Because of its nutritional value, fish is great to eat when you're pregnant. It contains important fatty acids which are crucial to the development of your baby's brain. So eat away - with a few provisos!
Therefore during your pregnancy it is important that you eat both oil-rich (fatty) fish and white fish once or twice a week. This can be fresh, frozen or from a tin.
But limit your intake of bigger species (like shark, gemfish, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and ling), and fish caught in geothermal waters (like trout) to once a fortnight as these contain higher levels of mercury which affects the development of your baby’s nervous system. Oysters too should be limited because of high cadmium concentrations.
Avoid raw and smoked fish and shellfish too because of the risk of listeria, a deadly bacteria that can travel through contaminated food to pregnant women and their babies, causing death or premature birth.
If you do not eat fish, talk to your LMC about taking fish oil supplements.
The Ministry of Health has a booklet called ‘Eating for Healthy Pregnant Women’ that you can get from your doctor. You can also read it online by going to www.healthed.govt.nz and doing a search on ‘eating’.