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Is Fish Sauce Safe During Pregnancy? Is It OK To Eat?

Finding out that you are pregnant is such a joy. But it can also be a little disheartening when you realize that there are certain foods and drinks that you can no longer safely consume.

These range from caffeine, sugar, goats cheese, fish, and of course alcohol. There are also a few foods you may have questions about. One of these may be is fish sauce safe during pregnancy?

We have taken a look at any issues that there may be with eating fish sauce while you are pregnant as well as covering some of the most common questions.

What Is Fish Sauce?

Fish sauce is a condiment with a liquid consistency that is made from fish or krill. These have been coated in salt and fermented for up to two years. It is a sauce that is widely used in East and Southeast Asian cuisine. 

What fish the sauce is made from does depend on where it comes from. Southeast Asian fish sauce is usually made from anchovies, salt, and water. It also has a very strong flavor. 

Is Fish Sauce Safe To Eat?

The fish sauce goes through a six to twelve-month fermentation process, during this time the salt will have killed any bacteria including the hardest-to-kill halophilic bacteria. Due to this fermentation process doing such a good job of killing any harmful bacteria, no pasteurization is required. 

A good fish sauce is a reddish-brown color and does have any sediment. However as it ages it may change in color and flavor, but it is still safe to consume. If there is an odor or a mold develops then it should be disposed of and not consumed.

What Is Fish Sauce Used For?

This salty ingredient is used to add umami to many popular dishes such as pad thai. It can also be used to marinate meats, dress vegetables, and increase the flavor in soups or stews. It has also been used as a base for salad dressings.

Good Substitutes For Fish Sauce

If you are still feeling a little uneasy about consuming fish sauce while you are pregnant there are a few alternatives that you could try:

  • Soy sauce – This is made from fermented soybeans, water, salt, and wheat. It makes an excellent substitute for fish sauce.
  • Tamari – Also a type of soy sauce. But it is processed differently than traditional soy sauce using different ingredients.
  • Oyster Sauce – A great substitute in most dishes unless you require a thin consistency.
  • Vegan Fish Sauce – Usually made from shiitake mushrooms, liquid aminos, and soy sauce.
  • Seaweed – A great alternative to a fish sauce that is high in amino acid glutamate.
  • Coconut Aminos – Derived from fermented coconut sap, lower in sodium than fish sauce, and also suitable for vegans.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – Popular in the UK, made from anchovies, molasses, tamarind, vinegar, cloves, onion, and other seasonings.
  • Mushroom and Soy Sauce Broth – Great for replacing fish sauce in soups and broths.


How much mercury is in fish sauce?

The average content of mercury in fish sauce ranges from 0.8 to 42.8 Meaning that they are well below the maximum authorized concentration of 500 that is set for fish products.

Is fish sauce bad for you?

Fish sauce contains a great deal of salt and is in fact the saltiest of the Asian sauces. One tablespoon of fish sauce contains 96% of your daily salt intake. It is also believed that consuming too much fish sauce could increase your blood pressure.

What sauces to avoid while pregnant?

It is recommended that you avoid any homemade sauces that contain raw or partially cooked egg content. These can include mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, bearnaise sauce, aioli sauce, some salad dressings, and homemade ice cream.

Is Worcestershire sauce fish sauce?

Worcestershire sauce is a kind of umami delivery system, a cousin to fish sauce and soy sauce if you like.

The Final Thought

Fish sauce is not one of those sauces that you have to avoid while pregnant but you should be careful of how much you are consuming due to its high salt content. But the occasional indulgence is not going to do you or your baby any harm at all.

Being pregnant is a fantastic time in most women’s lives and it should be a time filled with happiness and joy for the new life you are embarking on.

But having concerns over what you can and cannot eat can mean many women feel like they have a huge black cloud over them. So to help you feel a little less overwhelmed why not check out our guide to pregnancy here.