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Pregnant moms need seafood!

Photo: McPig/Flickr


If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or feeding young children, it is likely that you’ve been warned against eating too much fish by a friend, parent, or provider. ​

This warning, while meant to protect fetuses and children from exposure to mercury and other elements that may be detrimental to brain development, has had a second, negative, effect: Many pregnant or nursing moms avoid fish altogether and keep their young kids away from it too. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hopes to change that. This summer the federal agency teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update its advice about fish consumption during and after pregnancy. 

 “For years many women have limited or avoided eating fish during pregnancy or feeding fish to their young children,” says Stephen Ostroff, M.D., the FDA’s acting chief scientist. “But emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients.” 

According to FDA analysis, 21 percent of pregnant women eat no or very little fish – and those who do eat far less than they should. The FDA and EPA now recommend children and pregnant or lactating women eat eight to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish each week. 

Conversely, the agencies recommend this group eat less than six ounces of white (albacore) tuna a week. They specifically call out four high-mercury fish pregnant or breastfeeding women and children should avoid:  tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. 

Follow fish advisories from local authorities when eating fish caught from local streams, rivers and lakes. If advice isn’t available, limit your total intake of such fish to 6 ounces a week (1-3 for kids). 

For more information on the FDA and EPA’s draft advice go to www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm393070.htm.



Fish with Low Mercury 

  • American  shad

  • Mullet

  • Flounder

  • Herring

  • Anchovies

  • Pollock

  • Crayfish

  • Haddock

  • Sardine

  • Hake

  • Salmon

  • Tilapia

  • Whitefish

  • Snapper

  • Monkfish

  • Carp

  • Freshwater perch

  • Skate

  • Canned light tuna

  • Spiny lobster

  • Jacksmelt

  • Chub

  • Mackerel

  • Croaker

  • Trout 



Fish with HIGH Mercury 

  • Tilefish

  • Shark

  • Swordfish

  • King Mackerel

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