Pregnant? Here’s Something Important You Should Know About Seafood

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During pregnancy, food and nutrition are a woman’s biggest concern. She is continuously inundated with advice and suggestions over what she should be eating and what she should not. One of the things that is generally told to be avoided is seafood.

There is a lot of myth regarding consumption of fish during pregnancy, however, any concrete evidence to ascertain the negative claims is found lacking. On the contrary, fish can be an excellent source of beneficial nutrients. But not all fishes fall under the safe category. There are some fishes that you should rather avoid. Let us examine this in detail.

Why Eating Fish is Good?

As mentioned above, fish is a very good source of nutrients. A woman can safely eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish per week as per her dietary requirements.

1. Full of nutrients

During pregnancy, the amount of iron and protein required by the body per day is about 27mg and 71mg respectively. Fish is an excellent source of lean protein as well as iron that are important for the mother and the baby. Therefore, it is a good idea to incorporate grilled or steamed fishes in the diet.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids

Oily fishes like sardines and wild salmon contain high amounts of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids that are great for brain development in the baby as well as in the reduction of swelling in the mother’s body.

3. Great for a limited diet

During pregnancy, you grow intolerant to many food items. In such a case, fish can become a great food supplement.

Which fishes are safe to eat?

There is a reason why pregnant women are asked to stay away from fishes. It is because many fishes are known to contain high levels of methyl mercury and other toxins which can affect the development of brain, nervous system and kidneys in the baby, while it is inside the womb. Moreover, some fishes absorb and carry greater amounts of methyl mercury, specific to their habitat, life-span, diet and size.

Do check the following list and make an informed choice next time you are eating fish.

Fishes/seafood to eat (8-12oz a week)

  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Crab
  • Sardines
  • Canned tuna (light)
  • Catfish
  • Shrimps
  • Pollock
  • Anchovies
  • Fresh water trout
  • Flounder
  • Sole
  • Scallops

Then there are others that you shouldn’t eat more than 6oz or one serving per week

  • Other white tuna
  • Halibut
  • Sea bass
  • Mahi mahi
  • Snapper
  • Grouper etc.

And the fishes/ seafood that you must avoid at all costs while you are pregnant are:

  • Shark
  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
  • Swordfish
  • Orange roughy
  • Raw preparations like sashimi, sushi, ceviche, carpaccio

There is a full list of recommended fish and seafood that can be consumed and avoided by the to-be-mother. [1]

It is also equally important to buy the right kind of fish. The fishes that have been locally harvested should be given preference over the frozen ones.

If you are wondering about the characteristics of a good quality fish, here are the following pointers that you can look for:

  • Clear and bright eyes indicating freshness
  • The scales being intact
  • Not a sloppy surface and the skin has a firm composition that springs back after being touched
  • Having a mild salty scent
  • Having no ice crystals

These were some important things that you should keep in mind before you consume fish or seafood during your pregnancy. They can be a great source of nutrition and taste, but a careful eye has to be kept over which kinds you are consuming and whether you are consuming it in a moderate quantity.

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