Everything Pregnancy

Pregnant? Eat More Fish!

pregnant woman eating fish
As a first-time preggo, I was pretty careful (or maybe neurotic is a better word) about what I ate. Case in point: Once, while on a babymoon in Bermuda, I actually left the resort restaurant where my hubby and I were about to order dinner to go back up to our room and fetch my handy list of low-mercury fish (yes, I packed that!) just to make sure the seafood dish I was considering was "okay." (As it turns out, it wasn't!)

Lots of mamas-to-be probably share my concerns about fish, and are confused about what falls in the safe-or-not-safe categories when it comes to their pregnancy diet. (So many different kinds of tuna!) But new advice issued earlier today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urges pregnant women, as well as those breastfeeding, to actually up their consumption of low-mercury fish. (While not yet finalized, the new recommendations will ultimately replace the current guidelines, issued in 2004.)

High-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish caught in the Gulf of Mexico are still on the no-no list for pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to HealthDay, but the new recommendations say pregnant and breastfeeding women should aim for 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week (about 2 to 3 servings) in order "to support fetal growth and development."

"For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children," said Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA's acting chief scientist. "But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health."

What types are fish are okay to eat when you're expecting (or nursing, or feeding a young child)? According to the FDA, lower-mercury fish include: salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish, and cod.

So go ahead, mama—eat some fish. The right kind is good for you and your baby!

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Image of a pregnant woman eating fish courtesy of Shutterstock