Is it Okay to Eat Bass When Pregnant?

Grilled Fish Fillet and Salad
Grilled bass on a plate with vegetables. (Image: mastermilmar/iStock/Getty Images)

Consuming a healthy and balanced diet is vital for maintaining good health during your pregnancy. During this time, you have to take special care of your diet. There are a lot of essential nutrients to help meet the growing needs of your baby. Most foods are safe to consume when you're pregnant, but seafood, especially tuna and sea bass, should be avoided. Discuss your diet with your doctor and find out which foods are unhealthy for a pregnant woman.

Exposure to Mercury

One of the reasons why you should not eat bass during pregnancy is potential mercury poisoning. Most fish, including bass, contain high levels of mercury. According to the National Resources Defense Council, both striped and black bass have moderate amounts of mercury in it. The website also states that you should consume six or less number of servings in a month to prevent mercury poisoning. When pregnant, avoid even small serving sizes of this fish.

Exposure to Listeria

Smoked seafood, or seafood that is raw, can contain disease causing pathogens such as listeria. Refrigerated, tinned or smoked seafood are safe to eat when they are cooked and are used as an ingredient in a dish. A casserole that contains bass may not be hazardous to your health or your fetus, but if the fish is not thoroughly cooked, it could cause substantial risk of food poisoning and listeria infection. Shelf-safe smoked bass may not be contaminated with listeria, so check the labels at the back of the package carefully before buying them.

Exposure to Industrial Pollutants

Fish caught from polluted lakes or rivers may be contaminated with industrial pollutants. Contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls are some of the most common pollutants found in lakes and rivers. Striped bass, when fished from these waters, may contain large amounts of these. Fish purchased from your local grocery store may not contain such pollutants but if it is not fresh, there is always a chance that the fish may not have been caught from your local water bodies.

Different Types of Bass During Pregnancy

Bass is a delicious fish. While this fish can be enjoyed as an ingredient of various culinary preparations, most doctors would advise you not to consume bass when you're pregnant. Due to the varying levels of contaminants in different varieties of bass, it is safest to avoid consuming it altogether. While striped bass and black bass have moderate levels of these contaminants, Chilean bass does contain high levels of mercury and could lead to mercury poisoning.

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