Pregnancy and Fish

Pregnancy and Fish may not go together, at least certain types of fish. We have all heard that we should be increasing fish in our diets, because fish are so full of omega 3 fatty acids, the good fats, B vitamins and a great source of lean protein.

What is the problem then? Fish contain mercury. Mercury is a contaminant that can affect your babies’ brain development and nervous system. Small fish contain only small levels of mercury. As fish size increases, so does the level of mercury. Those big fish have eaten lots of little fish, and the mercury increases as you move up the food chain.


Does this mean that the healthy diet habit should be stop eating fish while pregnant? Not so! Healthy guidelines to follow are:

  1. Avoid certain fish. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that you totally avoid 4 types of fish:

    1. shark
    2. king mackerel
    3. swordfish
    4. tilefish

    Check out their great site where they list specific fish by their mercury content, highest (Avoid), high (Eat no more than three 6oz. servings per month), lower (Eat no more than six 6oz. servings per month) and lowest (Eat two 6oz. servings per week). You will be able to plan the best fish choices for your family. Their fish information on their site is located at

  2. Watch your tuna choices. The American Pregnancy Association site, also shows a chart of the mercury levels in tuna that is helpful, and guidelines for the best tuna choices for women and children, by their weight. White Albacore tuna has higher levels of mercury than regular chunk light tuna, so should be avoided, or used less often.

  3. Avoid undercooked shellfish like clams or oysters. If you don’t know that they are cooked to the proper temperature, avoid them.

  4. Avoid fresh fish caught by your husband or friends, because you do not know about them!

  5. Do not eat raw fish either, like Sushi, because it could contain salmonella or harmful parasites. California rolls that do not contain raw fish are fine.


Don’t be scared of fish and pregnancy, just be careful. The FDA recommends eating 12 oz. of low mercury fish per week, about two 6 oz. servings. Fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids that are great for your babies’ brain and nervous system, but fish with high levels of mercury can hurt your babies’ brain and nervous system! The Lifestyle Solution here is to check out the American Pregnancy Association site, and eat only approved fish!

I have a son with autism, so I would take this one seriously until the syndrome autism is solved.

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