Mackerel During Pregnancy: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Mackerel during pregnancy
Mackerel during pregnancy
  • 🐟 Mackerel is safe to consume during pregnancy when cooked thoroughly and eaten in moderation.
  • 🧠 Mackerel is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support the baby’s brain and eye development.
  • ⚠️ King mackerel and Spanish mackerel may contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to the fetus’s nervous system.
  • 🚫 It is recommended to avoid high-mercury mackerel types during pregnancy.
  • 🔬 Choose lower-mercury options like Atlantic mackerel for safer consumption.
  • 🍽️ Pregnant women can safely have 8-12 ounces (227-340 grams) of low-mercury fish per week.
  • 🔥 Properly cooking mackerel to 145°F (63°C) helps minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

is Mackerel safe During Pregnancy?

Mackerel is generally safe during pregnancy, but limit oily fish intake. Clean and cook mackerel properly, avoid raw mackerel and follow recommended internal temperature for fish(145F/63C).

Mercury Level of Mackerel

Mackerel varieties differ in mercury levels, making it difficult to provide a definitive answer. However, all mackerel are considered oily fish, so it is still recommended to stick to the two servings rule in the UK. North Atlantic mackerel has a low mercury concentration, making it a good choice for pregnancy. Other types like Pacific, Spanish, and King mackerel have varying levels of mercury. Atka and Indian mackerel are also low in mercury.

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it is important to note that some species of mackerel, such as king mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. It is recommended that pregnant women and young children avoid eating these types of mackerel.

Pregnant women should eat fish in moderation, following FDA guidelines of 2-3 servings (8-12 ounces) of low-mercury fish per week to balance nutrient benefits and reduce mercury risks.

The Benefits Mackerel During Pregnancy

Mackerel is a nutritious fish with different species having varying nutritional profiles. Spanish, Jack, and Atlantic mackerel are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids [nutritionix]. Indian mackerel is rich in omega-3 DHA, beneficial for eye health [ Research Gate]. Mackerel is also a good source of vitamin B12, which supports the nervous system during pregnancy [AquaDocs]. Excessive B12 intake can be harmful. Jack and Atlantic mackerel provide vitamin D, essential for calcium regulation. Mackerel is also rich in selenium, important for thyroid function during pregnancy[Hormones].

Benefits of Omega-3 in mackerel 

🐟 Promotes Fetal Development: Mackerel during pregnancy aids fetal growth and brain development due to omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA.

🧠 Enhances Brain Development and Cognitive Function: Omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel improve cognitive function and reduce postpartum depression risk for both mother and baby.

💪 Supports Maternal Health: Mackerel is a protein-rich fish that promotes tissue growth and repair in the mother’s body. It also provides vitamin D for bone health and immune support.

Other Omega-3 Sources for Pregnant Women

Alternatives to mackerel for omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy include salmon, sardines, and flaxseeds, which are rich in essential nutrients.

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Smoked Mackerel During Pregnancy

  • 🐟 Hot smoked mackerel is safe for pregnancy.
  • 🐟 Cold-smoked mackerel should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • 🐟 Hot smoking involves cooking the fish while smoking it.
  • 🐟 Cold smoking imparts a smoky flavor at a low temperature.
  • 🐟 Cold-smoked mackerel must be fully cooked before consumption during pregnancy.

Canned mackerel during pregnancy

Canned mackerel is safe to eat during pregnancy if within the best before date and stored correctly due to the high temperature canning process.

 Precautions and Guidelines

  1.  Freshness and proper storage: Choose fresh mackerel that has been stored and handled correctly to ensure food safety.
  2. Cooking precautions: Avoid consuming raw or undercooked mackerel to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  3. Mercury content: Mackerel, like other fish, may contain mercury, which can be harmful to a developing baby’s nervous system.
  4. Limiting consumption: It is advisable to limit mackerel intake to two servings per week to reduce exposure to mercury.
  5. Larger species: Avoid larger mackerel species known to have higher mercury content to further minimize mercury exposure.

Delicious and Safe Mackerel Recipes for Pregnant Women

Baked Mackerel with Herbs and Lemon


  • 🐟 Fresh mackerel
  • 🌿 Herbs (dill or parsley)
  • 🍋 Lemon slices
  • 🫒 Olive oil
  • 🧂 Salt
  • 🌶️ Pepper


  1. Preheat the oven
  2. Prepare the mackerel
  3. Season with herbs, lemon slices, olive oil, salt, and pepper
  4. Bake until cooked through

Grilled Mackerel with Vegetables


  • 🐟 Fresh mackerel
  • 🥦 Mixed vegetables (bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes)
  • 🛢️ Olive oil
  • 🧄 Garlic
  • 🍋 Lemon juice
  • 🧂 Salt
  • 🌶️ Pepper
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📝 Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Prepare the mackerel.
  3. Marinate the mackerel with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Grill the mackerel alongside the vegetables until tender.

Mackerel Salad with Avocado and Citrus Dressing


  • 🐟 Fresh mackerel
  • 🥗 Mixed salad greens
  • 🥑 Avocado
  • 🍊 Citrus fruits (oranges or grapefruits)
  • 🫒 Olive oil
  • 🍯 Honey
  • 🍼 Mustard
  • 🧂 Salt
  • 🌶️ Pepper

📝 Instructions:

  1. Prepare the mackerel.
  2. Grill or bake the mackerel until cooked.
  3. Combine the cooked mackerel with salad greens, sliced avocado, and citrus segments.
  4. Whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper to create a dressing.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
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