Can pregnant women eat dried fish?

The question of whether ‘Pregnant women can eat dried fish?‘ has been a query for many due to its reputation as a dish that enhances the taste of meals for expecting mothers. Let’s delve into The Pregnancy Care’s article on this topic!

Can Pregnant Women Eat Dried Fish?

In reality, there isn’t specific research on whether pregnant women can eat dried fish. However, due to its ability to improve the appetite and effectively reduce nausea, many expectant mothers still include dried fish in their diet.

Nevertheless, most types of dried fish are traditionally processed, lacking adequate food safety standards, which could adversely affect both the expectant mother and the fetus. Additionally, due to its saltiness, excessive consumption of dried fish during pregnancy may lead to health issues such as increased blood pressure, arterial plaque buildup, among others.

For these reasons, dried fish is one of the food items recommended for pregnant women that should be carefully considered before consumption.

Can pregnant women eat dried fish?
Can pregnant women eat dried fish?

Benefits and Risks of Pregnant Women Eating Dried Fish


Dried fish can diversify the diet of pregnant women, aiding in reducing cravings. Furthermore, certain types of dried fish are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, iodine, vitamins, and minerals crucial for fetal development.


While consuming dried fish can offer specific benefits for pregnant women, its use also poses various health risks. Most dried fish are salted for an extended period, increasing the risk of bacterial contamination such as Listeria. Though the rate of contracting this dangerous bacteria is low, the mortality rate among those infected is notably high.

Moreover, dried fish contains high levels of salt. Regular consumption during pregnancy may damage blood vessels, hindering blood flow to brain cells, leading to cerebral anemia. Overconsumption of dried fish also puts pregnant women at risk of excessive protein intake and other adverse health effects for both mother and child.

Types of dried fish pregnant women should avoid

Certain types of dried fish are not recommended for pregnant women due to their high toxin content, posing risks to the fetus:

Dried tuna:

Although tuna is a food rich in beneficial fatty acids and good nutrients, this type of fish contains high levels of mercury, increasing the risk of poisoning during pregnancy, affecting the fetal brain and nervous system.

Dried mackerel:

This type of dried fish holds high economic value, has a mild smell, and tender meat. However, according to the FDA, mackerel contains high levels of mercury and metals. Hence, whether dried or fresh, consuming mackerel poses a risk of mercury contamination.

Dried pufferfish:

Pufferfish contains hepatoxin and tetrodotoxin, posing a life-threatening danger. Despite its high nutritional value, some believe that cleaning and drying pufferfish can reduce the risk of fatality. However, pregnant women must exercise extreme caution and completely avoid this type of food to prevent unwanted risks.

Types of dried fish pregnant women can consume

Pregnant women can opt for dried fish made from low-mercury freshwater fish, specifically:

Dried salmon:

Salmon is a nutrient-rich fish, providing essential elements like iron, phosphorus, iodine, selenium, niacin, DHA, Vitamin D, and is rich in omega-3 and omega-6, aiding comprehensive fetal development. Moreover, dried salmon is relatively safe as it contains very little mercury.

Dried anchovy:

Anchovies are among the low-mercury fish types. Additionally, they offer essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, omega-3, beneficial for both mother and baby’s health. Thus, dried anchovies can be a supplemental addition to a pregnant woman’s diet.

Dried catfish:

Catfish, a freshwater fish, lacks mercury and harmful metals. Hence, consuming dried catfish is not only safe but also provides valuable nutritional components for pregnant women.

Dried snakehead fish:

Similarly, snakehead fish, being a freshwater species, lacks mercury and harmful metals. It contains various essential nutrients like lipids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, and other minerals, making it suitable for pregnant women in moderate quantities.

Considerations when consuming dried fish during pregnancy

While dried fish isn’t a food pregnant women should entirely avoid, certain aspects require attention when eating dried fish:

– Choose dried fish from freshwater sources like rivers and lakes, avoiding dried sea fish, which often contain higher mercury levels such as swordfish, tuna, bonito, sharks.

– Dried fish has high salt content, so excessive consumption may lead to cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

– Avoid consuming dried fish too frequently as it can accumulate toxins like mercury and heavy metals.

– Opt for dried fish processed and stored following proper food safety and hygiene standards.

Moreover, pregnant women should supplement their diet with a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, ensuring a balanced nutritional intake during pregnancy.

This article provides insights into whether ‘pregnant women can eat dried fish’ and offers guidelines for consuming this type of food. We hope that the nutritional information provided by The Pregnancy Care will assist pregnant women in making informed choices about their meals. Wishing all expectant mothers a healthy pregnancy!


Who should not eat dry fish?

People who have allergies to fish or seafood should avoid eating dry fish. Additionally, individuals with certain medical conditions or those on specific diets may need to limit or avoid dry fish consumption. It’s always recommended to consult a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for personalized advice.

What fish not to eat while pregnant?

Pregnant women should avoid consuming certain types of fish known to contain high levels of mercury, as it can be harmful to the fetus. These include fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It’s advised to limit intake of tuna due to its mercury content as well. It’s crucial for pregnant women to choose low-mercury fish options and consult with a healthcare provider about safe fish choices during pregnancy.

Is dried fish good for babies?

Dried fish can be introduced to a baby’s diet but in moderation and after considering their age and any potential allergies. While dried fish contains nutrients like protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to be cautious due to its salt content and potential allergenicity. Always consult a pediatrician before introducing any new food to a baby’s diet.

Can you eat dehydrated fish?

Yes, you can eat dehydrated or dried fish. It’s a common method of preserving fish that can enhance its flavor and prolong its shelf life. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as the fish’s source, the method of dehydration, and any added seasonings or preservatives. Also, be mindful of your own dietary restrictions, allergies, or health conditions before consuming dehydrated fish.


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