TheBUZZ Pregnant women should be eating more seafood?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Pregnant women should eat 2-3 servings of a variety of seafood each week.
WHAT WE KNOW
When a mom-to-be eats seafood during pregnancy, it helps her baby’s brain develop. When she doesn’t eat enough seafood, her baby might miss out on this brain boost. Fish and shellfish are low in calories, high in protein, and full of nutrients including healthy oils called omega-3s. Omega-3s are needed for the brain to grow and work properly; they are also good for the heart.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
You may have heard about mercury in the news, but the most up-to-date science shows the biggest risk to moms’ health and babies’ development is not eating enough seafood.
A panel of 13 nutrition experts and physicians – the same panel that recommends increased fruit and vegetable consumption – also reviewed 46 seafood studies for the creation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
They found moms-to-be should …
- Eat at least 8 and up to 12 ounces [2-3 servings] of seafood per week during pregnancy to boost the brain and eye development of their babies.
- Eat a variety of cooked seafood. Up to half [6 ounces] of the seafood they eat each week can be white [albacore] tuna.
- Avoid 4 species of fish: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
The average pregnant woman in the U.S. eats less than 2 ounces of seafood per week. So expectant moms should likely quadruple the amount of seafood they eat, in addition to filling half the plate with fruit and veggies at every meal and snack. And just like with fruits and vegetables, all forms – fresh, frozen, and canned – matter.
Stumped for ideas for lunch or dinner? Try some of these family-friendly recipes that are full of delicious fish and shellfish along with nourishing fruits and vegetables …
Choiniere, Conrad, et al. “Fish Consumption by Women of Childbearing Age, Pregnant Women and Mothers of Infants.” Poster presented as part of the International Association for Food Protection 2008 95th Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, 3-6 August 2008.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization. “Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption: Executive Summary.” May 2010. Read Summary
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.” January 2011. Read Report