What fish can I eat when pregnant?

Salmon during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, all kinds of foods become are risk and are therefore prohibited… Among them: certain fish. But which ones are to be banned from your plate? And which ones can you eat without fear?

Eating fish is very good for your health, and also when you are pregnant. It is therefore important to include them in your menu, especially fatty fish rich in omega-3 (such as salmon, mackerel, herring, etc.). But be careful, do not overdo it: eat a maximum of 300g of fatty fish per week.

A risk of listeriosis

While listeriosis is a rare infection in healthy adults, it is dangerous for pregnant women: fetuses are particularly vulnerable to it. During pregnancy, listeriosis can cause miscarriage, neonatal infection, or even premature labor.

Listeria monocytogenes can infect all kinds of raw foods: cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. It is for this reason that a pregnant woman cannot eat unpasteurized cheeses, poorly preserved or unwashed raw vegetables, as well as undercooked meat and fish.

To make sure that your fish is not infected with Listeria monocytogenes, a few rules should be followed:

  • Make sure that the cold chain has been respected
  • Make sure the fish is cooked through (to the center) and eat it immediately after cooking.
  • Do not eat fish that you have stored for more than 12 hours in the refrigerator after cooking, preparing or after opening the package.
  • Wash your hands after handling these foods.
  • When eating out, ask for the fish to be cooked properly: many chefs just grab it, which is not enough to destroy the bacteria.

Be careful of mercury

Another risk to watch out for: mercury. Indeed, our seas and oceans are very polluted and it is therefore not uncommon for fish to ingest mercury. The amount can vary from species to species: the risk of contamination increases if the fish is large or if it is a predator. Farmed fish do not present any risk because their waters are controlled.

The amount of mercury in our food is minimal and is only a problem if it is consumed too much. However, as a preventive measure, we recommend that expectant mothers:

  • Favor small fish.
  • Avoid eating too much of it regularly.
  • Vary as much as possible the species of fish they consume.

What fish can you eat?

During your pregnancy, you will therefore have to say goodbye to raw fish: no sushi, sashimi, or fish carpaccio for nine months, therefore. It is also best to avoid smoked fish. On the other hand, you can eat fatty fish, rich in omega-3s, if it is well cooked. That is to say, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, eel. Tuna is an oily fish but due to its size, it may contain mercury: consume it in moderation.

The risk of listeriosis also exists with shellfish and crustaceans. However, they are not to be banned from your diet, but make sure that they are well cooked before consuming them. If you are an oyster lover, you will have to do without them if you like them fresh (and therefore raw). You can consume them if they are au gratin in the oven.