Eating pregnant fish unexpectedly has become a controversial issue.” Fish contain valuable fatty acids, but sometimes also harmful mercury. “So eat or not eat?” Wonder the confused future mothers. Of course, eat! Just choose them carefully beforehand.
Pregnant women are advised to eat fish, because they are an extremely valuable source of nutrients, above all fatty acids from the omega-3 EPA and DHA, which we can not find in any other food than fish and seafood.
Omega-3 acids influence the formation of brain structures, the functioning of the nervous system, cognitive abilities and the level of intelligence in the unborn child.” Research shows that deficiencies of omega-3 in fetal life cause behavioral and cognitive deficits.
At the same time, in some fish species, a strong toxin – methylmercury, which penetrates the placenta and damages fetal structures – and other pollutants is accumulated.
What to do? To eat or avoid pregnant fish? A lot of scientific research has been done on this subject and the same conclusion is being made.
Pregnant women should eat fish because the benefits of eating them far outweigh the risks of excessive toxins to the body.
Nutrition organizations clearly indicate which fish must be avoided by a pregnant and breastfeeding woman, and what should be eaten so that the baby develops optimally in fetal life.
Pregnant fish – can you eat fish in pregnancy?
Fish are a rich source of protein, iodine, vitamin B12, and above all omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that children of women who eat 2-3 portions of fish per week during pregnancy are characterized by faster development, better cognitive abilities and higher IQ. Fatty acids EPA and DHA are crucial in the development and functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Some studies have shown that the intake of fish by a pregnant woman prevents the occurrence of autism in the youngest.
DHA pregnant maternity essential for the proper development of the child
The children of women who have eaten fish during pregnancy are quicker to reach the next stages of development.” Generalizing, it is claimed that at 6 months of life they imitate sounds, raise their head and recognize the family, while in the 18th month, they go upstairs, drink from a cup and draw.
In addition, consumption of omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of allergies in children, improve the functioning of the immune system, and also prevent premature birth.
Benefits of eating fish in pregnancy – results of scientific research
1. The study published in the Lancet magazine included nearly 12,000 pregnant women and their children, and they were asked questions about their diet during pregnancy and the development of children up to 8 years of age. Women were divided into three groups that did not eat fish, eating up to 340 g of fish per week and eating over 340 g of fish a week. It was found that children of women who did not eat fish during pregnancy constituted 25% of people with the lowest IQ and showed suboptimal results in behavioral tests and social behavior tests. The best results were achieved by children of women who eat the most fish in pregnancy.
2. The analysis carried out at the University of Southampton concerned the behavior of children aged 9 years, whose mothers were subject to nutritional observation during pregnancy. It shows that children of mothers eating pregnant fish had 35% less tendency to hyperactivity and were also characterized by higher verbal intelligence, and that the study sums up that the pregnant woman’s intake of fish has a small but long-lasting effect on the neurological development of children.
3. A further study involved 123 pregnant women who were divided into two groups: one continued to feed poor fish and the other consumed two additional portions of salmon per week, which provided 3.45 g of EPA and DHA. such amounts have a positive effect on the immune system, and at the same time no effects on atopy-related parameters have been observed in 6-month-old children.
4. 98 women with atopic dermatitis were divided into 2 groups, one for 20 weeks of pregnancy daily taking a placebo and the other supplement with 3.7 grams of omega-3 acids, and skin tests for allergy were performed in the children’s annual mothers.
The study shows that supplementation of omega-3s by the mother during pregnancy can reduce the occurrence of allergic reactions in children.
In the diet of a pregnant woman should be 2-3 portions of fish and seafood weekly, of which 1 portion are to be greasy sea fish.
One serving is a piece of the size of the middle of the hand (about 150 g).At the same time, when eating a portion of slightly more polluted fish, one should not eat any more fish or seafood in a given week.
Fish in pregnancy – risks associated with eating fish during pregnancy
The biggest threat to fetal development associated with eating the fish by the mother is the presence of mercury, which disrupts the formation of the nervous system and the brain, mercury goes to the environment as a result of emissions from industrial plants, as well as volcanoes and forest fires.
For decades it has been used in thermometers and fluorescent lamps, when mercury enters the water, the bacteria that live in it convert metal to the organic form – methylmercury.
Fish absorb methylmercury from water and by eating other organisms, this compound attaches to fish muscle proteins and is not removed by heat treatment.
Heavy metal poisoning – symptoms, causes, treatment
Methylmercury permeates the placenta. Many studies have shown its harmful effects on the development of the nervous system and fetal brain. Numerous analyzes show that the high content of mercury in the pregnant woman’s body affects the child’s deterioration of memory, concentration and attention, speech development, motor skills and The content of mercury in the mother’s body can be examined by elemental analysis of the hair and blood test.
Toxins in fish – check which fish do not poison
There is controversy about the birth weight of a baby with high consumption of pregnant fish, some studies show that eating the fish by the mother prevents too low birth weight, while in 2016 the results of a very large study that included 26 184 pregnant women and their kids.
Fish intake was observed among women from 15 countries and its impact on birth weight and overweight risk in children, the median fish consumption ranged from 0.5 times per week in Belgium to 4.45 per week in Spain. more than 3 times a week was associated with fast weight gain by infant and higher risk of overweight in children aged 4 and 6. Another analysis regarding the possible complications associated with high consumption of lean fish, fatty fish and seafood has shown that eating oily fish and seafood does not cause complications in the course of pregnancy, while eating large the amount of lean fish was associated with the risk of premature birth.
Tuna and other canned fish are inadvisable.” Bishenol A (BPA), which is very harmful to health, penetrates into canned food and has a structure similar to that of female sex hormones, which has been shown to change the secretion of thyroid hormones in mothers and newborns during pregnancy.
Mother thyroid abnormalities affect the development of the fetus, and BPA itself can damage the developing internal organs of the child, cause miscarriages and premature delivery, and the popular canned tuna is a very large predatory fish, which makes it contain more toxins than smaller species fish.
Warm-cooked fish in pregnancy are contraindicated due to the possibility of being infected with a very dangerous Listeria monocytogenes, which in 20-30% of cases leads to death.” Pregnant listeriosis is particularly dangerous because it can be asymptomatic in the mother and even lead to death the fetus.
Although Listeria is dying at temperatures above 60 ° C, it is better to avoid smoked fish during pregnancy and not to eat cold-smoked fish at all.