Seafood During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

September 22, 2014
seafood during pregnancy, pregnancy diet, fish during pregnancy, listeria, foods to avoid during pregnancy

One of the first thoughts that came into my head when I found out I was pregnant was, ‘Oh, no, no sushi!’ Then for a moment I considered pretending that I hadn’t done the pregnancy test yet and going out for one last sushi feast before I embraced the blandness of the next 8 months or so. Of course, it was just a thought. Once you’ve seen the lines on that stick, it can’t be undone and if you’re seafood lover, it means that you’ll need to make some adjustments to your diet.

Raw fish and seafood are now off the menu. They can carry the listeria bacteria which can be very harmful for the baby. Smoked salmon and other ready-to-eat cold fish are also considered high risk for listeria.

The bacteria and viruses are killed by cooking, so if you choose to have shellfish and fish, only do it as part of a cooked meal. Eat your meal hot, not lukewarm! Another concern when it comes to fish is its high mercury content, which may harm an unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Fish with high mercury levels include Shark (Flake), Swordfish, Broadbill or Marlin. You can only have one serve (150g) of those fish per fortnight and no other fish that week.

Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) and Catfish also have relatively high mercury levels and you should have no more than one serve per week (and no other fish that week).  Fish with lower mercury levels that you can enjoy more regularly (2-3 times a week) are Snapper, Salmon, Trout, Whiting, Mullet, Garfish and Bream.

Don’t give up seafood altogether for fear of getting it wrong. Fish is rich in protein and minerals, and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the baby’s developing brain.
You can return to your normal diet as soon as you’ve given birth. In fact, guess what the first meal was that I asked my husband to bring for me to celebrate the birth. Sushi!

Image by sharonang via

By Tatiana Apostolova

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