Can I Eat Smoked Salmon when Pregnant?

I’m often asked can I eat smoked salmon when pregnant? Is it safe to eat smoked salmon pregnancy?

Oily fish contains Omega fatty acids, that cannot be produced by your body, so it is essential that you eat them in your diet. It is recommended that you eat between one to two portions of oily fish per week, but no more because of the risk of contamination with pollutants.

Enjoy

White fish and shellfish are safe to eat without any restriction on limit. Smoked or raw fish, are also safe to enjoy if they have been frozen first, as this kills off any potential parasites. Fish farmed in the UK and EU are very unlikely to contain parasitic worms anyway, but there is that risk with wild fish.

Sushi sold in supermarkets will have been ready-made in a factory where any raw fish is frozen beforehand. Restaurants that buy in ready-made sushi, will also use fish that has been frozen.

Avoid

Bigger fish that are higher up the food chain are more likely to concentrate pollutants such as mercury, so avoid swordfish, shark and marlin during pregnancy. Also limit how much tuna you eat to no more than two fresh tuna steaks (280g cooked / 340g raw) or 4 medium sized cans per week (when drained approximately 560g in total). Mercury has been associated with risk of damage to the developing foetal nervous system. So while they contain beneficial omega 3, its a matter of balancing the risk with that from pollutants. Salmon generally is lower in pollutants than the bigger fish mentioned above.

Raw or lightly cooked wild fish of shellfish do pose a risk of parasitic worms. Raw fish and shellfish carry a risk of food poisoning. If the items are frozen first though, this substantially reduces the risk.

Summary

Smoked salmon using fish that has been farmed in the UK or EU is very unlikely to contain parasitic worms. This risk is further reduced by freezing the fish before eating it. Smoked salmon and sushi in the UK, that have been frozen are safe to eat. Smoked salmon does contain nearly ten times the quantity of salt compared with fresh salmon, so alternate fresh fish for your twice weekly omega 3 intake. Enjoy in moderation!

I hope that clearly answered if that smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy.

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If you found this information useful, check out my other articles on what to eat during pregnancy including what to eat during pregnancy.

For even more science backed information on what to eat during pregnancy, I’ve got a 44 page ebook that has all the information you need for ‘eating during pregnancy‘, also available on Kindle here.

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