Let us know about Can you eat fish when pregnant? You must have come across a lot of information about eating fish during pregnancy, due to which you might be in a dilemma whether to consume fish or not. While there are many benefits of eat fish, there are certain varieties of fish that should be avoided, fish are considered safe and nutritious to consume during pregnancy.
Should I be eat fish if I’m pregnant?
This is a question that worries most pregnant women. The answer is quite simple – yes. Of course, you need to choose fish carefully and consume it in moderation. Your unborn baby is in dire need of essential nutrients for early development and fish provides these nutrients in abundance. Fish is low in saturated fat but high in essential nutrients such as vitamin D and protein, which are very helpful for fetal development and a healthy pregnancy. This is the reason why even your doctors tell you to eat fish during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
In addition, fish contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are difficult to obtain in other foods and are essential for the development of the developing fetus. Therefore, you can include fish in your diet during pregnancy.
mercury found in fish
Mercury is found not only in water but also in the air we breathe. However, due to the increasing rate of industrialization, more amount of mercury is being released by chemical industry, power plants, cement plants and other industrial constructions. Items of daily use like thermometers, fluorescent lights, thermostats, etc. also contain mercury which pollutes water when impurely mixed in rivers and seas. Bacteria convert mercury dissolved in water into methyl-mercury. When fishes swim in this water and feed on other organisms, this mercury gets mixed in their body. However, the most worrying thing is that this mercury settles in the muscles of the fish and does not go away even when the fish is cooked.
Fish contains many important nutrients that a pregnant woman needs to provide nutrition to her fetus. Although toxins and pollution through different sources of water affect the fish and when we eat these fish it directly affects us as well. Although low levels of mercury do not affect our health very much, studies have shown that if mercury levels are high, it can seriously affect the neurological development of the child. As a mother, you would never want your baby to be at risk, so it is best to consume low mercury fish during pregnancy.
How Much Fish Should You Consume During Pregnancy?
How Much Fish Should You Consume During Pregnancy? International agencies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommend two to three servings of low-mercury fish per week, which is 8 to 12 ounces (226 to 340 grams). It is recommended. Breastfeeding mothers should also follow the same instructions to provide essential nutrients to their baby.
Risks of consuming too much mercury during pregnancy
By eat fish, the methyl-mercury found in it is absorbed by our body, so that it reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord. Even small amounts of methyl-mercury can affect the brain and nervous system of the unborn baby. It can also affect the child’s vital abilities such as vision, speech, motor skills, attention and memory. So it is very important to check what kind of fish you are consuming.
What to do if you consume excess mercury
If you’ve unknowingly consumed fish containing high amounts of mercury, don’t panic. First of all stop its consumption and inform your doctor about it. The doctor may suggest chelation therapy with medicines to remove it from your body. Chelation will help eliminate mercury from your body and also reduce its effects.
Health Benefits of Eat Fish pregnant
In fact, there are many benefits of including fish in the daily diet of a pregnant woman. These include:
- Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, which contains essential amino-acids that help in fetal development. It helps make the cells of the fetus for hair, bones, skin and muscles.
- Salmon fish is a great source of DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), which is known to enhance the brain development and movements of the unborn baby. The growth of the fetus is very rapid during the third trimester and consuming fish during this time is considered especially important.
- The supply of omega-3 in pregnant women is also very helpful for enhancing the memory power and improving brain activity of their unborn baby.
- Consuming more omega-3 fatty acids through fish also helps protect you from mood swings and depression during and after pregnancy.
- If a pregnant woman is suffering from high blood pressure, then eat fish can lower the blood pressure. Fish-rich diets reduce blood clotting and blood fat levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack in pregnant women.
- Pregnant women who consume a good amount of omega-3 through fish or other supplements have a lower risk of preterm delivery.
fishes you can eat during pregnancy
Whenever you consume fish during pregnancy, whether outside or at home, always keep in mind that you consume only those fish which are safe for you. You can opt for salmon, shrimp, cat fish, crab, cod, shrimp, clams and trout. Halibut, shrimp and snapper should be consumed no more than 1 time per week, while the other types of fish mentioned above are considered safe to eat no more than 2-3 times per week. The amount of fish can vary depending on its size, type, and method of cooking, but you can usually eat about 3–6 ounces (85 to 170 grams) at a time. Make sure the fish available is fresh and if possible buy organically farmed fish.
Recently, there has been a lot of conflicting information about salmon fish. In which PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) have been found in high amounts in farmed salmon. PCBs are toxic chemicals that can also cause cancer. To be safe, only eat wild salmon or organic farmed salmon.
Which fish should not be consumed during pregnancy
High levels of mercury in fish is a major problem for people who eat fish. Methyl-mercury is a neurotoxin that can cause damage to the nervous system when consumed in high amounts. Avoid fish like shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tile during pregnancy. You should also avoid eat foods containing all types of raw fish, including sushi, ceviche, and sashimi, because of the risk of food poisoning. Similarly, refrigerated smoked fish carries a risk of listeria (a serious bacterial infection) and should be avoided during pregnancy.
Avoid eat fish that you do not know about and if possible, know about it before consuming. While consuming these fish, their upper skin should be removed and excess fat should be removed.
Is It Safe To Consume Canned Tuna Fish During Pregnancy
It is not safe to consume canned fish. However, it is not harmful for pregnant women if consumed in limited quantities. Eating tuna fish occasionally will not cause any harm to your unborn baby. The commercial fishing industry is well regulated and therefore canned fish available in restaurants and supermarkets is generally safe to consume during pregnancy.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your unborn baby, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of any type of fish before consuming it, or talk to your doctor. Avoid eating albacore tuna, also known as white tuna, because it contains high amounts of mercury. Instead, give priority to light tuna fish.
Can I eat fish caught from local water sources?
Fish found in local water sources have been deemed unsafe. This is because the chemicals released by the industry are continuously polluting the rivers and seas. So during pregnancy, it is better to avoid consuming fish caught from such places, as you do not know whether these fish contain mercury or not.
What other foods can I eat instead of fish to get omega-3s?
If you are one of those people who do not consume fish for taste or religious reasons and are concerned about consuming omega-3 during pregnancy, you need not despair. In addition to fish and fish oil, you can eat the following foods to compensate naturally:
- Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, eating a handful of walnuts as an afternoon snack is beneficial during pregnancy.
- To get a balanced intake of omega-3 fatty acids, use olive oil when cooking, especially in lightly-fried or grilled dishes. However, do not use this oil in excess as this oil contains a lot of calories.
- Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega-3. Crushed flax seeds can be consumed with curd or oats during breakfast or evening meal.
Tips for cooking fish the right way
Cooking fish the right way helps reduce any exposure to potential contaminants. Here are some tips for preparing fish meal in a nutritious and tasty way:
- All seafood, including crab, lobster and oysters, should be cooked until it reaches a temperature of 75 °C and thoroughly destroys contaminants in the fish.
- Oysters, clams, and mussels cook best if their shells are open. If it doesn’t, don’t consume them.
- It is always recommended to consume fresh, well-refrigerated seafood. If you are not going to use the fish immediately, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge.
- Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat/fish.
- The consumption of raw food should be totally avoided as it is more prone to contamination. Avoid eating sushi and other raw fish during pregnancy.
You should consume fish during pregnancy according to the quantity mentioned in this article. Always eat fresh fish only. Keep in mind that before adding anything to your diet, talk to your doctor. Remember, you and your developing baby need different nutrients at this time and consuming fish can definitely provide nutrients in abundance, if consumed with caution.