Should I avoid seafood while pregnant?

Deciding what to eat during pregnancy can cause confusion and anxiety as pregnant moms want to provide the safest nutrients for their baby during the first, second and third trimester; learn about .

Not all fish are 100 percent safe for pregnant women, but most fish are safe and when eaten in moderation provide omega-3 fatty acids, protein and iron. These nutrients provide brain development and support growth of the fetus.

So what fish is safe to eat and in what amount?

Up to 12 ounces of Pollock, catfish, salmon, cod, tilapia, sardines, canned light tuna and shrimp can be consumed per week safely. Pregnant women can consume up to six ounces per week of albacore tuna, white tuna or salmon.

So what fish isn’t safe to eat?

Some fish should be completely avoided: shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and any raw and smoked fish. This includes raw sushi. These types of seafood are often high in mercury and other toxins. The American Pregnancy Association provides the mercury levels of fish to consume and avoid.  

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eight to 12 ounces of seafood a week for pregnant women or about two average meals.

It is also very important to check with your local health department environmental representative to determine if the locally-caught fish are safe to eat and also in what amounts.

The Health and Nutrition programs ofMichigan State University Extension may be a helpful resource that can also provide you with weekly nutrition classes and the support you need

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