Is Seafood Safe During Pregnancy?
I’ve been avoiding seafood for the first half of this pregnancy, just assuming that fish is a “no-no” for pregnant women… How wrong was I?
After reading up on the topic, I’ve learned that specific amounts of certain types of seafood are actually recommended during pregnancy. The FDA and EPA have established these guidelines:
- Avoid large, predatory fish such as shark and swordfish, as they eat smaller fish and live longer, accumulating more mercury, which is what needs to be avoided during pregnancy.
- Eat up to 12 oz. per week of fish which are low in mercury, including shrimp, salmon and light tuna.
- Lighter tuna has less mercury than albacore tuna, so limit your intake to 6 oz. per week.
- Before eating fish caught by family or other non-commercial seafood, check with your local health department or EPA to be sure the water it came from is safe.
Why is fish considered to be an important part of a woman’s diet during pregnancy? Experts tell us that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, especially DHA, are essential for fetal brain development. There has been a recent influx of foods with added omega-3’s. If during pregnancy you opt to add these foods to your diet, be sure that they contain DHA or EPA, or even better-a combination of the two. Walnuts, flax seed, grapeseed oil and enhanced eggs are examples of other foods which contain DHA.
So there’s no need for you pregnant ladies to give up seafood; just follow a few guidelines and enjoy!