Is it safe to eat fish during pregnancy?
When pregnant, you may get varying opinions on what to eat and what not to eat. In the Philippines, women are encourage to drink Buko (coconut) juice because the nutrients will do the unborn child god, say many women. But what about fish? In a normal diet, many flock to fish dishes not only because it is leaner option but also because it is a good source of protein. However, does this still hold true when expecting? Can you eat fish during pregnancy?
Both fish and shellfish are considered excellent sources of iodine, high quality proteins, and omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain several nutrients that are extremely vital for the body, the downside though is that almost all kinds of fish contain traces of mercury.
Although you may be craving for sashimi, it is advisable to eat small amounts of fish during pregnancy.
In a normal diet, ingesting traces of mercury doesn’t cause any major health issues but when a woman is pregnant, mercury may cause harm to the development of the unborn baby. Since the baby is still developing, a damage to the nervous system may cause many developmental impediments and may finally cause birth defects or congenital diseases.
According to the FDA, pregnant and nursing mothers may consume fish but should ideally avoid consuming fish such as tile fish, shark, king mackerel and swordfish, all of which contain high levels of mercury. Crab, scallops, cod, shrimps, clams, canned salmon, catfish and pollock contain very low amounts of mercury, hence, they are considered relatively safer fish to eat when pregnant. So, relatively speaking it is safe to eat fish during pregnancy. Just be sure to watch out for those fish with higher levels of mercury!
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