Fish Consumption Guide: Pre, During, & Post Pregnancy

Feb 09, 2022

Fish Consumption Guide: Pre, During, & Post Pregnancy

The last trimester of pregnancy and first six months of postnatal life are critical periods for the baby to accumulate DHA in the brain and retina.2

Women of child-bearing age and pregnant women are advised to consume 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of lower-mercury fish every week, according to the latest dietary guidelines for Americans.3

DHA, or docosahexanoic acid, is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps support the healthy growth and development of a baby’s brain and eyes.1†

Fatty fish, such as salmon, halibut and sardines are excellent dietary sources of the omega-3 DHA.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided recommendations on fatty fish consumption in pregnant and breastfeeding women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviewed and agreed with these recommendations.

For women of childbearing age, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women:

  • Eat 2 to 3 servings of fish per week from the “Best Choices” list OR 1 serving from the “Good Choices” list.
  • Eat a variety of fish.
  • If you eat fish caught by family or friends, check for fish advisories. If there is no advisory, eat only one serving and no other fish that week.*

Best Choices

Eat 2 to 3 servings a week

Good Choices

Eat 1 serving a week

Choices to Avoid

Highests mercury levels

·       Anchovy

·       Atlantic mackerel

·       Black sea bass

·       Cod

·       Salmon

·       Sardine

·       Sole

·       Tilapia

·       Trout, freswhater

·       Tuna, canned light

·       Whitefish

·       Chilean sea bass

·       Grouper

·       Halibut

·       Mahi mahi

·       Snapper

·       Spanish mackerel

·       Tuna, albacore/white tuna

·       Tune, yellowfin

·       King mackerel

·       Marlin

·       Orange roughy

·       Shark

·       Swordfish

·       Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico)

·       Tuna, bigeye

 

Most Americans do not meet these fish intake recommendations and consume about 4 ounces of fish per week. The fish oil as DHA in Nature Made Prenatal + DHA and Postnatal + DHA softgels, as well as all Nature Made Fish Oil supplements, undergoes state-of-the-art purification processes to remove mercury. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should take a prenatal multivitamin supplement with the recommended 200 mg DHA per day to ensure they are meeting their recommended intake to support baby’s development.

*Some fish caught by family and friends, such as larger carp, catfish, trout and perch, are more likely to have fish advisories due to mercury or other contaminants. State advisories will tell you how often you can safely eat those fish.

State-of-the-art purification processes remove PCBs, dioxins and furans, and mercury to ensure purity levels below 0.09 ppm, 2 ppt WHO TEQs, and 0.1 ppm respectively.

  1. Koletzko B, Lien E, Agostini C, et al. The roles of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy, lactation, and infancy: review of current knowledge and consensus recommendations. J Perinat Med. 2008;36(1):5-14.
  2. Guesnet P, Alessandri JM. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the developing central nervous system (CNS) - Implications for dietary recommendations. Biochimie. 2011;93(1):7-12
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
  4. Advice about eating fish, from the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration revised fish advice, availability. Fed Regist 2017;82:6571-6574. Available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/19/2017-01073/advice-about-eating-fish-from-the-environmental-protection-agency-and-food-and-drug-administration. 
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Advisory: Update on Seafood Consumption During Pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. January 2017. Available at: https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Practice-Advisories/ACOG-Practice-Advisory-Seafood-Consumption-During-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false.
  6. Papanikolaou Y, Brooks J, Reider C, et al. U.S. adults are not meeting recommended levels for fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake: results of an analysis using observational data from NHANES 2003-2008. Nutr J. 2014;13:31.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.