7 Fish to Avoid During Pregnancy

Congratulations on you pregnancy! There is so much to know about eating well for a healthy pregnancy, but the number one question that comes up is, "Can I eat fish?"


In the past, mixed messages came out from nutrition authorities leaving women confused and avoiding fish altogether. However, it's important to know that the recommendation is to eat 2-3 servings of fish per week during pregnancy.

Serving Size

A serving of fish is not a lot. Typically, a serving size is 4 oz. You can estimate 4 oz. by choosing a filet that's about the size of the palm of your hand.

1 serving = 4 oz = the size of the palm of your hand

Importance of Fish in the Diet

Fish is important for the baby's brain development and growth. It provides vitamins, minerals, and lean protein that are especially important during pregnancy to ensure both mom and baby are healthy.

Fish to Eat Most Often

The best fish choices during pregnancy include:

  • Salmon

  • Canned, light tuna*

  • Sardines

  • Herring

  • Fresh-water trout

  • Atlantic mackerel*

These fish have the most omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to neuro-development of the baby. They can also help the mother's iron stores and cardiovascular, eye, brain, and mental health(1).

Fish to Avoid

However, there is the potential for mercury poisoning from bigger fish and the FDA advises pregnant women avoid these fish:

  • Bigeye tuna

  • Gulf of Mexico Tilefish

  • Swordfish

  • Shark

  • Orange Roughy

  • Marlin

  • King Mackerel

Other Fish

You can refer to the FDA chart below for how often you should eat other types of fish.

For help planning nutrition during your pregnancy, you can book an appointment with a Registered Dietitian at ZESTNutritionService.com.

(1) U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2018). Questions and Answers from the FDA/EPA Advice on What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know About Eating Fish. FDA.gov.


(2) National Institutes of Health. (2018). Omega-3 Fatty Acids. NIH.gov. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/#h7

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