This is one question most of the “to be mommies” struggle with, whether to avoid fish during pregnancy or not. While a major population would say no, since certain fishes absorb mercury and mercury can harm a baby’s developing brain and nervous system but we would say yes because not all fishes contain high levels of mercury and we would guide you through the same. If you go by what the studies say, I am sure you would never give fish a miss. Studies have shown that fish can provide an array of nutrients which are required for the development of your little one. Even if you normally do not eat fish, it is great to include it in your pregnancy diet for the benefits it offers.
Are there any Health Benefits of Eating Fish During Pregnancy
Fish are rich in two omega-3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA that are essential for the healthy growth and development of the fetus. Further, these two nutrients are not easily available in other foods. To be precise fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, Protein and is low in saturated fatty acids making it one of the best foods for a pregnant woman. However, the catch is to eat fish that is low in mercury and provided maximum nourishment for the developing fetus. So fish definitely needs to be a part of your diet if you are expecting, and we are here to guide through it
How safe is Eating Fish during Pregnancy?
The answer is largely ‘yes’, you can consume certain fishes which do not absorb excess mercury and are free from a man-made toxicant polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), but only in moderation. Since pregnancy is one of the most delicate times in the life of a woman, exercising caution is highly advised. Pregnant women can consume 2-3 servings of healthy, cooked fish a week.
Fish Considered Safe While Pregnant
- Butterfish (Pomfret)
- Catfish (Singhada)
- Herring (Hilsa)
- Mackerel (Bangada)
- Salmon (Indian salmon is known as Rawas)
- Anchovies (Nethili in Malayalam)
Which Fish Should Be Avoided When Pregnant?
While we have already discussed the types of fish which are safe to consume during pregnancy here is a list of fishes which need to be completely avoided when expecting.
- Carp (Rohu)
- Tuna(Canned chunk light)
- Sea bass (asian version is bhekti)
- Tuna (Yellowfin)
- Tuna (Ahi)
Why is it best to avoid some fish when Pregnant?
The reason why the above fishes are not allowed is because they contain large amounts of mercury. Now the metal mercury once consumed by the fishes due to water pollution is later converted to methyl mercury which is capable of passing through the placenta to the fetus and can adversely affect the nervous system and brain development of the same. Not only that there is another contaminant known as PCB Or polychlorinated biphenyls which is a byproduct of industrial waste and is known to get accumulated in the body of these fishes, which can in turn make the fish harmful for consumption.