Fish serves as a good source of protein and certain essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 fatty acids). These nutrients are important for growth and development of the fetus in the womb. What we may not realize though, is that our efforts to eat well, may leave us with more than we bargained for!
Certain types of seafood, mainly Swordfish and Shark have excessively high Mercury content. At present, it is recommended that these fish be eaten only once a month during pregnancy. However, to confuse the issue, some studies suggest that a small increase in Mercury exposure may not be harmful, and present guidelines may soon change. Nonetheless, fish from some regions may carry a greater amount of Mercury or other toxins.
One way to avoid excess exposure to toxins in seafood, is to stick with younger, leaner specimens; for example, stay away from bay Bluefish or lake Trout! It is also a good idea to know the recommendations of your own state regarding food safety.
And of course remember......there are many other potential toxins out there that can harm your baby. We are often exposed to these much more often than an occasional fish dinner. Avoding alcohol and tobacco, and maintaining proper nutrition, are the simple things that can be done to minimize the risk to your unborn child.
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