Why Does Certain Seafood Pose A Risk To Pregnancy? All Useful Advice

The utmost importance to pregnant moms is the nutritional supplement for the best development of their fetus.

This dedicated post of “why does certain seafood pose a risk to pregnancy” gives you firm knowledge about eating seafood during this golden time.

Despite the outstanding benefits of growing a baby’s brain, fish species and shellfish are quite tricky in safe consumption.

Keep reading on to reveal many interesting yet helpful information about them!

Why Does Certain Seafood Pose A Risk To Pregnancy?

Why Does Certain Seafood Pose A Risk To Pregnancy?

Bacteria like E. Coli, Listeria, Vibrio, or Salmonella harboring in seafood is a source of risk for expecting moms.

They are usually found in clams, mussels, oysters, etc., and can cause food poisoning. Besides, mercury content is also a potential risk.

High mercury in fish from them threaten the neurodevelopment of the fetus during pregnancy.

Mercury risks through seafood consumption and its quantity have been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. More seriously, it causes preterm birth and congenital disabilities.

Inevitably, seafood is a concentrated source of valuable nutrients for everybody’s health. There is no doubt that protein, vitamins, minerals, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory Omega-3s boost immunity and fight illness-causing toxins.

Despite the positive influence on health, certain seafood still poses risks to people, particularly the elder, young children, and pregnant women.

More specifically, large ocean predators like tilefish, swordfish, sharks, and king mackerel are kinds of seafood that bring potential risks for pregnancy. 

What Are The Impacts Of Mercury On Pregnant Health?

So, why does certain seafood pose a risk to pregnancy

The fish living in polluted aquatic environments also contain traces of mercury.

While tiny amounts of mercury do not harm most people, pregnant women, and unborn babies are the most vulnerable.

It causes intrauterine growth retardation and slows their development in the early years.

This root cause is also the explanation for why shrimp is not good for pregnant women. Eating certain types of shrimp reduces learning and hearing ability in childhood.

Mercury is a chemical element referred to as Hg, which exists naturally in the air, water, and food.

This naturally occurring element was formed through volcanic activity, rock weathering, mining, smelting, etc.

Mercury exposure mainly occurs through cosmetics, food, and particularly fish.

Predatory fish and any kinds of marine animal that eat other smaller fish have a higher mercury level due to the mercury bioaccumulation processes.

Such adverse effects are serious warnings for women in selecting the kinds and amount of fish.

What Seafood Is Safe While Pregnant?

Seafood provides the richest source of high-quality protein and essential amino acids (EAA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are vital for the physiologic functions in fetuses, fetal brain development, and childhood development.

Nevertheless, expectant moms can not eat all seafood due to high mercury and contaminants in seafood.

Cleaning or cooking is also impossible to reduce the mercury content. Therefore, the type of seafood and the adequate and diverse provision is essential for mom-to-be.

The Federal Agencies have advised on a list of safe fish during pregnancy to protect them from the danger of high mercury levels. Here is the list for you.

Best choice list:

  • Atlantic croaker
  • Anchovy
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Butterfish
  • Centropristis striata
  • Crab
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Clam
  • Crawfish
  • Herring
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Flounder
  • Mullet
  • American & spiny lobster
  • Pacific chub
  • Oyster
  • Mackerel
  • Plaice
  • Pickerel
  • Pollock
  • Scallop
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Sardine
  • Skate
  • Shad
  • Squid
  • Smelt
  • Sole
  • Trout, freshwater
  • Tilapia
  • Canned light, tuna (includes skipjack)
  • Whiting
  • Whitefish

Good choice list

  • Buffalo Fish 
  • Bluefish 
  • Carp Chilean 
  • Grouper Halibut 
  • Patagonian toothfish 
  • Monkfish 
  • Dolphinfish/ Mahi mahi  
  • Rockfish 
  • Snapper 
  • Sablefish 
  • Spanish mackerel 
  • Sheepshead 
  • Striped bass 
  • Tilefish 
  • Tuna, yellowfin 
  • Albacore, tuna/ white tuna, fresh and canned/frozen 
  • Pacific croaker/ White croaker
  • Weakfish/seatrout 

How Much Seafood Is Recommended?

The New York Times also reported that seafood consumed during pregnancy and childhood is highly associated with mental skills.

According to nutritional guidelines, Seafood intake from 8 to 12 ounces per week gains the greatest benefits.

The EPA also recommends eating 2-3 servings per week from the best choice list or one serving from the good choice list. One serving is equal to four ounces.

Observational studies pointed out the most remarkable advantages, such as better school grades and higher verbal I.Q. Score, and lower risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

While understanding “why seafood is not good in pregnancy” and “what seafood is safe while pregnant” empowers you to make informed choices in seafood purchasing, serving amount is also vital for the fetus to get enough nutrients for the best healthy growth and development.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Type Of Fish Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?

Limiting the amount or avoiding the list of high mercury fish pregnancy completely is the best choice for nervous system development.

The risk of mercury toxicity exposure varies from the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the specific type of food.

The bigger the fish is, the higher the mercury level is. The FDA issued the list of what seafood should you avoid when pregnant:

  • King mackerel
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Orange roughy
  • Marlin
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish


1. Is Salmon Good For Pregnancy?

Being rich in DHA, Omega-3s, and, importantly, low mercury content, fully-cooked salmon is the best safety for the unborn baby and pregnant mother.

While hot-smoked salmon heated at 165℉ or shelf-stable forms are still safe, the cold-smoked salmon or waw salmon pose a danger of listeria tapeworm and infections. 

2. Can Pregnant Women Eat Clams? 

Clam is categorized under the EDA’s best choice seafood list, which is also good during pregnancy. Like salmon, the thoroughly cooked calm is the best for moms-to-be.

3.  What Are Other Kinds Of Food You Can Get Protein And Healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids? 

Nuts, seeds, and plant oils are a great protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, which is equivalent to fish oil supplements you obtain from the low mercury fish pregnancy list.

They should be a regular part of the healthy diet. Flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and soybean oil are good for anyone.

Like seafood salad, a healthy breakfast with a mixture of malt o meal, seeds, and milk is ideal for a weekly menu plan.

Wrapping Up

What Seafood Is Safe While Pregnant?

We hope you find the post “Why does certain seafood pose a risk to pregnancy?” informative for providing valuable advice on foods to avoid when pregnant.

The great thumbnail “the bigger and older the fish is, the more dangerous you are” is the easiest for you to select the right food.

Besides, don’t forget to stick with the proper intake in order to reach the maximum nutritional benefits.

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