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Seafood Offers Vital Nutrient for Expectant Moms and Babies

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods including fatty fish and flaxseed, may be best known for their link to heart health, but they're also vital for pregnant women and their babies.

These important nutrients have been linked to a reduced risk for depression for mom and a better birth weight for baby along with improved development and brain function, and possibly asthma prevention. What's unclear is exactly how much you need every day.

For a study in Spain, researchers followed nearly 2,000 moms and their babies from the first trimester of pregnancy through the child's 5th birthday.

The investigators found that eating large amounts of fatty fish during pregnancy may offer moderate benefits, including improvements in cognitive functioning and some protection from autism-spectrum traits. The benefits were seen when mom ate about three ounces of fish every day. This amount is just within the limits set by the European Food Safety Authority to avoid excess mercury, and there was no sign that mercury or other pollutants associated with fish had a negative effect that offset the apparent benefits.

The amount of fish recommended in the Spanish study is more than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration weekly guidelines for pregnant women of a maximum of 8 to 12 ounces (about two to three servings) of a variety of seafood low in mercury. But many American women fail to get even that much, posing a health risk to their baby, according to research published in the journal Nutrients.

There are many safe sources, such as salmon (wild when possible), anchovies, sardines, farmed trout and mussels, to enjoy. Skip more questionable ones due to their mercury content.

Fish to Avoid

  • Bigeye tuna
  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish

If you're not eating enough fish, taking supplements could fill the omega-3 gap. Talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.

More information

The FDA has more on the best seafood choices for women during their childbearing years.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=746779

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Mercury
Women
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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