Pregnancy Confession: I Eat LOTS of Sushi

sushi close up
Flickr Photo by Zitona
Yes, we know we're not supposed to but sometimes we do ... Please don't tell our OBGYNs.

This week's confession:

I'm pregnant and I eat lots and lots of tuna and sushi. LOVE IT. I avoid any with raw fish, that's the concern, I believe. Raw meat and fish have more mercury.


Why this is bad:

It's only sort of bad. Not for eating fish at all, but for not checking the mercury rating for the type of fish being eaten. This varies. Some fish in restricted portions are okay, even really good for you and your baby.

Cooking does not remove mercury, so nevermind the raw fish issue (though bacteria from uncooked meat is a different story entirely). Tuna is actually a pretty good thing to eat when pregnant, as long as it's mostly the chunk light kind, which has relatively low levels of mercury.

Sushi, on the other hand, is made from tuna steaks -- higher levels depending on where it was farmed -- so naturally you'll want to eat less of that type of fish.

The Environmental Protection Agency only says to reduce your portions of fish when pregnant to lower your risk for mercury, because goodness knows, lots of things contain mercury, known to damage the nervous system.

The general rule is that the bigger and older the fish, the more mercury. So it's probably best to avoid shark, swordfish, klng mackerel, or tile fish when pregnant or trying to conceive.

The Food and Drug Administration's guideline is as follows: No more than 12 oz, or about 2-3 servings of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly. "Highest" mercury fish should be avoided and "high" mercury fish should be kept to only three 6-oz servings per month.

You can find the mercury rating for a specific fish at the U.S. Food and Safety Administration's Fish and Shellfish Website or at the American Pregnancy Association.

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This is just general advice. As with anything pregnancy related, check with your doctor or health professional first.

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