Pregnant Mom Can Add More Fish /Seafood for Child's Growth as Pregnancy Nutrition

Pregnant Mom Can Add More Fish /Seafood for Child's Growth as Pregnancy Nutritio

Now it is become a matter of survival of the fittest. These days intelligence of a child and the mental faculty depend a lot on the diet the mother has during pregnancy. So most of our educated girls are quite positive over these contributions that is why they like to eat the right type of diet before and during pregnancy.Key to protecting the health of your child is to get regular prenatal care.Not only have physical disorders been linked with ill-nutrition before and during pregnancy, but neurological disorders and handicaps are a risk that is run by mothers who are mal-nourished, a condition which can also lead to the child becoming more susceptible to later degenerative disease.

Eating in pregnancy depends on the weight in the beginning. In the first trimester one does not need extra calories per se, but one needs to have lots of vitamins and folic acid because all tissues are growing and the fetus is beginning to form so vitamins and minerals are most essential and of course protein follows. As the trimester progresses, one must start eating the extra diet in terms of proteins because the body is growing inside. You need lots of milk or milk products and whole grains. Healthy eating is very important during pregnancy, you must eat a healthy normal diet. Now that you're eating for two (or more!), this is not the time to cut calories or go on a diet. In fact, it's just the opposite - you need about 300 extra calories a day, especially later in your pregnancy when your baby grows quickly. If you're very thin or carrying twins, you'll need even more. But if you're overweight, your health care provider may advise that you consume fewer extra calories.

Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron, and the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can help promote your baby's brain development. However, some fish and shellfish contain potentially dangerous levels of mercury. Too much mercury may damage your baby's developing nervous system.

Some types of seafood contain little mercury. According to the most recent guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week (two average meals) .In July 2006, a popular consumer magazine raised questions about the safety of any type of canned tuna for pregnant women. The FDA continues to support the safety of up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, including canned light tuna.

But recently the conclusion of a new British-American study that conflicts with advice on fish consumption for pregnant women given by U.S. government agencies. The study suggested that children whose mothers ate at least three servings of fish a week during pregnancy had higher scores in tests of mental function in their early years.

"For the baby's development, at the level of 12 ounces a week during pregnancy, the beneficial effects of the nutrients in fish far outweigh the risk," said Dr. Joseph Hibbeln. He is a clinical investigator at the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and lead author of a report on the study in the Feb. 17 issue of the journal The Lancet.

That assessment contradicts advice given by two U.S. agencies, the Environmental Protection Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, which issued an advisory in 2004 telling pregnant women to avoid eating more than 340 grams of fish -- about 12 ounces a week -- because of the danger of mercury poisoning.

The new study found that maternal seafood intake during pregnancy of less than 340 grams a week was associated with increased risk of children being in the bottom 25 percent of verbal IQ at 8 years of age and with suboptimum performance on tests of social behavior, fine motor activity, communication and social development.

Hibbeln said the FDA and the EPA have been briefed on the results of the study.

Suzanne Ackerman, a spokeswoman for the EPA, said, "We looked at all the relevant information before issuing the guidelines. It is much too early to say whether one study will change the guidelines."

Veronica Castro, an FDA spokeswoman, said, "We have made no changes to our current information regarding pregnant women and seafood consumption."

The new study followed the children of 11,875 women living in Bristol, England, who had expected delivery dates between April 1991 and December 1992. The women were sent postal questionnaires about their diet four times during pregnancy and then periodically afterward about their children's social and developmental outcomes.

"We noted that children of mothers who ate small amounts (less than 340 grams per week) of seafood were more likely to have suboptimum neurodevelopmental outcomes than children of mothers who ate more seafood than the recommended amounts," the researchers reported.

The benefits "most likely" came from the high content of omega-3 fatty acids in fish, Hibbeln said. As for mercury, the fish consumed in England "appears to have more methyl mercury in it than the fish eaten in the United States, particularly tuna," he said.

"Our study has shown that the benefits of eating fish do outweigh the risks," said Jean Golding, professor emeritus of pediatric epidemiology at the University of Bristol and a member of the research team. "That might be at least three portions a week. Not at every meal, but we couldn't see with the information we had any harm from eating fish."

Dr. Gary Myers is a professor of neurology, pediatrics and environmental medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, and co-author of an accompanying editorial in the journal. He said the study "says that it is very important for children's cognitive development to get adequate amounts of long-chain fatty acids."

And there are few other dietary sources of those omega-3 fatty acids, he said, such as walnuts and flaxseeds.

"This article really points out the benefits of eating fish," Myers said. "It is important when people think about children to keep a balanced view of these things. There are no documented cases of people being damaged by eating fish. Reports of damage are based on epidemiological studies that are complex and difficult to interpret at times."

However, fresh, raw seafood is potentially risky because it can contain parasites such as tapeworm, which, if they grow large enough, could rob your body of nutrients needed for your growing baby. Freezing and cooking deep-sixes the parasites. For this reason, many Japanese restaurants that specialize in sushi use frozen rather than fresh fish.

But restaurants in the United States aren't required to freeze fish before serving it raw.As a general rule, ocean fish such as tuna, sea bass, sole, flounder, and snapper are safer than river and lake varieties. When eating out at any restaurant, order your fish well cooked. Many upscale eateries lightly sear fresh fish on the outside, then serve it rare.

He said that one major problem with conducting a similar study in the United States is that "it is hard to get together people who eat large amounts of fish. Finding a group of individuals to study is not easy."

Asked what he would recommend to pregnant women, Myers answered with a question: "You know for a fact that eating fish improves your child's cognitive development. Someone tells you there might be a risk of eating mercury. Which would you choose?"


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