Pregnancy and Fish: Scientific Facts
Pregnant women should eat omega-3 fat in fish to nourish fetal brains. Yet some fish are high in methylmercury, PCBs and dioxins — toxins that harm developing nervous systems.
Here is the current advice for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, as well as nursing mothers and young children.
- Don’t eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Don’t eat any fish skin, a prime repository of toxins.
- Cut back on tuna: no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore (white) tuna a week, and no more than 12 ounces weekly of “light” tuna, says the FDA. Consumers Union advises only 3 ounces of albacore weekly for women and none for children.
- Do eat high omega-3 sardines and salmon (choose wild salmon; almost all canned salmon is wild). Farmed salmon is a bit higher in PCBs; no salmon tested high in mercury. Also safe, but with less omega-3 fat: flounder, sole, tilapia, catfish, shellfish.
Pregnant women should ask their doctors about omega-3 supplements.
This EatSmart column is reprinted from USAWEEKEND Magazine and is copyrighted by Jean Carper. It cannot be reprinted without permission from Jean Carper.