Is high consumption of fatty fish during Pregnancy a risk factor for Fetal Development?

(October 19, 2012)

What fish to avoid during pregnancy?

Before giving into your pregnancy food craving, stop and become aware of the health benefits of the food you are to put into your mouth. For fish lovers, understanding what fish to avoid during pregnancy is of utmost importance, as some fish contain dangerous chemicals. Some varieties of fish can be dangerous to the mental and physical development of your baby. On the other hand, most fish also contain a number of very important nutrients that play a significant role in the well being of your child. These important nutrients include Omega 3 - fatty acids, vitamin D and proteins.

For instance, almost every fish contains a chemical known as Methylmercury - a compound known to be dangerous in high doses to an unborn developing nervous system. A number of varieties of fish also contain a compound known as Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) that are scientifically associated with memory difficulties and lower IQs.

Quantities of fish consumption are also something that needs to be taken into account. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have drawn up a document that lists the recommended amounts of fish consumption when pregnant. These guidelines recommend that no more than about 6 to 12 ounces of canned light tuna and other cooked fish should be consumed.

The types of fish that are largely considered safe for consumption during pregnancy include:

  • Salmon
  • Flounder and Sole
  • Herrings
  • Sardines
  • Cod
  • Perch
  • Crab
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Crayfish
  • Farmed cat fish

The types of fish that have significantly larger quantities of mercury and other poisonous substances are usually the bigger predators among the fish family. The list of types of fish to avoid during pregnancy includes:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Bowfin
  • Northern pike
  • Marlin
  • Spanish mackerel
  • Tuna Steak
  • Tilefish

You should also pay attention to any local advisories as they will inform you if any of the fish in those waters are contaminated and harmful to the development of an unborn child.

Submitted by N on October 19, 2012 at 06:52

Is it safe to eat fish during pregnancy?

One of the most common questions asked with regards to childbirth is – what is a safe fish to eat during pregnancy. Cravings are common during pregnancies, and for the fish lovers the question becomes all the more significant. It is important to pick the best fish that provides you with maximum nutrition and is least harmful. You should look at the list of safe fish to eat during pregnancy, as well as the list of fish to avoid during pregnancy in order to be sure that you are eating healthy.

First and foremost, it is important to realize that consumption of fish is very beneficial during a pregnancy because of the fact that it contains important nutrients such as Omega 3 – fatty acids, vitamin D and rich protein content. However, there are some fish that have traces of a chemical known as Methylmercury, which is known to be rather harmful in higher doses to an unborn baby. Remember that the larger predatory fish contain higher amounts of Methylmercury. Some fish contain traces of Polychlorinated biphenyls, which is associated with toddler problems like lower IQ levels.

The list of the best fish to eat while pregnant include salmon, farmed trout, sardines, herrings, Pilchards, cod, haddock, perch and crab. Some of the dangerous types of fish that you should definitely avoid include shark, swordfish, marlin, Northern Pike, lake Whitefish, Gar, bowfin and toxic species such as pufferfish and sea squab.  
Something that is very important to point out when it comes to fish consumption is to make sure that you pay attention to local fish advisories as only the locals are best placed to tell you what kinds of fish contain traces of harmful chemicals when bred in their waters.

The FSA recommends that pregnant women or those breastfeeding must eat up to two portions of oily fish in a week.

Submitted by J on October 19, 2012 at 06:46

When going through a pregnancy, it is always good to have done your research on the kinds of food that will help against those that will have a detrimental effect on the process. While people will usually be concerned about the amounts of food they consume, one should not ignore that the type of food will also play a significant role in the entire fetal development phase. During the latter part of the pregnancy, when the growth of the baby is considerably accelerated, an expecting mother will usually require to consume around 300 extra calories a day in order for her body to generate the energy required. However, it is important to keep in mind that these calories should come from nutritious sources so it contributes to the development of the baby. Eating fish during a pregnancy is not necessarily a restriction, but one should be careful about the type of food they eat. On the whole, fish are a food source that is rich in proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D – which all have their respective health benefits. However, most varieties of fish also contain traces of methylmercury, which is known to be rather harmful to the babies developing nervous system when ingested in high doses.

Experts maintain that an intake of a maximum of 6 to 12 ounces of light ‘canned’ tuna and other cooked fish is acceptable. Some of the varieties of fish that pose no considerable danger include farmed trout, cod, haddock, sardines, herrings and crab. The varieties of seafood that must be avoided at all costs include swordfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel and northern pike amongst many others. It is also important to remember that deli meals have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which is a known aggravator of miscarriages. Listeria has the ability to cross over the placenta and infect the baby, thereby leading to an infection or even blood poisoning. Listeria is also present in unpasteurized milk – therefore making it another food source that should be stringently avoided at all costs. Studies have also shown that while a moderate consumption of caffeine is alright, any excessive intake could play a significant role in a miscarriage. As a result, most expecting mothers are usually instructed by their doctor to avoid caffeine during the first trimester in order to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. Alcohol must be avoided at all costs as any prenatal exposure of he baby to alcohol can interfere with the development of the baby.

Submitted by P T on December 22, 2009 at 11:51

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