Eating Fish: Is it Safe During Pregnancy?
The Food and Drug Administration has created strict seafood consumption guidelines about eating fish during pregnancy. The reason? Toxins such as mercury, lead, PCBs and dioxins are often found in fish and can be harmful to a developing fetus.
Some fish for worse for your pregnancy health (and your fetus' development) than others. Fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish live longer and therefore, have a greater chance of accumulating toxins. They generally have high levels of mercury, so you'll want to avoid eating these fish during pregnancy.
Fish such as anchovies, shrimp, crab, salmon, Pollock, catfish, cod, tilapia, and canned tuna tend to be low in mercury and are generally more safe during pregnancy. The FDA recommends that pregnant women should limit themselves to one serving (approximately 12 ounces) of any type of fish a week.
The catch is that fish has tons of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are great for your developing baby's brain. They're essential for the healthy development of brain, retina and nervous tissue. During pregnancy, these fatty acids are transferred from the mother to the fetus. So while you shouldn't eat too much fish, you may want to make a point of eating a small amount of fish every week during pregnancy. It's beneficial to both you and your baby.
So is it safe to eat fish during pregnancy? Yes and no. We wish we had an easier answer for you, but with some basic guidelines and, if necessary, some advice from your doc, you can get the benefits of eating fish during pregnancy without much worry about if it is safe.