What Fish Can I Eat While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Pregnant women often ask about foods that should be avoided during pregnancy and the most common foods that are of concern are fish and shellfish. The FDA and EPA has just released new guidelines on the subject that help answer many of the questions and clarify what fish should be eaten, avoided and how often fish can be safely consumed. These guidelines are also appropriate for women who plan to become pregnant and women who are breastfeeding.

Previous recommendations were vague and encouraged avoiding fish high in mercury and eat fish lower in mercury but never provided a list to help in the selection of healthy choices.

The new guidelines state that as fish is a good source of protein and other essential nutrients that a variety of fish should be included in a healthy diet and eaten 2-3 times a week. A standard portion is 4 oz. They divide the types of fish/shellfish into Best choice, Good choice and types to be Avoided by pregnant women.

Best Choices – eaten 2-3 times per week

Anchovy, Atlantic Croaker, Pacific and Atlantic Mackerel, Black Sea Bass, Butterfish, Catfish, Clams, Cod, Crawfish, Flounder, Haddock, Hake, Herring, Lobster, Mullet, Oysters, Perch, Pickerel, Plaice, Pollock, Salmon, Sardines, Scallops, Shad, Shrimp, Skate, Smelt, Squid, Tilapia, Trout, Light canned Tuna, Whitefish, and Whiting

Good Choices- eaten once a week

Bluefish, Buffalo fish, Carp, Chilean Seabass, Grouper, Halibut, Mahi-Mahi or Dolphinfish, Monkfish, Rockfish, Sablefish, Sheepshead, Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, Striped Bass, Tilefish, Albacore Tuna, Yellow Fin Tuna, Sea Trout, and Pacific Croaker.

Fish to be avoided

King Mackerel, Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Gulf of Mexico Tilefish, and Bigeye Tuna.

Locally caught fish should be eaten no more than once a week and consumers are advised to check with the local fisheries for further information.

Tara Kraf, WHNP

Frisco Women Health


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