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More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


 

A Healthy Pregnancy
What About Seafood?



Seafood is a great, healthy choice for expecting mothers. It's both high in protein and naturally low in saturated fat as well as being high in omega-3 fatty acids. Adequate levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA has been linked to increased intelligence in children. One study indicated that fish consumption during pregnancy decreased the child's chance of developing asthma (Clin Exp Allergy, 37, 518-525). Fish is great for the heart - and it tastes good! This sounds like a great pregnancy food!

On the other hand, the media keeps talking about mercury contamination of fish. This sounds like something a pregnant woman should avoid.

What is the answer?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, all or nearly all fish and seafood have some level of methylmercury. However, the amounts vary significantly in different types of seafood. Because of the many benefits of seafood, the EPA currently recommends that pregnant women eat approximately 12 ounces of "safer" seafoods weekly. Pregnant women should avoid high mercury fish.

Guidelines

Avoid: Large, predatory fish. They contain the highest levels of mercury. These include swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tile fish.

Check: with your local health department or the EPA about contaminants in fish from local rivers or streams: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/

Enjoy: other seafood. Eat 12 ounces weekly (2 average meals). If you eat more than 12 ounces in one week, cut back the next week.

Fish sticks and fish sandwiches are usually made from fish with lower mercury levels. Canned tuna is lower in mercury than tuna steaks. Limit tuna steaks to 6 oz of your weekly 12 oz total.

Don't eat raw seafood during pregnancy. Seafood can contain viruses and bacteria. Cook seafood to an internal temperature of 147 degrees. Cook oysters and other shellfish until their shells open, and discard any that do not open. Shrimp and lobster should be cooked until they are milky white.

Don't eat refrigerated smoked fish - these have often been smoked at low temperatures and not all viruses or bacteria may have been killed.

Maximize the amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to help with baby's development while minimizing mercury contamination. See our chart with the amounts of omega-3 and mercury in common fish.

So sit down and read the Dr. Seuss book, One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish… Then go to the kitchen and prepare some seafood. Nourish yourself and your child!

While the information in this article applies to most pregnant women, you may have special nutritional needs because of your health history or pregnancy complications. Always talk with your doctor or midwife about nutrition.