We know that fish are packed with important nutrients, but we also know that fish contain lots of contaminants such as mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that could potentially affect the baby’s health. And how about sushi? Is that safe in pregnancy? Though it is not recommended that pregnant ladies avoid fish altogether, there are certain guidelines that mommies-to-be should be aware of:
1) Cooked sushi (tamago, california rolls, etc.) is OK. Raw sushi (or sashimi) may carry bacteria and parasites that could make you very sick. Pregnant ladies are about 10 times more likely to get food-borne illnesses, so it’s important to avoid raw fish/ seafood, deli meats (unless they’re heated until they’re steaming hot), and unpasteurized products.
2) There are certain fish that contain very high levels of mercury. AVOID eating grouper, tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel.
3) According to the American Pregnancy Association, the following fish contain high levels of mercury and should be eaten no more than three 6-oz servings per month: bass saltwater, croake, halibut, tuna (canned, white albacore), tuna (fresh bluefin, ahi), sea trout, bluefish, lobster
4) The following fish should be eaten no more than six 6-oz servings per month: carp, mahi mahi, crab (dungeness), snapper, crab (blue), herring, crab (snow), monkfish, perch (freshwater), cod, tuna (canned, chunk light), tuna (fresh Pacific albacore)
5) Two 6-oz servings of the following fish can be eaten per week: anchovies, butterfish, calamari (squid), caviar (farmed), crab (king), pollock, catfish, whitefish, perch (ocean), scallops, flounder, haddock, lobster (spiny/rock), sole, crayfish, salmon, shrimp, clams, tilapia, oysters, sardines, trout (freshwater)
SOURCE: American Pregnancy Association