Fish and Shellfish in Pregnancy

fish-shellfish-pregnancy3 Safety Tips- By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.



  1. DO NOT EAT: They contain high levels of mercury.
    • Shark
    • Swordfish
    • King Mackerel
    • Tilefish
    • Marlin
    • Orange Roughy
    • Tuna (bigeye, Ahi)
  2. Eat at at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. It is recommended that pregnant women eat
    8 oz. of fish and shellfish per week due to the health benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids.
    • Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, and catfish.
    • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore per week.
  3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.

    • If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.

Information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If you would like more information about the levels in the various types of fish you eat, see the FDA food safety website at or the EPA website at