When the FDA and EPA warned pregnant women about mercury levels in fish, consumption of this healthy food dropped dramatically. Women were told not to eat more than 12 oz. a week, but confusion about which fish was OK to eat and fear about getting too much mercury made women give fish up altogether.
Now experts are saying that not getting enough Omega-3s is much more dangerous to the developing fetus than getting trace amounts of mercury. These important fats are found most readily in fish and are necessary for brain development and improved motor and cognitive skills. Some evidence suggests that it may also prevent premature delivery and postpartum depression.
These experts are pushing pregnant woman to eat at least 12 oz. of fish, while the government's advice is to eat no more than 12 oz. The thing is, the National Fisheries Institute is the one paying for this health message urging pregnant women to eat more fish, so the message seems like it's got money on the mind instead of babies.
What's the bottom line? Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the health of growing babies. If you are pregnant and love to eat fish, go ahead and eat it, but stick to no more than 12 oz. a week. Salmon, tuna, sardines (yum), oysters, and mackerel are great sources. Not into fish? Great plant sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, walnuts, soy products, canola oil, and enhanced foods such as Breyer's yogurt and eggs.