Nancy Dell: Is eating fish safe for pregnant women?

Avoid raw fish like sushi and sashimi

I am pregnant. Can I eat fish?
-Maria, Internet

Experts say pregnant women should eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish a week, but not all fish is safe.

First, let’s look at why you should eat fish. Not only is it a good source of protein and iron, but it has the omega-3 fats that help with your baby’s brain development.

Some experts suggest that eating fish during pregnancy may make your baby smarter, but more studies are needed to actually confirm this.

Now, some fish is high in mercury and you should avoid those. Mercury can damage your baby’s brain as well as the kidneys and central nervous system.

Fish to Avoid During Pregnancy:

  • Swordfish
  • King Mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • White Albacore Tuna
  • Raw Fish
  • Refrigerated Smoked Fish

In addition, avoid raw fish like sushi and sashimi because they could cause food poisoning; and avoid refrigerated smoked seafood because they can have listeria bacteria.

What if you do not like fish but want to help your baby’s brain development? You can get omega-3s from a fish oil supplement or by eating flax seed, chia seed and walnuts.