What You Need To Know About Safe Seafood Consumption During Pregnancy

November 6, 2023

Once you find out you’re pregnant, you get bombarded with information about what’s good and bad for your baby. Seafood and fish actually fall on both sides. Seafood consumption isn’t just safe for pregnancy, but it’s recommended! However, there are just a few guidelines to follow for the health of you and your growing baby.

Is Seafood Good For Pregnancy? 

Yes! Seafood is a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant women. Your protein needs increase when you’re expecting as protein is vital to support the proper growth of a baby’s tissues and organs, and it plays a role in increasing blood supply (your blood volume goes up by almost 50%!). 

Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for the healthy growth of a baby in the womb. “Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy and early life is crucial for your child’s development. Omega-3 supplementation is linked to improved cognitive development and a lower risk of developmental delay,” explains Healthline

It’s not just beneficial for developing babies, but omega-3s are shown to support mama’s mental health, too. Omega-3s have been known to help reduce depression in perinatal women. 

What Is The Safest Seafood To Eat While Pregnant? 

The safest seafood for pregnant women are choices that are low in mercury. This includes:

When it comes to how much seafood and fish you should eat, the FDA recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume 8-12 ounces per week of a variety of seafood from choices that are lower in mercury. 

Can You Eat Shellfish During Pregnancy?

Shellfish is safe to eat while pregnant, as long as it’s completely cooked – never eat raw shellfish. It’s also important to be selective about where you purchase shellfish (as well as any fish or seafood). Shellfish, like muscles, can contain the toxins of the water they grow in, so buy your shellfish from a reputable source. 

Can You Eat Raw Seafood While Pregnant? 

Raw fish and seafood are advised to be off-limits because they can contain bacteria that are extra harmful to pregnant women due to their lower immune system, “…uncooked fish is more likely to contain parasites and bacteria—including listeria—that can lead to infections and foodborne illnesses and potentially harm your growing baby,” explains The Bump.   

What Fish Should You Avoid While Pregnant? 

The key is to avoid fish and seafood that are high in mercury. Mercury can build up in your bloodstream and damage your baby’s developing brain and nervous system.

As a pregnant woman do not eat:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Canned chunk white tuna (albacore tuna)

According to the NHS, cold-smoked or cured fish should also be excluded from grocery lists, “You should avoid ready-to-eat cold-smoked or cured fish because it could be contaminated with listeria bacteria. These bacteria can cause an infection called listeriosis, which can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth, or make your newborn baby seriously ill.”

Here are four super healthy pregnancy-safe seafood recipes, all using low-mercury ingredients: 

Salade Niçoise avec Slow Roasted Salmon

This is a filling salad that’s perfect for lunch or dinner!

The recipe calls for salmon, a pregnancy-safe fish that’s not only a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids but also calcium. It’s crucial to get enough calcium in your pregnancy diet to support the formation of your baby’s skeleton as well as reduce the chance of you developing osteoporosis later in life. 

You’ll also get fiber through the potatoes in this salad. Getting enough fiber needs to be a priority during pregnancy to avoid constipation, a common pregnancy concern. 

Get the full recipe here

How to Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy

Dietary Remedies for Pregnancy Constipation Relief

Get the Guide

Constipation can be a real pain in the butt. But luckily for you, we’ve got a whole resource that can help provide constipation relief during pregnancy. Download this guide to find out which foods will help get things moving along!

A peek inside:

  • Which foods are best to avoid if you’re experiencing constipation 
  • Recommendations for activities to try and ingredients to buy
  • A list of foods rich in magnesium (a mineral that helps relieve constipation!)
  • The importance of staying hydrated

Hearty Halibut Fish Tacos and Mango Pico de Gallo

Have this recipe on hand for taco night!

Halibut is a super healthy fish because it’s rich in choline. This vitamin helps with a growing baby’s brain development and it may play a role in preventing some common birth defects. “Although the body produces some choline on its own, it doesn’t make enough to meet all your needs while you are pregnant. It’s important to get choline from your diet because it is not found in most prenatal vitamins,” advises the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Mango Pico de Gallo is the ideal accompaniment to these tacos not only because it’s delicious but also due to this fruit’s high content of vitamin C which will boost your immune system. 

Get the full recipe here

Ursula’s Calamari and Cannellini

Yes, you can eat calamari while pregnant! 

This healthy seafood option is paired with tomatoes, which are high in vitamin C and potassium. If you have high blood pressure, focusing on potassium is a good idea as this vitamin is associated with lower levels of pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Get the full recipe here

Gestational Hypertension 101

Diet to Reduce High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Get the Guide

If you’re a mama who is experiencing high blood pressure during your pregnancy, we’ve created a guide just for you. Inside it, you’ll learn what gestational hypertension is, ways to control it, and which ingredients help reduce high blood pressure.

A peek inside:

  • The difference between gestational hypertension and chronic hypertension 
  • Who’s most at risk 
  • Contributing factors that help control high blood pressure
  • Lists of foods that are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, protein, and potassium

Sofishticated Braised Shrimp Puttanesca

You’ll get the protein and omega-3s you need from two fronts in this dish: Anchovies and shrimp

Both of these ingredients are also rich in niacin (vitamin B3), a vitamin that extracts fuel from food to give you energy! So, if you’re feeling fatigued, this is a great recipe to whip out. 

Get the full recipe here

The Best Energy-Boosting Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

A List of Nutrient-Rich Foods for Expecting Moms

Get the Guide

It’s not uncommon to feel exhausted or sleep-deprived during your pregnancy and postpartum period (also known as the fourth trimester). So, if you’re ready to add some energy-boosting ingredients to your daily meals, you’ll find this guide has exactly what you’ve been craving.

A peek inside:

  • Energy-boosting fruits
  • Vivacious vegetables
  • Packed proteins: meat, seafood, dairy
  • Supercharged seeds and nuts
  • Life-giving leafy greens, legumes, and grains
  • A few tips for other ways to naturally boost your energy that don’t include caffeine

Due to the high content of protein, omega-3s, and other essential vitamins, fish and seafood are fantastic and healthy additions to a pregnancy meal plan! Just make sure the seafood you’re opting for is low-mercury and you’re cooking it well.

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Kendra Aronson

Hi Mama, I’m Kendra!

Founder of Pregnant and Hungry, and a mama on a mission to provide other mamas with delicious, nutritious, and easy recipes for pregnancy and motherhood. If that’s what you’re craving, make sure to dig into the blog or learn more about the Pregnant and Hungry subscription.
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Our recipes are developed under the caring guidance of an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) in addition to a Licensed Midwife in good standing with the California Medical Board who’s also a Certified Professional Midwife as granted by the North American Registry of Midwives and a professional Lactation Consultant as certified by the IBCLC (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners). While we refer to trusted sources from peer-reviewed medical journals to information from highly regarded worldwide health institutions, this website is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your personal midwife, doctor, or nutritionist with health questions related to your pregnancy and postpartum journey.

I'm so happy you're here, Mama!


Before getting pregnant with my daughter, I spent a ton of time scouring the internet for easy, pregnancy-safe recipes and nutrition advice tailored to my taste preferences, unique dietary needs, and anticipated ailments—only to realize that no such resource existed. I knew I wasn’t the only one who could benefit from this information, so I set out to create this site from scratch for all of us mamas-to-be!

Today, Pregnant and Hungry is not only the sole searchable collection of pregnancy-friendly recipes on the internet, but our website is packed full of helpful resources and free information for any mama who finds herself asking the same questions I was: what do I need to know about nutrition and pregnancy, and where can I find the answers and recipes?

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