Eating fish while pregnant: how safe is it?

Godforbid we are just told to eat something good for us. No, it's never that easy. Can you scream omega fatty acid and mercury at the same time?

Here's what I gathered: fish is good for you because it contains omega fatty acids that can reduce the risk of heart failure and stroke, plus it can help brain development in the baby. Yay! But wait! Fish can also be high in mercury which can cause problems with cognitive development in unborn children. Boo! Although, theoretically, if both were true, wouldn't we all have average kids because the omega acid would cancel out the mercury? Guess not.

Anyway, it looks like large fish are the mercury culprits and small fish are good to eat. In short:

Bad: albacore (white) tuna, swordfish, shark, tilefish (golden bass or golden snapper), king mackerel

Good: pretty much everything else including skipjack (light) tuna

search: fish and pregnancy, consuming fish while pregnant, safe fish for eating

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Can I eat sushi while pregnant?


If you're not a big sushi eater, this one is easy, but if you love a nice slab of raw salmon like I do, this one is painful.

Here's what I gathered: sushi can carry a parasite called anisakiasis which is a type of round worm. It can have you praying to the porcelain gods pretty quickly but here's where you lose me. I can't find anything where it can harm a fetus (it actually looks like the treatment is more dangerous than the round worm) and, in many places, it's actually law that the fish has to be frozen beforehand which kills the parasite. Yes, you could get dehydrated from being sick but that could happen with any type of food poisoning. Why pick on raw fish?

There's always the mercury in fish argument. Bluefin tuna which is a common fish used for sushi is often linked to high mercury levels but even then, it doesn't typically show up on the no-no list of fish to avoid while pregnant. It was the "rawness" of the fish that seemed to make everyone squeamish.

Sounds like this is just a prejudice against food that some people find "icky" and someone should be force fed their nuts on a bamboo boat for coming up with this one.

search: anisakiasis, dangers of eating sushi, sick from eating sushi

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