Does Seafood Harm Your Pregnancy? A Brief Discussion

While you are pregnant, maintaining a well balanced diet is of utmost importance. Now that you are also feeding the unborn baby, extra care should be taken to supply your body with essential nutrients in the right proportion. As your baby consumes what you eat, there are also certain food items which you should refrain from eating. Seafood is one such item which is should be avoided.

Your doctor must have told you to stay away from seafood as it contains traces of mercury which is especially harmful for the unborn baby. But the question is, are all seafood harmful? For your record, the nutritional benefits of seafood are quite immense. It supplies the body with protein, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and contains lower level of saturated fats. As such, seafood and pregnancy can go hand in hand. But all said and done, you should be careful while choosing an item from the seafood category. There are also items which you must strictly avoid.

So let’s find out which seafood items are permissible and which are best avoided. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends 12 ounces of cooked seafood every week for pregnant women. Seafood items prepared from fish including salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines are considered safe and healthy for pregnant women. These fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are recommended for healthy pregnancy. Similarly, catfish, shrimp, and pollock are also permissible. However, the fish is to be properly cooked at 140 degrees F. Undercooked or unprepared seafood contains a lot of parasites and bacteria which can cause pregnancy complications.

Some seafood items should be avoided as they contain mercury. The harmful effects of mercury can lead to pregnancy complications as it is not good for both the expecting mom and the unborn baby. Mercury is, in fact, absorbed by nearly all sea fish. But the risks of seafood on pregnancy are higher with larger and older fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel etc. So at all cost, you must stay away from food items prepared from these fish. In fact, if you are preparing to get pregnant you must refrain from taking these items. So stop taking these seafood months before planning your pregnancy.