Things You Should Know Before Eating Lake Perch While Pregnant

Lake perch is a safe choice for pregnant women due to low mercury levels. Other freshwater fish like sunfish and bluegill are also considered safe options.

can i eat lake perch while pregnant

Eating fish while pregnant is tricky. Fish has nutrients for a baby’s brain, but some types have harmful mercury. This post helps pregnant women navigate fish choices, specifically lake perch.

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Fish to Avoid During Pregnancy

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The mercury content in fish varies based on their species, size, habitat, and diet. Large predatory fish, such as swordfish, king mackerel, and shark, tend to have higher mercury levels because they consume smaller fish, thereby accumulating their mercury content. Other fish known for high mercury concentrations include certain types of tuna (like albacore), marlin, and grouper.

Here are the 7 types of fish that should be avoided due to their high levels of mercury:

  • Swordfish: This large predator fish is known for its high mercury content.
  • King Mackerel: Another predator fish, King Mackerel also has high mercury levels.
  • Shark: All types of sharks are best to be avoided due to their high mercury content.
  • Albacore Tuna: Albacore, or white tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna.
  • Marlin: This large fish is also on the high-mercury list.
  • Grouper: Both Atlantic and Pacific species of grouper have been found to contain high levels of mercury.
  • Orange Roughy: Known for its long lifespan, orange roughy accumulates a significant amount of mercury over time.

Fish to Eat Safely During Pregnancy

Happy pregnant woman cooks salmon in the kitchen

While avoiding fish with high mercury content is crucial during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that all seafood is off the table. Many types of fish are low in mercury and high in essential nutrients. Fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, and herring are excellent choices because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids but low in mercury.

Other safe options include canned light tuna, pollock, catfish, and anchovies. Shellfish like shrimp, crab, and scallops are also generally low in mercury. For those who prefer freshwater fish, varieties like lake perch, bluegill, and sunfish are considered safe. However, it’s always a good idea to check local advisories about the safety of fish caught in local waters, as mercury and other pollutant levels can vary.

Benefits of Eating Fish During Pregnancy

Grilled salmon salad with tomato, feta cheese, lettuce and so on and hand approaching.

Eating fish during pregnancy provides several health benefits. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, particularly DHA, play a vital role in the brain and eye development of the fetus. Fish are also a good source of lean protein and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Apart from aiding in brain development, omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Additionally, fish is high in vitamin D, a nutrient that aids calcium absorption and contributes to the growth and development of the baby’s bones. Moreover, eating fish may help increase your intake of iodine, a mineral important for the production of thyroid hormones, which are essential for the baby’s brain development. A 2017 review in The Lancet found that children born to women with low iodine levels during pregnancy had lower IQs and reading scores.

Can you eat lake fish while pregnant?

Bass fishing. Largemouth perch fish jumping with splashing in water

Yes, you can eat certain types of lake fish while pregnant, as long as they are low in mercury. This includes fish like lake perch, sunfish, and bluegill. However, it’s important to check local advisories about the safety of fish caught in local waters because mercury and other pollutant levels can vary depending on the location.

What fish to avoid while pregnant?

Close up of pregnant woman sitting on the sofa refuses delicious slices of cakes and makes stop gesture. Diet during pregnancy concept.

While pregnant, it’s best to avoid large predatory fish like swordfish, king mackerel, and sharks, as they tend to have higher mercury levels. Also, certain types of tuna (like albacore), marlin, grouper, and orange roughy are known for their high mercury content and should be avoided.

What freshwater fish are safe during pregnancy?

Freshwater fish like lake perch, bluegill, and sunfish are generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy. However, always check local advisories about the safety of fish caught in local waters.

Can you eat freshwater bass while pregnant?

While bass is not typically high in mercury, it’s best to limit your consumption because it can contain moderate levels of the toxin. The US Food and Drug Administration suggests that pregnant women can eat up to one serving (approximately 4 ounces) of uncooked bass a week.

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