Reproductive Health Center, Tucson, Arizona

Should you eat fish while pregnant?

Should you eat fish while pregnant? – fertility clinic Glendale AZ area

Pregnant women are often concerned about what they should and should not eat. Mothers naturally want to protect their babies’ health, and most are willing to do whatever it takes during pregnancy to achieve this. However, women may receive mixed messages about fish. What are the pros and cons of eating fish while you’re pregnant?

Fish contains vitamins and healthy fats

From a health perspective, fish is generally considered by nutritionists to be the healthiest type of meat. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fats, such as DHA. These fats are important in building the baby’s brain, and eating fish is a great way to ensure that you’re getting enough of this important category of nutrients. Most other meats, such as chicken and beef, don’t have nearly the levels of omega-3 that fish has. In other words, fish is brain food.

Fish is also a great source of other nutrients, including protein, iron, and zinc. All of these are also important for your baby’s health.

Fish may contain contaminants like mercury

The biggest downside to eating fish is that some types of fish may contain mercury. It tends to build up in the bodies of larger fish as they eat smaller fish. The likelihood of fish having significant levels of mercury depends heavily on what type of fish it is. Pregnant women are advised to stick to certain types of fish to reduce the risk of mercury contamination.

The highest-risk types of fish include swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish. It’s best to avoid eating these types of fish while you’re pregnant. Albacore tuna and tuna steaks can also be contaminated with mercury, although canned light tuna is usually okay.

Pregnant women are advised to eat fish in moderation – fertility clinic Glendale AZ area

Given the many potential benefits of eating fish for your baby’s health, it’s not recommended that you avoid fish while pregnant because of worries about mercury. The current recommendations of the U.S. government are that pregnant women should eat 8 to 12 ounces of lower-mercury fish per week. That’s about two to three servings. Eating this amount provides the benefits of the omega-3 fats and other nutrients while also minimizing the risk of mercury contamination.

Recommended types of fish include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, and trout. Tilapia, cod, catfish, and shrimp are also considered good choices. If you already eat fish regularly, you should stick to the safer types of fish while pregnant. However, if you don’t currently eat fish, you may want to consider adding some of the safer types of fish into your diet.

If you have additional questions, our fertility clinic Glendale AZ area can refer you to a nutritionist who specializes in prenatal nutrition.

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