Salmon During Pregnancy - Health Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions, And Is It Safe

Is Salmon safe to eat during pregnancy?

Salmon is one of the most nutritious, versatile, and delicious foods that is loaded with a variety of nutrients. It is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and B vitamins. This fish contains less saturated fats than most red meat and contains high protein that helps to gain a healthy weight during pregnancy. Salmon is quite low in mercury and contains an ample amount of omega-3 fatty acids that contribute to the baby's neurological and visual development. You can have them during pregnancy but in limited quantities. This article explains everything you need to know about having salmon during the pregnancy period including its health benefits, side effects, and precautions.

Salmon During Pregnancy - Health Benefits, Risks

Health Benefits of eating Salmon during pregnancy

Salmon is packed with vital nutrients that are essential for the proper growth and development of the fetus. Eating salmon during pregnancy provides you numerous health benefits. Some of the amazing health benefits provided by salmon include :

1. Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon is rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Consumption of these fatty acids in an adequate amount is vital during pregnancy as they're critical building blocks of fetal and retina. These fatty acids are crucial for fetal neurodevelopment and can only be obtained from the diet. They help to reduce inflammation, lowers blood pressure, improves eyesight, promote good cardiovascular health, and also decrease risk factors for diseases. They also play a major role in determining the length of gestation and helps to prevent perinatal depression. So, to meet your Omega-3 fatty acids requirement it's good to include salmon in your pregnancy diet.

2. High in B Vitamins

Salmon is a good source of B vitamins which are required for a healthy pregnancy. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) plays a major role in your baby's brain development. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) helps to keep your eyes healthy and your skin glowing and radiant. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) keeps you away from constipation and improves your digestion. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) helps to ease leg cramps, a common complication during pregnancy. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps in your growing baby's brain and nervous system development and immune function. This vitamin also helps to reduce nausea and vomiting. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) helps to reduce your baby's risk for developing birth defects such as Spina Bifida and Neural Tube Defects. This B vitamin is also vital to produce red blood cells. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps to maintain your nervous system. Hence consumption of salmon in pregnancy is beneficial for both the expectant mother and her little one.

3. Prevent Excess Fluid Retention

Salmon has a high content of Potassium. Potassium helps to lower your blood pressure thereby prevent excess fluid retention. This mineral helps to maintain the body's fluid and electrolyte balance and also enhances optimal fetal growth. The regular intake of potassium-rich foods during pregnancy is essential to prevent leg cramping. A pregnant woman needs to take 4700 milligrams of potassium daily. Hence, consuming salmon during pregnancy is extremely beneficial to maintain maternal health.

4. Prevent Postpartum Depression

Consumption of salmon on a regular basis reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression, protects fetal brain health during pregnancy. The high DHA content present in salmon help to prevent postpartum depression. 

5. Good for Heart Health

Salmon contains an ample amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can't make these fatty acids but they play essential roles in your body. They lower your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases including heart attack and stroke. So, consumption of salmon during pregnancy helps to keep your blood pressure level under control thereby keeps your heart healthy.

6. Prevent Premature Delivery

Salmon is a rich source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) which is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. This fatty acid helps to boost your baby's neurological and visual development. It helps in the development of your baby's brain, eye, and nervous system. Some studies show that DHA helps to lower the risk of premature delivery. It also helps to reduce your risk of developing heart diseases. Some studies suggest that getting enough DHA during pregnancy helps to avert preterm labor, ensures a healthy birth weight, and even prevents postpartum depression. So, it's good to include salmon in your diet during and after pregnancy.

7. Fight Inflammation

Salmon contains astaxanthin which is an antioxidant that gives it red pigment. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This antioxidant reduces the oxidation of LDL (the "bad") cholesterol and increases the level of HDL (the "good") cholesterol thereby lowers the risk of heart diseases. Astaxanthin with omega-3 fatty acid helps to protect the brain and nervous system from inflammation. It also helps to prevent your skin from damage and makes your skin look radiant. Consumption of salmon helps to fight inflammation which can lead to most chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Therefore, eating salmon during pregnancy is beneficial as it can help lower inflammation which may reduce the risk factor for several diseases.

8. Good Source of Protein

Salmon is an excellent source of protein which plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy. This fish is very low in saturated fat and high in protein. Taking a protein-rich diet is essential to maintain maternal health and to develop a healthy fetus. Protein is required to build up your baby's soft tissue, the placenta, and your red blood cells. It also helps to form your baby's bones, hairs, nails, and organs. Some studies suggest that protein intake during pregnancy is directly linked to birth weight. Pregnant women who take a proper amount of protein during their pregnancy period gave birth to a healthy baby with higher birth weight whereas those pregnant women who didn't take an adequate amount of protein gave birth to a baby with low birth weight. Low birth weight can lead to various complications including jaundice, increased infection risk, and respiratory distress syndrome. Protein is not just important for the good health of the fetus but it is also essential to maintain maternal health as well. It helps to keep the blood sugar levels under control thereby lowers the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Pregnant women who eat an adequate amount of protein gain more muscle and less fat, so they're less likely to gain excess weight. The high protein content of salmon contributes to bone health by supporting muscle strength. A pregnant woman needs to take 60 to 75 grams of protein daily. So, eating salmon is a good option to get enough protein during pregnancy.

