Shortly after the Mad Cow Disease and the Chicken flu episodes, fish and seafood are the next recent center of controversy and many of us wonder: Is Fish is still safe to eat especially during pregnancy?
What’s in Fish?
Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids.
However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system.
Fish and Pregnancy – FDA Recommendation
In March 2004, FDA and EPA revised its advisories on mercury in fish. Here is a summary:
|Target||Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury|
|Avoid Fish with High levels of Mercury||Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish|
|12 oz. (~2 meals) of Low-Mercury Fish per week||shrimp, crab, cod, clams, scallops, canned light tuna, canned salmon, pollock, and catfish etc.Note: Albacore “White” tuna contains more mercury. Limit 6 oz (~1 meal) of albacore tuna per week.
For a complete list of fish and recommended portion, go to National Resources Defense Council
So – is it safe to eat fish during Pregnancy: Yes, fish offers benefits to both pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. Therefore include low-mercury fish in your diet 2 times a week. A cohort study published in October 2005 by the Harvard Medical School found that babies from mothers with higher low-mercury-fish consumption during second trimester have better scores in mental development.