Q: Is it safe to eat smoked seafood during pregnancy?
A: Smoked seafood and fish contain protein and vitamins A and D, and are also an excellent source of B complex vitamins especially niacin, B12, and B6. They can supply you calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, potassium, iodine and selenium. Smoked seafood is also low in fat and has beneficial omega 3 fatty acids.
However, the only smoked fish and seafood that can be consumed during pregnancy is canned, which is safe. The consumption of the smoked seafood that is not canned is not recommended during pregnancy because it could carry listeria and infect a woman with listeriosis, a potentially dangerous condition during pregnancy.
Mercury poisoning can harm the unborn child's nervous system.
In addition, the sodium content in these foods very high, which could cause harm to mom and baby, causing increased blood pressure or swelling.
Pregnant women should not eat refrigerated smoked seafood like salmon, trout, whitefish, tuna, cod and mackerel unless it is served in a casserole or cooked dish. Such seafood carries the Listeria bacteria which causes Listeriosis. This ailment leads to still births, miscarriage and pregnancy complications. Pregnant women can easily contract the disease because their immune system is weaker during pregnancy.
You can identify such refrigerated smoked seafood from the labels reading 'nova style', 'lox', 'kippered,' 'smoked' or 'jerky.' Such fish is stored in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or is found at deli counters.
Also avoid smoked seafood like shark, swordfish, king Mackerel, white tuna and Tilefish as these varieties are high in methylmercury which is poisonous. Mercury poisoning can harm the unborn child's nervous system. All fish should be limited to only a couple of times a week.