Can You Eat Walleye When Pregnant [Explained]

Sami S
Sami S

Hello! I'm the editor of this website.

Even though our content is verified by doctors, psychologists, and experts from different disciplines, it can never substitute personalized advice from your doctor or counselor.

Thank you! 

Pregnant women should be extra careful about what they eat and drink. While certain foods can provide essential nutrients that are important for the health of both mother and baby, some must be avoided due to their potential risks. One such food is walleye, a fish found in freshwater lakes and streams. Let’s look at the possibility of eating walleye while pregnant and consider the potential health risks.

Can you eat walleye when pregnant?

No. Walleye is a type of fish known to contain high levels of mercury. Mercury can harm the mommy and her unborn baby if consumed in large quantities. Because of this, health organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend avoiding the consumption of walleye and other high-mercury fish during pregnancy.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also issued guidelines warning pregnant women to avoid eating certain fish due to their mercury content. Walleye is one of the fish included on this list.

In addition to its potentially harmful mercury content, walleye can contain other contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These chemicals are found in some freshwater and saltwater fish and have been linked to developmental issues in fetuses and young children.

As such, pregnant women should avoid eating walleye and other fish that contain PCBs. Therefore, it is best for expecting mothers to abstain from eating walleye during pregnancy.

Don’t be alarmed, though, because the risks are much lower if you’ve already eaten walleye before becoming pregnant. However, it is still important to be mindful about monitoring your mercury levels throughout pregnancy and consult your healthcare provider for any potential concerns.

Which fish can be eaten during pregnancy?

Although walleye should be avoided during pregnancy, several other types of fish can provide essential nutrients and be safely eaten. Examples include salmon, herring, tilapia, cod, flounder, trout, sardines, and canned light tuna. Limiting consumption of these types of fish to twice a week during pregnancy is recommended.

Additionally, some types of shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, can be eaten during pregnancy. As long as they are cooked thoroughly, these types of seafood can provide essential nutrients without posing a risk to the mother or baby.

What fish should be avoided during pregnancy?

Some fishes to avoid during pregnancy include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, marlin, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, and Chilean sea bass.

Additionally, raw fish should always be avoided during pregnancy. This includes sushi, sashimi, oysters, and clams that have yet to be cooked or heated thoroughly. Eating raw seafood can increase the risk of contamination from parasites and bacteria such as salmonella, which can pose a severe health risk to the mother and her unborn baby.


Pregnant women need to take care when it comes to what they eat and drink. Although walleye can be a delicious treat, its high mercury content makes it off-limits during pregnancy. For expecting mothers looking for a source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of other options can provide the nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy. It is always best to consult your healthcare provider if you have questions about what foods are safe to eat during pregnancy.