellfish may not be allergic to finned fish. Hence, consult your doctor to understand the types of fish you may be able to consume.

2. What is the concern when eating fish while pregnant?

Most fish contain a neurotoxin known as methyl mercury in limited amounts. Consuming fish containing such toxins may lead to their accumulation in the body and, in turn, cause problems in the nervous system. Therefore, avoid fishes with high mercury levels during pregnancy (4).

Fish allergy in pregnant women can present as nausea, vomiting, skin reactions, etc. The symptoms, complications, and management of fish allergy may present differently in pregnant women than in others. Refrain from using OTC drugs to manage fish allergy during pregnancy. Instead, consult your gynecologist or visit emergency care if the symptoms worsen. Do not consume, cook, or come in contact with fish during pregnancy if you have a history of fish allergy. Further, read all food labels carefully to ensure they do not have traces of seafood.


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Sadiya Qamar

Sadiya is a writer and editor with a passion for writing about parenthood and children. Her focus areas are health, wellness, and beauty. For MomJunction, she writes on kids’ health and nutrition.  Sadiya believes in doing in-depth research and providing accurate information to help parents with concerns on their children’s growth and development.

Dr. Mona Hardas

Dr. Mona Hardas is a practicing Ob/Gyn from Flint, Michigan, with over 20 years of experience in private practice. She is also actively involved in teaching medical students and residents as an associate clinical professor from MSU College of Human Medicine.  Dr. Hardas is interested in minimally invasive gynecology procedures, including laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy, removal of adnexal masses, etc. Having...
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