Eating Grouper During Pregnancy: Is It a Safe Fish?

Pregnancy is a time for expectant mothers to take extra care with their health and nutrition. During this period, women may find themselves asking questions about their diets, including “Can I eat grouper while pregnant?” Grouper is a type of fish, which can be a great source of nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. It is important to understand any potential risks associated with eating grouper while pregnant, as well as the importance of consuming this type of fish in moderation. In this blog post, we will discuss the safety of eating grouper during pregnancy, what types of grouper are safe to eat, and how to safely prepare grouper for pregnant women. We will also discuss the benefits and nutrient content of grouper and provide some helpful tips for pregnant women who choose to include grouper in their diets. By the end of this blog post, readers will have a better understanding of the safety and potential benefits of consuming grouper while pregnant.

How Often Should I Eat Grouper When Pregnant?

All types of grouper should only be consumed once a week at most during pregnancy due to the varying mercury levels.

You shouldn’t be concerned if you unintentionally consume grouper more frequently; instead, switch to a lower mercury fish for the remainder of that week or month. If you can, you should continue to eat fish because it has many health benefits and contains essential nutrients for pregnant women.

Due to its high omega-3 content, other fish, particularly non-oily fish, can be consumed up to three times per week, but grouper consumption should be kept to a minimum.

Black sea bass, which has a mean mercury PPM of 0 and is the closest alternative because grouper is a member of the sea bass family, 167, which is much lower. The same amount of mercury is present in saltwater seabass, striped seabass, and rockfish, all of which are suitable substitutes for black seabass (source: FDA).

If you have the option, cod is a great alternative to grouper because it is even lower in mercury and can be eaten up to three times per week.

Can I Eat Raw Grouper if I’m Pregnant?

Raw and undercooked grouper should be avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of bacterial contamination and foodborne illness (source: PMC). All fish should be cooked all the way through before consumption during pregnancy to ensure that any pathogens have been killed.

Grouper sushi or sashimi should be avoided in pregnancy. It’s sometimes called ‘hata’ on sushi menus. All varieties of grouper have been used to make sushi, but scamp seems to be the most well-liked because it has the lowest parasite risk. You can read our comprehensive guide to choosing pregnancy-safe sushi here for more information.

In addition to sushi, grouper is frequently found in ceviche, a dish of raw fish prepared with lemon or lime. Although grouper ceviche made with raw fish is unsafe to consume while pregnant, the dish can be modified by marinating cooked grouper.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to the mercury content of fish is that larger predatory fish tend to have the most mercury. With groupers sometimes hitting up to 400 pounds it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that grouper can sometimes have a high amount of mercury (source: Fin and Fly).

Imported grouper, as well as both black and red grouper from the Gulf of Mexico, has a moderate amount of mercury (source: EDF). All species of grouper have a mean mercury ppm (parts per mille, or thousand) of 0.448, which is considered moderate.

For comparison, low-mercury fish like fresh salmon average 0.022 ppm, and cod average 0.111 ppm (source: FDA). While gag grouper – one of the better grouper choices – has 0.271 ppm (source: leegov).

It’s worth mentioning that “grouper” is a broad term. There are numerous grouper species with different mercury content.

  • Graysby grouper 0.16 mg/kg of mercury
  • Rock hind grouper: 0.18 mg/kg of mercury
  • Speckled hint: 0.20 mg/kg of mercury
  • Yellowedge grouper: 0.23 mg/kg of mercury
  • Goliath grpuper: 0.64 mg/kg of mercury
  • Red grouper: 0.17 mg/kg of mercury
  • Warsaw grouper: 0.24 mg/kg of mercury
  • Snowby grouper: 0.20 mg/kg of mercury
  • Black grouper: 0.91 mg/kg of mercury (source: Transactions of the American Fisheries Society)
  • In case you have a choice of grouper, keep in mind that mercury ppm is not the same measurement as mg/kg. Nonetheless, these totals are provided for comparison between species.

    There are also environmental concerns when it comes to fishing groupers. Gag, black and red grouper from the Gulf of Mexico have moderate eco-friendly ratings while imported grouper, Warsaw, snowy and yellow edge grouper score poorly when it comes to sustainability (source: EDF).

    Not only does grouper have a fairly high carbon footprint of 5.4 kg to produce 1 kg of fish but also fishing can damage coral and discarded fishing nets litter the ocean (source: healabel).

    Many grouper fisheries are also depleted with the exceptions of red and black grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to their unusual mating rituals as many fish spawning in big numbers has made them easier to fish in bulk (source: EDF).

    Grouper’s pregnancy safety profile is unaffected by how it is fished, but if you prefer sustainable or more moral options, keep this in mind.

    According to the FDA, 90% of the fish consumed in the U S. fall under the “best choices” category.

    Keep in mind, there are nutritional benefits to eating fish. Numerous varieties contain high levels of protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

    The best options are okay to consume two to three servings per week. Cod, haddock, lobster, oysters, salmon, scallops, shrimp, sole, and tilapia are among them.

    According to the federal agency, this is the “final recommendation” for pregnant women regarding fish consumption.

    It recommends that expectant moms eat at least five ounces of cooked fish every week. Read more about its recommendations.


    Does grouper have high mercury?

    There are some fish that are very high and mercury and should be avoided altogether, particularly bluefish and grouper, according to the NRDC.

    Which fish to avoid during pregnancy?

    The bigger and older the fish, the more mercury it’s likely to contain. During pregnancy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages you to avoid: Bigeye tuna. King mackerel.
    • Anchovies.
    • Catfish.
    • Cod.
    • Herring.
    • Light canned tuna.
    • Pacific oysters.
    • Pollock.
    • Salmon.

    What fish can I eat while pregnant?

    Eat a variety of seafood that’s low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as: Salmon. Anchovies. Herring.

    Other safe choices include:
    • Shrimp.
    • Pollock.
    • Tilapia.
    • Cod.
    • Catfish.
    • Canned light tuna.

    Does grouper have low mercury?

    All species of grouper have a mean mercury ppm (parts per mille, or thousand) of 0.448, which is considered moderate. What is this? For comparison, low-mercury fish like fresh salmon average 0.022 ppm, and cod average 0.111 ppm (source: FDA).

    True or False: Pregnant women should avoid eating fish and seafood due to mercury concerns

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