Is it safe to eat grilled salmon while pregnant?

Fish is one of the best types of foods for the human body. Fish provide essential oils, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. For pregnant women, these nutrients are particularly important. The Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the baby’s developing brain, nervous tissues, and retina. Selenium aids the immune system, and helps to regulate the thyroid, preventing tissue damage. Essential oils help with general body metabolism as well as the development of the baby.

During pregnancy, however, women should be generally cautious about eating fish. Fish can often contain various environmental contaminants that may be damaging to the baby. These can include pesticides, PCBs, and mercury. Some fish are more prone than others to have these environmental contaminants. Fortunately, grilled salmon is on the “good” list. And, as a bonus, salmon are naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids, even when compared with other types of fish.

A variety of governmental organizations, including the FDA, the EPA and state public health organizations have studied salmon in particular. These studies suggest that salmon are among the purest of fish and seafood foods. Some of these organizations even single out salmon as a recommendation for pregnant women.

Other fish that are generally considered safe to eat while pregnant can include herring, pilchard, sardines, farmed trout, catfish, flounder, tilapia, haddock, mahi mahi, perch, cod, and perch. Some fish that are recommended against include raw fish of any kind, shellfish of any type, swordfish, tilefish, bluefish, marlin, shark, northern pike, pickerel, lake whitefish, both small and largemouth bass, bowfin, gar, and king mackerel. Game fish may be all right, but you should check with local health officials or your health care provider before eating these.

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