There are many myths surrounding seafood, including the statement that women shouldn’t eat seafood while pregnant. While there are a few types of fish women should avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding, the most popular types of seafood in the U.S are all safe, including shrimp, crab, salmon, clams, and more. Continue reading to learn more about the many benefits seafood has for pregnant women and babies.
Benefits For Pregnant Women
The U.S. FDA estimates that pregnant women only eat less than half a serving of seafood each week, when they should be getting at least two servings. While there have been myths that claim seafood is unsafe for pregnant women, research shows that women who did not eat seafood while pregnant were twice as likely to experience depression. These studies suggest that depressed women had low levels of DHA, which is an essential omega-3 found in fish. Developing babies need a lot of DHA, so pregnant women can benefit greatly from getting more DHA from seafood.
Also, seafood is known to be heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease. For those who have diabetes, high blood cholesterol, or are overweight, it’s important to manage these risk factors by eating fish that is rich in omega-3s to lower the chances of heart disease.
Developing Babies Need Omega-3 DHA
Seafood also has great benefits for developing babies, as a recent study found that women who ate fish 2-3 times a week during pregnancy had babies that reached milestones more quickly. These milestones include imitating sound, recognizing family members, and crawling, and climbing stairs. Omega-3s make up a significant part of the brain, and eating at least two servings a week has great benefits for babies eyesight and brain development.
Safe Seafood To Eat
As mentioned above, the most popular types of seafood in the U.S. are all safe to eat during pregnancy. This list includes shrimp, salmon, canned or pouched tuna, tilapia, pollock, pangasius, cod, crab, catfish, and clams. The only seafood that pregnant women should avoid include fish with high levels of mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, bigeye tuna (found in sushi), and marlin.
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