Can Pregnant Women Eat Mahi Mahi? Answers

Mahi Mahi is also known as dorado and dolphinfish, even though it’s not a dolphin. It’s a firm-fleshed, tasty fish that can be found in the USA and the Caribbean.

Mahi Mahi is my favourite fish, so I decided to investigate its safety for pregnant women, including the mercury content and different ways of eating the fish.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Mahi Mahi? Mahi Mahi, which is low in calories and high in protein, can be a versatile, safe choice during pregnancy, depending on the way it’s prepared. Mahi is low in mercury and can be included as part of the recommended fish intake during pregnancy.

Read on if you want to learn more about Mahi Mahi, how to cook it, and how to eat it.

Is Wild Mahi Mahi OK during pregnancy?

Mahi Mahi, unlike other large fish such as salmon, is not yet commercially farmed. Therefore, in theory, All Mahi are “wild”.

Mahi was also caught as a by-catch in tuna fishing for many years. It’s often caught in the same waters as tuna, but it’s not the same fish.

In this article, I will only be referring to Mahi Mahi which is wild-caught, as it’s the only kind you can buy in shops or fishmongers. You can also catch one yourself if you are lucky.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Mahi Mahi? Answers

Is Mahi Mahi High in Mercury?

The mercury content of Mahi varies according to its size. The larger the fish is, the higher the mercury content (source: PubMed). In the next section, I will explain how to select the best Mahi and cook it most healthily.

Several scientific studies have taken readings of Mahi Mahi Mercury levels over the years. Mahi Mahi has low to moderate levels of mercury on average.

On average, the FDA measured 0.178 PPM of mercury in Mahi Mahi. This is because 0.1PPM, which is considered low, falls just below this level and into the moderate category. (Source: FDA).

Environmental Defense Fund goes one step further and specifies mercury levels in Mahi Mahi based on how it is caught and where it is fished. Mahi Mahi is rated as “moderate mercury” across the board. (source: EDF).

The American Pregnancy Association has also classified Mahi Mahi as “lower mercury”. (Source: APA).

The mercury levels in Mahi can affect how much you can safely eat during pregnancy.

How Much Mahi Mahi Can I Eat When Pregnant?

The amount of mahi-mahi that pregnant women are allowed to eat is not the same. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that you consume no more than 6 x 6oz Mahi Mahi each month (source: APA). This is about 9oz a week (255g), or two 4.5oz portions (127g).

The FDA recommends that pregnant women eat no more than 4oz mahi-mahi a week (source: FDA). It may be best to limit your intake to 4oz per week to be safe. 

Remember that Mahi Mahi portions at restaurants are usually much larger. A serving of Mahi Mahi fish is typically 4-5oz or the size of a palm.

If you can, it’s better to try a variety of seafood and fish during pregnancy than to stick to just one.

You can get the full benefits of eating fish during pregnancy while also reducing your mercury intake by mixing Mahi with lower-mercury fish.

Is Mahi Mahi Good / Healthy in Pregnancy?

Mahi is an excellent choice for pregnant women because it is high in protein, nutritious and lean.

It contains less than 200 calories and almost 38g of protein per fillet. This fish is also an excellent source of B vitamins, including B12 (source: USDA), phosphorous and selenium.

Its versatility is due to its firm flesh and mildly sweet flavour. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, some healthier than others.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Mahi Mahi? Answers

Mahi Mahi Cooking Tips for Pregnant Women

Here are some tips on how to source mahi-mahi to cook at your home, whether you buy it or catch it:

  • Always buy fresh. It should smell like the sea and not ‘fishy.’ Look for signs of freezer damage and make sure the packaging and protection are adequate. Mahi fillets often have a dark line running through them. This is the area where the fish spoils first.
  • When possible, choose smaller fish. Because they are younger fish, they will have lower mercury concentrations than larger fish (source: PubMed). Choose smaller steaks if you cannot see the fish due to it being prepared.
  • If you or someone else caught the Mahi (e.g. If the Mahi was caught by you or another individual (e.g. You will be alerted to any pollution that is affecting the region, usually only temporarily.

Here are some tips to make Mahi healthier when you cook it or order it at a restaurant:

  • Undercooked or raw seafood should be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of parasite contamination and foodborne illness. (Source: APA)
  • Select broiled, baked or grilled Mahidishes. (My favourite is the blackened seasoning). They are lower in fat and calories than the deep-fried or sauteed versions. These are also fine but in moderation.
  • Make sure the Mahi is cooked through. Uncooked seafood may contain pathogens which can cause serious foodborne illnesses in pregnant women. When cooked, the flesh should be opaque and solid in colour. You can check the doneness of a large piece by cutting it in half.
  • Mahi is great with salsas, salads, and grilled over a bed of vegetables. It’s also great for fish tacos! This is also a great choice for Asian flavours such as ginger. It can also help to reduce nausea.

This ginger glaze is my favourite way to serve it, with a bed of wholemeal brown rice and stir-fried vegetables:

If you want more information on fish and seafood in pregnancy, you might also like:

  • The pregnant women’s ultimate tuna guide – includes how much of each type you can eat according to mercury levels
  • What you need to Know about Shrimp and Prawns during pregnancy
  • This guide will help you to understand salmon as well as smoked Salmon
  • Safety of molluscs and crustaceans like mussels, clams, and Octopus
  • Enjoying lobster and crawfish during pregnancy