Written by Pradeep
Pregnancy nutrition is restrictive and confusing. Fish during pregnancy is one such food where people are confused as it is one of the best ways to consume Omega-3 fatty acids. The scary part is every fish has some kind of mercury in it.
If you are pregnant and confused about eating fish during pregnancy, you are not alone. This article discusses whether it is safe to consume fish during pregnancy, the advantages, shortcomings, and the different types of fish that are safe to eat during pregnancy. Let us get started.
In This Article
The answer is Yes. But, there are a lot of considerations to be looked upon behind the simple ‘yes.’ According to the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pregnant women can eat eight to twelve ounces of low-mercury fish every week.
The Omega-3 fatty acids in many fish help promote the baby’s cognitive ability. While consuming fish, you need to ensure that you do not eat fish high in mercury or contaminated with pollutants.
You need to avoid all kinds of fish high in mercury. High mercury in your blood could hinder the development of the brain and nervous system of the baby. The following are a few types of fish that you need to avoid.
During pregnancy, women can consume fish lower in mercury at the safe levels mentioned by the FDA. The high-level mercury in seafood restricts the brain and nervous system development.
The following are some seafood that is lower in mercury.
It is suggested to restrict the albacore tuna and tuna steaks to about 170 grams or six ounces a week.
Mercury is a natural element that forms in the environment through various human activities, and it gets collected in the ocean and becomes methylmercury in the sediment. This is the mercury that is present in all kinds of fish.
So, how much mercury pregnant women can eat is a naive question, and none of the health regulatory bodies across the world has mentioned the exact mercury levels to be consumed during pregnancy. But, the following table gives a reference based on body weight levels
|Bodyweight||Mercury doses to eat per day (In mcg)||Mercury doses to eat per week (In mcg)|
|100 pounds / 45 kgs||4.5||31.5|
|125 pounds / 57 kgs||5.7||39.9|
|150 pounds / 68 kgs||6.8||47.6|
|175 pounds / 80 kgs||8||56|
|200 pounds / 91 kgs||9.1||63.7|
The following table describes the level of mercury available in different kinds of fish. The mercury levels are measured in terms of parts per million or micrograms.
|Name of the Species||Mercury in PPM||Mercury (In mcg) per 3 ounces (85 grams)|
|Light Tuna (canned)||0.126||10.71|
|Skipjack Tuna (Fresh or Frozen)||0.144||12.24|
|Albacore tuna (Canned)||0.350||29.75|
|Yellowfin tuna (fresh or frozen)||0.354||30.09|
|Albacore tuna (Fresh or Frozen)||0.358||30.43|
|Bigeye tuna (Fresh or Frozen)||0.689||58.57|
There are so many benefits of eating fish during pregnancy. Let us look at each of them in detail.
During pregnancy, even food needs to be taken care of under proper guidance and control. Let us look at a few of them.
The primary concern for eating fish during pregnancy is mercury. If you consistently keep eating fish with higher mercury levels, your bloodstream might contain higher levels of the substance. When the mercury begins to accumulate in your bloodstream, your baby`s development could be at risk. This not only applies to pregnant women but also to women who are planning to become pregnant.
As far as fish is concerned, if you follow the recommendations of the FDA, you can continue eating fish unless and until specified by your doctor to cut it down.
You can eat rohu during pregnancy as it is enriched with proteins, Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and C.
The local waters are prone to contamination with the advent of industries that release their chemicals into the rivers. While you are pregnant, it is wise to avoid fish caught in local waters without proper monitoring.
You should first stop panicking and inform your doctor about it. After checking the chelation levels, your doctor might suggest chelation therapy to eliminate the metal from the organs.
There are conflicting statements about eating fish during pregnancy. But, if you choose safe fish cooked to perfection, you cannot find better food that can enrich you with loads of nutrients. Studies have proven that children whose mothers ate fish during pregnancy have achieved the milestones on time and sometimes earlier. It helps in better nervous and brain development.
Make sure you follow the proper techniques of cooking the fish and consume them fresh. Also, do not forget to follow the guidelines mentioned by the FDA. Happy pregnancy and have a safe birth.