Eating fish during pregnancy: is it a good idea or not? Fish is low in saturated fat and high in protein, vitamin D, and other nutrients crucial for your baby’s development, so it makes sense that you should include them in your diet. But why do medical experts recommend practicing caution when eating fish?
The dangers of mercury
Plenty of fish carry toxins like mercury, which are harmful for your baby’s nervous system. Your baby’s cognitive skills, language, motor skills, and vision may be affected, so women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding need to pay attention to the kind of fish they’re consuming.
Should you eat fish while pregnant?
The short answer is yes. Aside from the benefits listed above, fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA that are difficult to find in other foods, and are vital for your baby’s health.
In case you’re not yet convinced, studies have shown that eating fish while pregnant really does make a difference in your child’s development. One Danish study found that children whose mothers ate more fish during pregnancy (around 14 ounces a week) had better motor and cognitive skills at 6 and 18 months than those whose mothers ate less fish.
To find out which fish you should eat and which you should avoid, click to the next page.
The best fish to eat
Pregnant and nursing mothers (as well as young children) should opt for fish with low mercury levels, like:
- mackerel (Atantic, jack, chub)
- rainbow trout
Fish to avoid
These fish have high mercury levels, and are best avoided altogether.
- king mackerel
For more information, consult this printable wallet card from Purdue University.
And when in doubt, always look up the mercury levels of the fish before consuming.
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