The Best & Worst Fish for Pregnant Moms and Young Children

See how much seafood the FDA and EPA say pregnant women and small children should eat to maintain a nutritious diet.

The FDA and EPA have issued advice regarding eating fish. This advice is geared toward helping women who are pregnant or may become pregnant - as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents of young children - make informed choices when it comes to fish that is healthy and safe to eat.

The FDA has created an easy-to-follow chart that puts 62 fish into the following categories: "best choices" (two to three servings per week), "good choices" (one serving a week), and "fish to avoid" that aren't recommended for consumption due to high levels of mercury.

According to the FDA, fish can help with children’s growth and development. Starting at age 2, children should be eating 1 to 2 servings of fish a week. A serving should be two ounces for children ages 4 to 8 and four ounces for an adult.

It’s no surprise salmon is listed as a “best choice.” Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon supports heart health, brain function, strong bones, and can even protect the skin. Cod, Herring and mackerel are also listed as “best choices.” Try Pan Fried Norwegian Salmon with Parmesan or Grilled Norwegian Mackerel with Avocado & Cucumber Relish. Eat a variety of seafood to get the full range of benefits.

Here's a breakdown of the categories:

  • "Best Choices"(two to three servings per week): anchovy, Atlantic croacker, Atlantic mackerel, black sea bass, butterfish, catfish, clam, cod, crab, crawfish, flounder, haddock, hake, herring, lobster (American and spiny), mullet, oyster, Pacific chub, mackerel, perch (freshwater and ocean), pickerel, plaice, pollock, salmon, sardine, scallop, shad, shrimp, skate, smelt, sole, squid, tilapia, trout (freshwater), tuna (canned light; includes skipjack), whitefish, whiting
  • "Good choices" (one serving per week):bluefish, buffalofish, carp, Chilean sea bass/Patagonian toothfish, grouper, halibut, mahi mahi/dolphinfish, monkfish, rockfish, sablefish, sheepshead, snapper, Spanish mackerel, striped bass (ocean), tilefish (Atlantic Ocean), tuna (albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen), tuna (yellowfin), weakfish/seatrout, white croaker/Pacific croaker
  •  "Choices to Avoid" (too high in mercury):king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), tuna (bigeye)

The Best & Worst Fish for Pregnant Moms and Young Children