Hi Mommy, Welcome to PregnancyMommy. This time we will discuss about Eat Seafood While Pregnant, May or Not?, hopefully the article we wrote can be useful for Mommy.
Many people may still have confidence in some foods to avoid while pregnant, such as fish. Some people believe that eating fish while pregnant will make the child smell fishy. However, it is simply a hereditary belief that cannot be scientifically proven. Scientifically, fish is precisely needed while pregnant as an indispensable source of protein for fetal growth and development.
There are indeed several types of fish that must be limited in consumption. This is because certain types of fish contain high mercury that can harm the fetus, not because fish cause fishy odors. In addition, how to cook fish should also be considered. Pregnant women should avoid eating raw fish or perfectly immature fish because it may still contain bacteria that can harm the fetus and pregnant women.
Can I eat seafood while pregnant?
If you limit what foods you should eat, this can precisely narrow your food choices and intake. Pregnant women should eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Fish or seafood is one of the foods rich in nutrients, and pregnant women should add it to their intake.
Pregnant women are strictly allowed to eat seafood. Although not all seafood is safe for pregnant women, but seafood contains nutrients that are indispensable for pregnant women. Seafood, such as fish and shellfish, is an indispensable source of protein, iron and zinc for fetal growth and development. Women's iron and protein needs increase during pregnancy compared to before pregnancy to support baby growth, physical changes of pregnant women, and also to help prevent anemia while pregnant.
In addition, seafood also contains omega-3 fatty acids, including dokosaheksanoic acid (DHA), which is indispensable for the development of the baby's brain, especially in the third trimester where the growth of the baby's brain takes place very quickly. Omega-3s in seafood can also reduce bleeding and the risk of babies being born prematurely. A fish-rich diet can also lower the risk of heart disease by reducing blood clots and triglyceride (blood fat) levels as well as lowering blood pressure if you have pre-existing high blood pressure.
But some types of seafood, such as predatory fish, contain high levels of mercury. Mercury can accumulate in your bloodstream over time. Too much mercury in the bloodstream can damage the development of the baby's brain and nervous system. Therefore, choose a type of seafood that does not contain high mercury, especially when pregnant.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends pregnant women eat at least 8 -12 ounces (340 grams) or about 2-3 servings per week of various types of low-mercury seafood.
What kind of seafood should pregnant women avoid?
Although seafood has many benefits, but you should avoid some types of seafood during pregnancy. Some types of seafood contain high levels of mercury and fish that live in polluted lakes or rivers can also contain harmful chemicals. Avoid eating this type of fish or seafood. Mercury can damage the brain, kidneys and central nervous system development of the fetus. Mercury can penetrate the placenta and can harm the fetus. To be safe, you should avoid or limit the consumption of certain types of seafood during pregnancy.
The types of seafood that are eaten at least 8-12 ounces per week are tilapia, cod, salmon, crab, shrimp, sardines, tuna, and clams.
Read Also : 7 Foods That Must Be Consumed By Pregnant Women, So Healthy and Smart
The types of seafood that should be avoided are sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, marlin, and raw fish, such as in sushi and sashimi.
How to eat seafood safely during pregnancy?
Although mercury can harm a baby's brain development, eating low levels of mercury-containing seafood with average amounts during pregnancy has not been shown to cause problems. As long as you avoid eating seafood that is known to contain high mercury or contaminated pollutants, eating seafood can be part of your healthy food intake during pregnancy.
Some tips to still be able to eat seafood safely during pregnancy, among others:
- Avoid large fish or predatory fish, such as sharks, king mackerel, or swordfish to avoid exposure to high mercury.
- Also avoid eating raw fish or shellfish. Raw fish and shellfish contain bacteria or viruses that can harm you and your fetus.
- Cook the seafood until it is perfectly cooked. Cook fish or other seafood with an internal temperature of 63° C to reduce the risk of food poisoning. The fish is cooked until it changes color and the meat can be separated. Cook the prawns and lobster until the meat turns a bit whitish. Cook the mussels and oysters until the shells are open and discard shells or oysters whose shells do not open.
Choose fresh fish of good quality with the characteristics of having clear eyes, whole scales, the aroma of fresh brine, chewy meat or reappear after pressing, cold temperature (below 4° C) with no ice crystals. Put the fish in the freezer if it is not cooked immediately.