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Is it safe to eat fish if I’m pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding?

Yes, you can eat fish while pregnant, attempting to conceive, or breastfeeding as long as you limit your seafood intake and go for low-mercury varieties.

Indeed, if you don’t regularly consume seafood, consider include it in your pregnancy, pre-pregnancy, or breastfeeding diet because fish has nutritional benefits for both you and your kid, including brain-boosting omega-3s.

Seafood, on the other hand, includes mercury, which is transferred to your kid during pregnancy and is found in breast milk. A baby’s developing brain and neurological system can be harmed by too much mercury.

The following suggestions will show you how to get the nutritional benefits of fish while limiting your baby’s mercury exposure.

Note: If you’re trying to conceive, follow the same pregnancy instructions.

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Why is it healthy to eat fish while I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Fish is high in nutrients that are beneficial to your health and the growth of your kid. DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids that are hard to come by in other diets, are the most important nutrients. When you’re pregnant, omega-3s are transmitted to your baby, and they’re found in breast milk when you’re nursing.

Fish is also abundant in protein and has a low saturated fat content.

How much fish can I safely eat while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing should eat two to three 4-ounce servings of low-mercury seafood per week (8 to 12 ounces total), according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (see lists below).

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How does mercury get into fish?

Natural sources of mercury include volcanic eruptions and forest fires. Mercury is also released into the air by power plants, cement mills, and certain chemical and industrial producers.

Mercury has been utilised in the manufacture of thermometers, thermostats, and fluorescent lights for decades. These objects can emit mercury into landfills when discarded.

When mercury settles in water, microorganisms convert it to methylmercury, a form of the metal. Methylmercury is absorbed by fish from the water they swim in and the organisms they eat. Methylmercury attaches firmly to proteins in fish muscle, and it stays there even after the fish has been cooked.

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Could my baby or I get too much mercury while I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Yes, it is conceivable. That’s why it’s critical to be aware of the type of fish you’re eating.

Methylmercury is quickly absorbed by your body when you eat fish. Methylmercury crosses the placenta during pregnancy. While mercury isn’t usually found in substantial quantities in breast milk, whatever mercury that does get into it is absorbed by your nursing baby’s body. Babies (including those still in the womb) and young children are regarded to be the most vulnerable to methylmercury poisoning.

Why not just stop eating fish while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Fish is an excellent source of nutrients for both you and your kid. Omega-3s are helpful for your child’s vision and cognitive development if you obtain them in pregnancy and during infancy (either through breastfeeding or supplemented formula).

Fish consumption during pregnancy has also been linked to a lower risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, according to certain research.

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Which are the safest types of fish to eat while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Best choices for low-mercury fish

These are the safest low-mercury fish and seafood for pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to the FDA and EPA. Two to three 4-ounce portions (8 to 12 ounces) each week are recommended.

  • anchovies
  • Atlantic croaker
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • black sea bass
  • butterfish
  • catfish
  • clams
  • cod
  • crabs
  • crawfish
  • flounder
  • haddock
  • hake
  • herring
  • lobster (American and spiny)
  • mullet
  • oysters
  • Pacific chub mackerel
  • perch (freshwater and ocean)
  • pickerel
  • plaice
  • pollock
  • salmon
  • sardines
  • scallops
  • shad
  • shrimp
  • skate
  • smelt
  • sole
  • squid
  • tilapia
  • trout (freshwater)
  • tuna (canned light)
  • whitefish
  • whiting
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Good choices for low-mercury fish

These low-mercury fish and seafood are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat in moderation, according to the FDA and EPA. Eat no more than 4 ounces of fish per week and don’t eat any other fish during that time.

  • bluefish
  • buffalo fish
  • carp
  • Chilean sea bass/Patagonian toothfish
  • grouper
  • halibut
  • mahi mahi/dolphinfish
  • monkfish
  • rockfish
  • sablefish
  • sheepshead fish
  • snapper
  • Spanish mackerel
  • striped bass (ocean)
  • tilefish (Atlantic Ocean)
  • tuna (albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen)
  • tuna (yellowfin)
  • weakfish/seatrout
  • white croaker/Pacific croaker
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Which fish are high in mercury?

