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? What are the risks and benefits? For lots more science backed information about what to eat during pregnancy, I’ve got an ebook that has all the information you need for ‘eating during pregnancy‘ available via my shop, or for Kindle here.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids, are essential fats that can’t be produced in your body and have to be eaten in your diet. These include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). There is some evidence that omega 3 supplementation may reduce your risk of premature delivery, but more research is needed before it is a national recommendation for pregnant women to take this.

Omega 3 supplements often contain vitamin A, which should be avoided in pregnancy. Instead eat oily fish which is naturally high in omega 3.

Salmon is a great source of Omega 3

Oily fish such as salmon is a great source of Omega 3. 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

Smoked or raw salmon, are 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

Mercury has been associated with risk of damage to the developing foetal nervous system. So while they contain beneficial omega 3, it’s a matter of balancing the risk with that from pollutants. Salmon generally is lower in pollutants than the bigger fish that are higher up the food chain and more likely to concentrate pollutants. Therefore, you should avoid fish such as swordfish, shark and marlin in pregnancy.

Raw fish and shellfish carry a risk of food poisoning. If the items are frozen first though, this substantially reduces the risk but doesn’t eliminate it. If you are concerned that the items have been incorrectly stored, or are not from a reputable supplier, then best to avoid.

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 that smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy.

For lots more science backed information on what to eat during pregnancy, I’ve got an ebook that has all the information you need for ‘eating during pregnancy‘ available via my shop, or for Kindle here.

The book full of information based on the latest guidance and scientific evidence, with practical tips to help you eat for health during pregnancy. Imagine having the confidence that you are making the best possible choices to feed you and your baby.

Knowing what is safe to eat and drink in pregnancy can be a complete minefield. Women are often given such over-cautious advice from well-meaning health professionals that it can be difficult to understand what you can actually enjoy whilst you are pregnant.

Dr Harriet Holme has written a fantastic, and extremely comprehensive guide for anyone navigating pregnancy. She covers topics that often get confused, by giving up-to-date evidence to clear up myths around nutrition.

I would love all my patients to get a chance to read this guide, which can empower parents-to-be to feel able to make positive choices rather than feeling restricted and misunderstood.

Foreword by NHS Obstetrician Dr Brooke Vandermolen, @theOBGYNmum.
safe to eat salmon safe in pregnancy

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