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Pregnant and eating fish

  1. Fish is healthy, and this is even more true for pregnant women. Still, pregnant women often eat too little fish. There are many misconceptions about eating fish during pregnancy, which is why some fish dishes are avoided. As a result, some women not only miss a delicious piece of fish, but also some important nutrients for the health of the unborn baby.

Eating fish during pregnancy

  1. On average, a Dutch person eats fish once every three weeks. This is very little, as it is recommended to eat fish twice a week. Polls by the Dutch Fish Agency even show that 20 percent of the Dutch do not eat fish at all! Belgians are doing a lot better and on average eat about three times as much fish as a Dutch person. But what about fish consumption among pregnant women? According to figures, 90 percent of this group eat less than the recommended amount of fish. Fish consumption among pregnant women is probably so low because of the many misunderstandings about eating fish during pregnancy.

Misconceptions about fish during pregnancy

  1. Pregnant women unnecessarily abandon fish during pregnancy because they believe it may pose a danger to the unborn baby. They are scared with stories of listeria infestations, parasites and heavy metals. Of course, it is true that prepackaged fish and predatory fish have to be watched out for, but the many warnings also give rise to many misconceptions. Some misconceptions include:

Fish is healthy

  1. It is known to many that fish is healthy. But pregnant women need it extra badly, because extra nutrients are needed for the development of the child.

Good fats

  1. Especially fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and eel contain good fats. These good fats consist of essential fatty acids, which are fatty acids that the body cannot produce itself. These must therefore be removed from the diet. These essential fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, are good for the development of the unborn baby's brain. Fish is almost the only source from which these fats can be obtained. That makes it necessary to eat fatty fish during your pregnancy.


  1. Pregnant women have an increased need for certain vitamins. These vitamins are necessary for the development of the child. Fish, and especially fatty fish, contains vitamins for which there is an increased need. This concerns vitamins A, D and B12. Vitamin A plays an important role in the development of the eyes and skin. As a result, it is recommended for pregnant women to increase the intake of vitamin A from 800 micrograms to 1000 micrograms per day. Vitamin D is indispensable for the construction of the skeleton, during pregnancy the recommended amount of vitamin D is even doubled! Vitamin B12 is required for the production of red blood cells and for the proper functioning of the nervous system. The requirement of this vitamin is also increased.


  1. Fish supplies include the minerals zinc, iodine and selenium. Pregnant women have an increased need for these minerals. Zinc is mainly needed for fetal growth and plays a role in taste, smell and vision. Selenium plays a role in the development of the nervous system. But what is especially an important and unique mineral in fish is iodine. Iodine is an indispensable mineral for a properly functioning thyroid gland and also a mineral that many are deficient in. As a result, it is often added to table salt. Salt should be avoided as much as possible by pregnant women with high blood pressure. Fish offers a solution with regard to iodine intake, because it is the only food in which iodine occurs naturally.

Reduced risk of complications

  1. Finally, several studies of fish consumption among pregnant women indicate that it can help reduce the risk of certain complications during pregnancy. For example, a Danish study found that eating plenty of fish at the beginning of pregnancy can reduce the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Another UK study found that pregnant women who eat fish less than twice a week are more likely to have a developmentally delayed baby than women who eat more fish.

  2. Finally, several studies on fish consumption among pregnant women indicate that

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