Is Fish Good For Pregnant Women?

Is Fish Good For Pregnant Women?
October 30, 2020 Nicola
Is fish good for pregnant women?

Is fish good for pregnant women?

Absolutely! We look at what you should know about including fish in your pregnancy diet and what fish to avoid when pregnant.
First and foremost, fish has long been associated with many health benefits, whether you’re pregnant or not.  The NHS recommends that a healthy, balanced diet should include at least two portions of fish every week …so why should pregnant women include fish in their diet and what do you need to be aware of?

    • Oil- rich fish is an excellent source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) an omega-3 fatty acid which is essential for your baby’s brain development during pregnancy and early childhood.  DHA also provides positive benefits for your baby’s heart health and vision. Think sardines, mackerel, trout and salmon.


    • White fish such as haddock, cod, plaice, sole, flounders or pollack are rich in lean protein and other nutrients and low in fat, making them a healthy alternative to red meats.


    • Fish is good for healthy bone development. Nutrients present in fish, such as protein, calcium and Vitamin D are all critical in helping your baby to develop strong, healthy bones.


    • Some fish can contain mercury, which could have a detrimental effect on your baby’s nervous system. Avoid shark, marlin and swordfish and limit your intake of tuna – although the NHS suggests that the health benefits of tuna outweigh the risk and recommends limiting your intake to ‘no more than 4 cans a week’.


    • Shellfish , such as prawns, crab, squid and mussels also supply a variety of nutrients and fatty acids but make sure any shellfish are thoroughly cooked to reduce your risk of food poisoning. If in doubt, don’t eat it!  Mussels that are open before you cook them or closed after they’ve been cooked are a definite ‘no no’.  Avoid oysters or fresh sushi!


    • Studies have shown that eating plenty of fish during pregnancy can help protect your baby against eczema. Research showed that babies born to mums with high levels of Vitamin B3 during pregnancy were up to a third less likely to suffer from eczema.  Fish is one of the best sources of Vitamin B3.


    • Don’t overlook the benefits of canned fish and don’t worry about fishing out the bones (no pun intended!). Eating the bones of canned fish, such as sardines, tinned salmon and tinned pilchards is a useful source of calcium, good for developing strong bones and teeth. Try mixing tinned fish thoroughly with mashed potatoes and a pinch of cayenne pepper or herbs to make delicious fish cakes.  Form them into flat patties, roll in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and cook them on a lightly oiled baking tray in the oven


    • Steamed, baked or grilled fish is a healthier option than fried fish. Fried fish, especially if it’s cooked in batter will have a much higher fat content. Whilst it’s a delicious occasional treat, fish and chips doesn’t really tick the ‘healthy eating’ box.


    • Don’t stop eating fish once your baby is born! Fish is good for breast-feeding mums too, continuing to maintain and increase the levels of essential omega-3 in breast milk


    • Fish is fine to feed to babies too. Once you start weaning introducing fish to your baby’s diet will help to maintain levels of essential omega-3 along with other nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.  Ensure the fish is thoroughly cooked and all bones removed before mashing it up with cooked vegetables to make a tasty puree.


Is fish good for pregnant women?