Today we’re talking to our Seafoodie moms-to-be. Pregnancy is an incredible adventure, filled with a variety of emotions, as you eagerly await the arrival of your little one. As an expecting mom, you want to do everything you can to ensure that baby develops properly, and nutrition plays a crucial role in this process.
Good news if you’re looking for a food that provides a boatload of nutrients important during pregnancy. Yes, you guessed it—seafood! Fish and shellfish provide a hefty dose of complete protein, heart-healthy omega-3s and other nutrients that support–and are recommended for–a healthy pregnancy. Join us on a dive deep into our pregnancy guide to seafood and answer some of the questions that might be on your mind.
Is seafood safe to eat during pregnancy?
We get this question a lot here at Dish on Fish. And the answer is absolutely! Eating seafood during pregnancy is not only safe but is highly recommended. Years of studies, pregnancy organizations and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise pregnant women to consume seafood 2-3 times per week, which is about 8-12 ounces. Seafood provides protein, calcium, B vitamins, iron, selenium and vitamin D—all essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy and baby’s optimal development.
What specific nutrients in seafood are beneficial for my baby’s development?
Seafood provides numerous nutrients that are beneficial for a healthy pregnancy. We’ll start with omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. These omega-3s are critical for healthy baby development, particularly for your little one’s cognitive growth and visual acuity, which makes sense when you think that half of a baby’s brain and eyes are comprised of DHA. And seafood is a premiere food source of DHA and EPA. And, here is another perk: omega-3s are also important for moms-to-be! They support your heart and brain health during pregnancy and may help in reducing the risk of postpartum depression.
Seafood also provides protein for increasing mom’s blood supply and supporting baby’s proper growth, B vitamins for mom’s skin and nervous system, iron for increased blood flow and calcium for baby’s (and mom’s) bones and mom’s fluid balance.
Is there any seafood I should avoid during pregnancy?
Now that you know seafood should be a part of your healthy pregnancy diet, let’s talk about making safe choices. You can feel confident while enjoying a variety of cooked seafood during your pregnancy several times throughout the week. Just opt for low-mercury options like salmon, shrimp, and tuna, which are not only safe but also incredibly tasty! There are only a few high-mercury fish species that pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid—shark, swordfish, marlin, tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, orange roughy, bigeye tuna (primarily found in sushi) and king mackerel.
Can I eat sushi or raw seafood while pregnant?
Ah, sushi – a craveable meal that might have you wondering if it’s pregnancy-friendly. The good news is you can still savor sushi containing cooked seafood and veggies! However, it’s safest to avoid all raw meats and seafood–including sushi with raw seafood–during pregnancy. The FDA recommends that pregnant women only eat sushi with fish or shellfish that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re dining out, simply ask the sushi chef or server for cooked options, and when buying sushi rolls at the grocery store keep an eye out for a “cooked” sticker to ensure sushi safety while pregnant.
How can I find out more information about eating seafood during pregnancy?
We know that pregnancy can feel like a vulnerable time for many expecting moms. It is important to remember that seafood provides multiple nutrients that are crucial to a healthy pregnancy, baby and mom. According to a joint report from WHO/FAO, the real concern of eating seafood during pregnancy is not eating enough. So, aim to eat a variety of cooked seafood 2-3 times each week to ensure adequate intake of omega-3s and other important nutrients.
To get started, check out our e-cookbook with over 75+ healthy and easy seafood recipes for you to devour. [Link to e-cookbook with image] And for more information and easy seafood during pregnancy meal plans, click here. If you have specific health concerns or need personalized nutrition guidance, consult with your healthcare provider or your registered dietitian-nutritionist.