Seafood and Pregnancy

You have probably heard of the many health benefits of eating fish - high quality protein, low in saturated fat, and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Butbaby while eating a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to your health and to the healthy growth of your baby, eating the wrong kind of fish can actually be harmful to a baby's or a child's developing nervous system.

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain small amounts of mercury - such a small amount that the benefits of eating seafood far outweigh the risks. However, there are a few varieties that contain such high levels of mercury that they should not be eaten during pregnancy. Below are guidelines recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  • Try not to eat any shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, as they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Some fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Fish in fish sticks and in fast food sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury also. Feel free to enjoy one of these types of fish at 1 or 2 meals per week.
  • Tuna steaks and albacore tuna have slightly higher levels of mercury, and may be eaten once per week in place of another serving of seafood.
  • If you are interested in eating seafood not listed above, you can visit the following websites to obtain more safety information: www.cfsan.fda.gov | www.epa.gov/ost/fish