The Final Word On Whether Or Not You Can Eat Fish When You’re Pregnant

Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh.
Although pregnant women have long been told to stay away from certain types of fish while they are expecting, trying to figure out what you should and shouldn't eat can be tricky. Thankfully, the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have released a list of guidelines to help you know exactly what's safe to eat and what to avoid. The guidelines, released on Wednesday, are geared towards pregnant and breast-feeding women as well as parents of young children. In particular, the FDA advises pregnant and breast-feeding women to avoid seven types of fish that are high in mercury (which has been linked to birth defects): tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, marlin, and king mackerel. However, the FDA also included a list of seafood labeled as the "best choices," health-wise — including salmon, canned tuna, tilapia, anchovy, cod, shrimp, and crab. The list of "good choice" options include halibut, mahi-mahi, and Chilean sea bass. The FDA recommends 2-3 servings of the "best choices" per week and one serving of the "good choices" fish per week. “It’s all about eating and enjoying fish of the right kind and in the right amounts,” Elizabeth Southerland, PhD, EPA director for water science and technology, said in a press release. So if the prospect of giving up sushi during pregnancy is devastating for you, don't worry — just be sure you're buying the safest kinds of fish.

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