Can I Eat Canned Mackerel When Pregnant?

Eating fresh or canned oil-rich fish (e.g. kippers, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardine, pilchards, tuna) twice or three times a week can be encouraged as part of a healthy balanced diet, in pregnancy and for all the family.

Jennifer Power made herself eat fish while she was expecting her first child. Though she doesn’t particularly enjoy the food, she believed that her baby would benefit from it. She says that her OB/GYN advised her to eat fish because of the omega-3 fats. But Power was also concerned about the mercury risk and pondered how to strike a balance between the health advantages and the actual risk of consuming mercury.

It turns out Power was right to focus on fish. The US Food & Drug Administration published new recommendations in July 2019 that advise pregnant women to eat eight to twelve ounces of low mercury fish each week to get the nutrients they need, particularly the omega-3 fat known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Health Canada’s 2007 recommendations, which call for five ounces of low-mercury fish per week, are higher than this.

Pregnant women may benefit from more DHA than previously believed, according to recent studies, so the Health Canada recommendations may be out of date, says Bruce Holub, professor emeritus in the department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. According to Holub, “two significant international clinical trials found that supplementing with 500 or 800 mgs of DHA per day during pregnancy reduced preterm births by at least 50% and dramatically decreased the need for admission into intensive care units.”

Holub adds that getting enough DHA lowers the risk of having babies who are underweight. Additionally, since DHA crosses the placenta, it benefits the child’s long-term neurological development. “DHA supports the infant’s brain and eye development both during pregnancy and after birth,” the author claims.

Fish is a great source of vitamin D, selenium, iodine, and zinc, which are necessary nutrients for a healthy pregnancy, adds Kristin Brown, a registered dietitian in Fredericton, New Brunswick. A four-ounce serving of fish contains about 25 grams of protein, which helps to meet the daily requirement of 75 to 100 grams for normal fetal growth.

However, according to Brown, some of her expectant clients completely avoid fish out of worry about mercury, a dangerous metal that can harm a developing baby’s brain, nervous system, vision, and motor skills.

As a result of contaminated waterways, fish ingest mercury, and levels of mercury typically rise with fish size, age, and diet. Therefore, a large fish with a long lifespan and a diet rich in smaller fish will accumulate the most mercury. Mercury in waterways is transformed into highly toxic methylmercury, which can cross the blood-brain and placental barriers and is absorbed into the body more readily than inorganic mercury. That means if your mercury intake is extremely high, it may have an impact on a baby’s early brain development (i e. you often eat the fish listed below).

Large, predatory, high-mercury fish like marlin, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and some types of tuna should be avoided by expectant mothers. Before eating any fish you’ve caught in nearby lakes, you should also check fish advisories for mercury levels.

However, you should consume a lot of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines, and char. Cod, haddock, pickerel, tilapia, shrimp, lobster, and scallops are additional low-methylmercury options, but they don’t have as much omega-3 fat. Since both may contain mercury, the decision to purchase wild or farmed fish depends on price, availability, and environmental sustainability.

Power’s OB/GYN’s advice to eat fish encouraged the development of new routines. When she was expecting her second child three years later, she says, “I was a full-fledged fish eater, and I actually came to love the ease and convenience of canned salmon.” And because I eat fish, I believe it has encouraged my children to do the same. ”.

Atlantic mackerel is exceptionally high in vitamin B12, supplying 16.2 micrograms or 269 percent of your daily value. A study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2017, showed evidence that a deficiency in vitamin B12 during pregnancy is also associated with increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.

The Scombridae family of fish, which includes mackerel, inhabits both temperate and tropical seas. Mackerel is well-liked in Japan and is used in sushi because of its robust, rich flavor.

Two key omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA, which work in unison. EPA maintains heart health, inflammatory response and the immune system, while DHA is important for the brain, eyes and nervous system. Omega-3s may also prevent preterm labor and delivery, lower the risk of preeclampsia and increase birth weight.

When you grill fish for dinner, you’ll gain access to a nutritious source of vitamins, good fats, and vital protein. Additionally, that fish contains nutrients necessary for the growth and development of the brain and nervous system of your unborn child if you are pregnant or nursing.

A serving of fish is the amount that fits in the palm of your hand — about 3.5 to 4 ounces for adults and about 2 ounces for children 4 to 7 years of age.

Can I Eat Mackerel During Pregnancy?

Mackerel is generally safe to eat during pregnancy.

Mackerel is an oily fish. In the UK, a maximum of two servings of oily fish are recommended per week during pregnancy (source: NHS). This isn’t the case in other countries, so if you’re in the USA or Australia, then there’s no recommended maximum amount of oily fish you can eat when pregnant.

Always check the mackerel before eating to make sure it is clean and fresh.

Mackerel and other types of fish shouldn’t be consumed raw while expecting. Several types of sushi, including edomae-style sushi, mackerel sashimi, saba, and maki rolls, contain mackerel. If you’re unsure, always check with the restaurant because sometimes it’s marinated but still raw.

Make sure the fish has been fully cooked before eating it if you’re having sushi. Before eating, fish should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145F/63C (source: USDA). Check out our article on sushi safe for pregnant women for more information.

What are the pros and cons of eating seafood during pregnancy?

For your baby’s growth and development, seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, can be a great source of protein, iron, and zinc. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish, can help your baby’s brain development.

However, some seafood, especially large, predatory fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, can have high mercury concentrations. Although most adults aren’t concerned about the mercury in seafood, pregnant women and those who are trying to get pregnant should take extra care. Fish high in mercury can build up in your bloodstream over time if you consume them frequently. A high blood mercury level could harm the developing nervous system and brain of your unborn child.

Pregnant women are advised to consume up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of a variety of mercury-free seafood each week, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thats about two to three servings.

Consume a variety of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, such as:

  • Salmon
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Freshwater trout
  • Pacific mackerel
  • Other safe choices include:

  • Shrimp
  • Pollock
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Canned light tuna
  • Nevertheless, keep your weekly intake of white (albacore) tuna and tuna steaks to 6 ounces (170 grams).


    Can you eat canned fish when pregnant?

    Yes, because canned fish has a number of advantages, including long-term preservation, simple preparation, affordability, and accessibility. For pregnant women, a number of canned fishes prove to be more interesting options and may be consumed at will.

    Is mackerel fish safe during pregnancy?

    Pregnant women should steer clear of large, predatory, high-mercury fish, such as marlin, orange roughy, shark, king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and some varieties of tuna. Before eating any fish you’ve caught in nearby lakes, you should also check fish advisories for mercury levels.

    How many tins of mackerel can I eat a week pregnant?

    Because it also contains a lot of mercury, limit your consumption of tuna to no more than two fresh steaks or four medium cans per week. Eat no more than two portions of oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, and pilchards) per week because they are contaminated.

    Can you eat mackerel when pregnant NHS?

    More than two portions of oily fish per week, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring, should be avoided when you’re pregnant because they may contain pollutants (toxins). Salmonella contamination exists in some raw or undercooked eggs, so you should steer clear of them.

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