All women of reproductive age and young children should avoid the following high-mercury fish species, according to the FDA and EPA:

  • king mackerel
  • marlin
  • orange roughy
  • shark
  • swordfish
  • tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
  • bigeye tuna

Can I eat canned tuna while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Yes, but be careful what sort of tuna you consume. The FDA offers differing recommendations for how much albacore (solid white) tuna a pregnant or lactating woman should eat because albacore (solid white) tuna has three times more mercury than light tuna:

  • Canned light tuna: Limit to two to three servings (up to 12 ounces) a week.
  • Fresh or canned white tuna: Limit to one serving (up to 4 ounces) a week, and don’t eat other fish that week.
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Is it safe to eat sushi, sashimi, and other raw fish if I’m pregnant or trying to get pregnant?

Raw fish is not recommended for pregnant women or small children due to the risk of foodborne illness. Pregnant women and children are more vulnerable to foodborne infections, which can be very hazardous.

If you’re trying to conceive, avoid eating raw fish until you’re certain you’re not pregnant.

Is it safe to eat sushi, sashimi, and other raw fish while breastfeeding?

If you’re breastfeeding, you can consume raw fish as long as you follow the standards and avoid fish with high mercury levels. For example, you should avoid bigeye tuna sushi and only eat yellowfin tuna sushi on rare occasions.

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Is it safe to eat fish caught in local waters if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

To find out which fish to avoid and how much of each variety is safe to eat, consult your state or local health and environmental agencies.

These warnings are typically posted on signs in fishing locations. You may also find your state’s cautions on this map, which Purdue University keeps up to date.

If there isn’t an advice for a local species, the EPA suggests limiting your intake to one 6-ounce portion and avoiding eating any additional fish for the rest of the week.

How much omega-3s do I need each day?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume 250 milligrammes of EPA and/or DHA per week by consuming at least 8 ounces (and up to 12 ounces) of omega-3-rich seafood per week, according to the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture.

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Which fish are high in omega-3s?

Salmon, herring, mussels, trout, sardines, and pollock are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.

The Environmental Working Group provides a calculator to assist you in determining which fish are the safest and most omega-3-rich for you.

What foods besides fish have omega-3s?

The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are found in abundance in fish. Other foods commonly include ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that has some health benefits but not as many as DHA and EPA.

  • Fortified foods: Many foods are now fortified with omega-3s, including eggs, milk, soy drinks, juice, yoghurt, bread, and cereal, however most of them only contain ALA. (Omega-3 types aren’t always specified on food labels.)
  • Plant foods: Plant meals contain only one omega-3 fatty acid, ALA. Nuts (such as walnuts), seeds (such as chia seeds and flaxseeds), and plant oils are all good sources of ALA (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil).
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Can I get omega-3s from supplements or fish oil?

Omega-3 supplements are mercury-free and offer EPA and DHA. Many contain fish oil, but because mercury does not accumulate in fatty tissue, it is not present in the oil. Fish oil, on the other hand, may contain PCBs, a group of industrial toxins that might disrupt your baby’s neurological system. Look for a supplement that filters the oil to remove contaminants like PCBs.

Caution: Although cod liver oil includes omega-3 fatty acids, it also contains a lot of vitamin A, which can be harmful in high amounts. (It’s also difficult to tell if the oil has been filtered to remove contaminants.)

How can I find out how much mercury is in my body?

You can get a blood test for mercury, but you generally won’t need one. If you eat the correct amounts and varieties of fish, you should be able to keep your mercury levels under control.

If you consume fish more frequently than suggested and are worried, speak with your doctor about getting a test. If the test shows you’re getting too much mercury, your doctor or a nutritionist can help you make dietary changes to lower your mercury levels.

FAQ

  1. Can I eat fish while trying to conceive?

    Is it safe to eat fish if I’m pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding? Image result for Is it safe to eat fish if I’m pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding?
    Is it safe to eat fish while trying to get pregnant? In a nutshell, yes. Fish is thought to be one of the best foods for women trying to conceive.

  2. Can I eat fish in early pregnancy?

    Pregnant women should consume at least 8 ounces (340 grammes) of low-mercury seafood per week, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

  3. Is fish good for fertility?

    Fatty fish.

    Because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish like salmon (preferably wild), sardines, herring, and other types of fatty fish are rich in fertility-boosting benefits.

  4. Can eating fish while pregnant cause a miscarriage?

    Uncanned smoked fish, such as lox or smoked trout, carries the risk of containing listeria, a bacteria that can be harmful to both you and your baby. While listeriosis (a listeria infection) is uncommon, it can result in serious complications such as death, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

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