Eating Seafood While Pregnant
The Seafood Pregnancy Diet Guide
What to Eat While Pregnant
When you are pregnant, aim to eat a variety of cooked seafood 2-3 times each week.
Eating seafood during pregnancy is a good way to get the nutrients you and your baby need. Seafood is one of the only foods rich in a healthy oil called omega-3 DHA. Omega-3 DHA is needed for your baby’s brain and eye development.
Other nutrients found in seafood—including protein, calcium, vitamin D and iron—help build bones and muscles. This guide will show you tasty ways to meet your seafood needs so you and your baby can maximize the many benefits of fish.
Both words are used in this guide to mean all seafood, including fish and shellfish.
Why Fish is Healthy for the Baby
The most popular types of seafood in the U.S. are all safe and healthy to eat during pregnancy.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can eat both white (albacore) and light canned/pouched tuna as part of a variety of their 2-3 servings of seafood each week.
Top 10 Species of Seafood Consumed by Americans
- Canned/Pouched tuna
Fish to Avoid When Pregnant
The following fish should be avoided during pregnancy because they are higher in mercury, which can be harmful at very high levels.
- King mackerel
- Bigeye tuna (found in sushi)
- Orange roughy
Most Americans do not typically eat these fish, and there are many other seafood options you can enjoy.
What to Eat When Pregnant
To get the nutrients you and your baby need, it’s important to eat a variety of foods that are full of vitamins and minerals.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid shows examples of delicious and healthy food choices, including seafood.
Experts recommend the following weight gain for moms-to-be:
Research shows that moms-to-be who eat fish 2-3 times each week during pregnancy have babies who reach these milestones more quickly:
Most women only need about 300-400 extra calories a day during pregnancy.
These extra calories should come from a variety of healthy foods, like the following snack examples:
Sushi While Pregnant
Can You Eat Sushi While Pregnant?
Sushi is generally safe to eat during pregnancy—but stick with sushi that includes vegetables and cooked seafood. As with cooked fish, pregnant women should avoid sushi that contains shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, bigeye tuna, marlin and orange roughy. To reduce your risk of getting sick from food during pregnancy, do not eat any raw meats or raw seafood.
There are many kinds of cooked sushi. Just be sure to ask your server for cooked sushi and look for the “cooked” sticker when buying sushi from a grocery store.
Eating Out While Pregnant
Seafood can be a healthy choice when eating out. If you’re still learning how to cook fish at home, work towards the goal of eating seafood 2-3 times each week by ordering it at restaurants. In addition to cooked sushi, look for the following popular and healthy seafood menu items:
- Seafood tacos
- Fish burgers and sliders
- Seafood pasta
- Shrimp stir-fry
- Mac-n-cheese with lobster, tuna or salmon
- Grilled fish kabobs
Foods to Buy While Pregnant
Grocery shopping and Meal Planning for the Expecting Mom
Seafood contains nutrients you and your baby need, whether it is fresh, frozen, or canned. Frozen fish is quickly frozen at its peak freshness, meaning that the nutrients are sealed in. Thaw fish properly for optimal safety, texture and taste.
When you buy cold items, like fresh fish, purchase them last so they stay cool longer.
It’s best to thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator overnight. If you need to thaw quickly, place frozen seafood in a sealed plastic bag and immerse in cold water for a short time.
Ideas for Lunch, Dinner and Snacks
Download the Seafood Pregnancy Diet Guide!
Several pregnancy and nutrition experts came together to share the advice found in this guide. We encourage you to download the guide for more information on
the benefits of seafood and pregnancy nutrition.
Click to download The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Eating Seafood.