Seafood and Pregnancy

man woman fish ©gfw2011

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet for all people, especially pregnant women and young children. Scientific evidence has shown that omega 3 fatty acids, found exclusively in seafood, are essential to the complete development of the brain, nervous system, immune system and retinal system during pregnancy and for the first two years of life. Yet there is reason for concern about exposure to methylmercury and its effects on the developing fetus and child.

Studies are showing that the nutritional benefits of omega 3's are too important to development to omit them from the diets of pregnant women and growing children. FDA guidelines are recommending eating omega 3-rich seafood, while avoiding fish testing high for mercury.

The best choices for pregnant and nursing women are all species of wild salmon, anchovies, sardines, shad, sablefish, butterfish, Boston mackerel, Pacific mackerel, bonito and herring. Light meat fresh and canned albacore and skipjack tuna from the Pacific Ocean labeled "low mercury" are the best choices for tuna.