Is flounder OK to eat while pregnant?

“Fishes containing elevated mercury levels pose a risk for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding. Consuming fish with excessive mercury can be detrimental to the cognitive development of the fetus. On the other hand, insufficient intake of fish may result in a lack of essential omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for enhancing overall fetal growth and brain development. Given the various types of Flounder fish available, it is essential to assess their health benefits, mercury levels, portion sizes, and explore diverse recipes to ensure a delightful and safe consumption experience.

Is flounder OK to eat while pregnant?
Is flounder OK to eat while pregnant?

Understanding Flounder

Flounder, also known as fluke, is a flat-demersal fish predominantly found at the ocean and sea bottoms globally. Some Flounder species transition from regular fish to flatfish in adulthood and may even enter estuaries. The Flounder family includes various species like sole and halibut, each offering distinct flavors. With an oval, flattened body, large mouth, delicate texture, and a mild, slightly sweet taste, Flounder is considered a safe and nutritious choice for pregnant women, as per the FDA’s recommendation.

Flounder Varieties with Low Mercury Levels

The Environmental Defense Fund has assessed the mercury content of different Flounder types, categorizing some as having “low mercury” levels. The following Flounder varieties are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy:

  1. Starry Flounder
  2. Windowpane Flounder
  3. Blackbuck Flounder
  4. Summer/Winter Flounder
  5. Yellowtail Flounder
  6. Arrowtooth Flounder
  7. Witch Flounder

Is Flounder Safe for Consumption During Pregnancy?

Concerns often arise among pregnant women regarding the safety of consuming flounder due to conflicting information. Generally, flounder is considered safe to eat during pregnancy when fully cooked. With low mercury levels, flounder serves as an excellent lean protein source, containing minimal vitamins. However, considering the various types of flounder available, it’s crucial to assess mercury levels, portion sizes, and explore healthy preparation methods to enjoy favored flounder dishes during pregnancy.

Benefits of Including Flounder in Pregnancy Diet

Flounder offers several health advantages, making it a suitable choice for pregnancy:

  1. Rich in dietary protein crucial for the baby’s growth, development, and the repair of skin, organ, and muscle tissues.
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids in flounder help lower triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  3. Excellent source of vitamin B and vitamin D.

Recommended Flounder Intake for Pregnant Women

Given its low mercury content, pregnant women can safely consume flounder several times a week. According to FDA guidelines, a weekly intake of 8 – 12oz of low-mercury flounder is deemed safe during pregnancy. A typical fish portion is about 3 to 4 oz., allowing pregnant women to enjoy flounder up to three times a week.

Nutritious Flounder Recipes for Pregnancy

Discover these wholesome Flounder recipes that you can enjoy preparing and savoring during pregnancy.

Baked Flounder Fillet & Sautéed Veggies

This nutritious fish dinner, featuring Flounder, a variety of veggies, and aromatic thyme, offers a delightful combination of sweet, lemony, and peppery flavors.


  • Flounder fillet – 1 lb
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved) – 1/2 lb
  • Broccoli (chopped into small pieces) – 1/2 lb
  • Medium red bell pepper (chopped) – 1
  • Small sweet onion (thinly sliced in rings) – 1
  • Garlic cloves (finely chopped) – 2
  • Olive oil (2 tsp – 1 Tbsp)
  • Kosher salt – 1 tsp
  • Lemon pepper – 1 tsp
  • Dried thyme – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (for garnish)

Total Cooking Time: 25 Minutes

Servings: 4


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Cook onion and garlic until translucent (3-5 minutes). Add bell pepper; sauté until soft. Add broccoli and tomatoes, cooking until tender (about three minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  4. Arrange Flounder in a baking dish, drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil, and season with thyme, salt, and lemon pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the fish turns golden on top.
  5. Serve with sautéed veggies and garnish with thyme sprigs.

Baked Flounder With Parmesan Crumbs

Try this easy, healthy, and family-friendly recipe that combines Flounder fillets with grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and the delightful aroma of fresh basil.


  • Flounder fillets – 4 (2 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – 3/4 cup
  • Coarse Fresh Bread Crumbs – 1/2 cup
  • Melted unsalted butter – 4 tbsp
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp

Total Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

Servings: 4


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper in a large baking dish.
  3. Mix Parmesan with bread crumbs, melted butter, and olive oil, then drizzle over the fillets.
  4. Bake for around 15 minutes until the fish turns golden brown.

For any concerns about the quantity and frequency of Flounder consumption during pregnancy, as well as potential side effects, consult with your doctor for personalized advice.


Is Flounder Fish High in Mercury?

Flounder is generally considered a low-mercury fish, making it a safer choice for consumption, especially during pregnancy. However, it’s advisable to be aware of the specific type of flounder and its mercury levels, as variations exist among different species.

What Fish to Avoid When Pregnant?

Certain types of fish are recommended to be avoided or limited during pregnancy due to their higher mercury content. These typically include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It’s crucial for pregnant women to be cautious and choose low-mercury alternatives to ensure the safety of both mother and baby.

What Fish Are High in Mercury While Pregnant?

Fish that are known to be high in mercury and should be limited or avoided during pregnancy include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. These species tend to accumulate higher levels of mercury, which can pose risks to the developing fetus. Opting for low-mercury alternatives, such as flounder, is recommended for pregnant women seeking a safe and nutritious seafood option.


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