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"Can I Eat Sushi During My Pregnancy?"

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

... and why does a Postpartum Doula even care?

I know this is a very specific topic, and some might be thinking that as a Postpartum Doula I’m stepping outside my remit, BUT this is the sort of question that I get asked a lot during my prenatal visits and calls

BUT why would a pregnant client ask their Postpartum Doula about food & nutrition during pregnancy? Aren’t Postpartum Doula’s just specialists in postpartum and infant care?

ANSWER: We absolutely are specialists in postpartum and infant care (in fact Kathy is a certified Postpartum Doula and Infant Care Specialist with @prodoula).

BUT we also pride ourselves on bringing EVIDENCE BASED SUPPORT AND ADVICE to parents no matter where they are on their journey.

In particular Kathy focuses on the first 1000 days of a new babies life - that’s from conception to 2 years old - my focus is making sure parents are empowa’d with evidence based advice and support from conception

So, yeah, I help them make nutritional choices during pregnancy …. because it is literally the building blocks of life!

So back to the question - can you eat sushi during pregnancy?

Simple fact 1

Raw fish has a much higher risk factor of listeria.

Simple fact 2

Fish (raw or cooked) contains some fantastic nutritional elements.

Simple fact 3

Raw fish doesn’t contain some contaminants that form when fish is fried or grilled. E.g. fish cooked under high heat may contain varying amounts of heterocyclic amines and frying fish may reduce the amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In short, certain aspects of nutritional quality may degrade when fish is cooked.

CONFUSED? Yeah, I know. This is when I help pregnant parents to think about their own lifestyle to help them make a decision

1️⃣ How important is Sushi to your lifestyle?

2️⃣ Do you only go to reputable fishmongers or restaurants?

3️⃣ Can you avoid Mondays because there is usually no fishing on Sundays?

4️⃣ Do you ask for a fish from the cold room and not from the stall?

5️⃣ Can you choose a wild fish, not farmed?

6️⃣ Can you ensure that you do not break the cold chain?*

*What's the cold chain? Place fresh fish in a cool bag with ice packs, get home immediately, place immediately in the freezer, thaw in a refrigerator (not open air), cut and prepare fish just before serving

IMPORTANT freezing does not destroy listeria but would significantly reduce the risk of contamination. Of course, a pregnant parent is the only one to take the decision or not.

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