9. Healthy Thyroid Function

Salmon contains Selenium which is considered a trace mineral means your body needs a small amount of it but these low levels of selenium provide you powerful health benefits during pregnancy. It plays a key role in metabolism. This mineral helps to protect your body against infection and chronic diseases. It also helps to regulate hormones produced by your thyroid. Selenium helps to maintain healthy thyroid function. It is a powerful antioxidant that works to prevent cell damage in your body. This cell damage can lead to oxidative stress which is linked to cancer and heart diseases. Hence, getting an adequate amount of selenium is essential to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

10. Packed with vital vitamins and minerals

Salmon is fully loaded with essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B, and D and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, and selenium. Your body needs these vitamins and minerals to nourish your baby during your pregnancy period. All these vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants play a major role in the growth and development of a healthy fetus. Hence, consumption of salmon during your pregnancy period helps to promote the overall development of the fetus.

11. Improve Brain Function

Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 along with selenium, and choline. All of these nutrients contribute to improving brain function, cognition, and neurological health. 

12. Improve Bone Health

Salmon contains an ample amount of vitamin D and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Both of these nutrients help to improve bone health and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle. 

Side Effects of eating Salmon during pregnancy

Salmon is good to eat while pregnant as it is a great source of vital nutrients. But remember that it is not healthy to eat it daily during pregnancy as it can contain moderate levels of mercury and pollutants. 

1. High Levels of Mercury

Overconsumption of salmon can increase mercury levels in your system which can be harmful to the developing fetus. High levels of mercury can damage many parts of your body including the kidney, lungs, nervous, and immune system. It can also cause hearing and vision problems. 

2. Inhibit Fetal Development

Salmon may contain PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) which are highly toxic and can pose serious health risks to fetuses and can inhibit fetal development. These chemicals are harmful to the expectant mother as well. So, don't consume salmon in excess amount.

Ways to include Salmon in your pregnancy diet

There are several ways to prepare salmon and including it in your pregnancy diet. Here are some quick ways to include salmon in your pregnancy diet :
  • You can add salmon to your pasta or rice dishes.
  • It can be broiled, poached, grilled, or baked. You can flavor salmon with spices, herbs, and lemon.
  • You can put salmon in your salads.

Precautions to be taken while eating Salmon during pregnancy

Some of the precautions that you should take while eating salmon during pregnancy are :
  • Always buy salmon from a trusted source. If you're planning to eat it at a restaurant make sure to go to a reputable one.
  • Make sure salmon is well cooked as undercooked or raw salmon may cause a bacterial infection which can cause complications for you or your baby during pregnancy.
  • Avoid eating sushi or sashimi as it contains raw seafood which can put you at a risk for foodborne illness or bacterial infection.
  • Remove the skin of salmon and then make sure that it is well cooked.
  • Avoid eating uncooked cold-smoked salmon while pregnant. Cold-smoked salmon can increase the risk of listeriosis which can lead to illness, miscarriage, low-birth weight, meningitis, premature delivery, and even stillbirth in some cases.
  • Avoid eating salmon if you have an allergic reaction to it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I eat salmon during pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat salmon during your pregnancy period as it is highly nutritious and provides numerous benefits to both the expectant mother and her growing baby.

2. Is it safe to eat salmon during pregnancy?

Yes, salmon is safe to eat while pregnant but make sure to eat it in a moderate amount.

3. Can a pregnant woman eat smoked salmon?

Smoked salmon is low in calories and contains a high content of protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is high in sodium so eat it in limited quantity. Hot-smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy but make sure that it is heated to 165

4. Is it safe to eat canned salmon during pregnancy?

Yes, canned salmon is considered safe to consume during pregnancy.

5. Can pregnant women eat Shelf-stable salmon?

Yes, shelf-stable salmon is safe to consume while pregnant.

6. Is cold-smoked salmon safe to eat while pregnant?

Cold-smoked salmon is heated at a low temperature and it is not fully cooked. So, it's better to avoid this fish during pregnancy as eating such undercooked or raw fish during pregnancy can cause viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections. Such infection can pass directly to the fetus through the placenta. That's why cold-smoked salmon is unsafe to consume while pregnant. 

Salmon is good to consume while pregnant but in moderation. Overconsumption of this fish can cause adverse effects on your health. So, always remember to eat it in limited quantities. Consult your doctor before adding salmon to your pregnancy diet.

Hope this article helped you. Best wishes on your pregnancy. Have a happy and safe pregnancy. May God bless you and your child with good health and loads of happiness.

Watch this video on our YoutTube Channel 'Mother-Baby Care' to know all about having salmon in pregnancy.

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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