While most expectant mothers take control of their dietary habits during pregnancy, they often abstain from seafood. There is a significant amount of misinformation surrounding seafood consumption during pregnancy. Some claim that seafood, including fish, shrimp, or octopus, can harm the baby, make the mother ill, or lead to postnatal diseases. During pregnancy, one of the most pivotal periods in a woman's life, these misconceptions lead to concerns about seafood consumption.

Pregnancy is a momentous phase in a woman's life, necessitating a healthy diet not only for herself but also for her baby. Seafood is a dependable source of essential nutrients for expectant mothers. Seafood is an excellent protein source that supports a balanced diet. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, crucial for the brain and eye development of babies in the womb.

For the European and American markets, seafood undergoes stringent checks and inspections before reaching consumers.Nutritionists recommend that pregnant women consume two to three servings of seafood per week from reliable sources. The most commonly consumed seafood in America includes shrimp, salmon, tuna, tilapia, pollock, pangasius, cod, crab, catfish, and scallops. In Europe, the popular choices are tuna, salmon, cod, Alaskan whiting, shrimp, mussels, herring, hake, squid, and tuna.

Contrary to misconceptions, seafood consumed during pregnancy provides numerous benefits for babies. Studies show that babies of mothers who include fish in their diets during pregnancy show improved abilities in imitating sounds, holding their heads upright, and recognizing family members by six months of age. By 18 months, they exhibit enhanced skills like climbing stairs, drinking from a cup, and doodling on paper.

During pregnancy, the placenta serves as the vital connection between the mother and the baby. Nutrients from the mother's food, including heavy metals, pass through this pathway. To ensure a safe seafood consumption, it's crucial to research the seafood source thoroughly. Pregnant women in Europe and America are increasingly inquiring about the origins and safety of the seafood they consume.

Avoiding certain fish species is essential during pregnancy due to the risk of heavy metal exposure. Species like shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, bigeye tuna, marlin, and orange emperor fish should either be entirely avoided or consumed sparingly. Small fish such as anchovy, sardine, salmon, trout, sea bass, sea bream, and bluefish, are generally safer according to the bigger ones. Crustaceans are considered safe, except those from industrial ports and polluted waters.

Sushi and Pregnancy

Sushi, which often includes seafood, is a subject of misinformation regarding pregnancy. Sushi can be safely consumed during pregnancy as long as certain precautions are taken. It's important to consider the source of the fish used in sushi and ensure that it is thoroughly cooked. Consuming raw meat carries the risk of pathogens, which is why it's advised to follow these precautions when eating sushi during pregnancy.

We talked about safe seafood consumption during pregnancy is both beneficial and essential for the well-being of both the mother and the baby. The importance of selecting safe sources, avoiding certain fish species, and ensuring proper cooking cannot be overstated.

For further information, I referred to The Pregnancy Seafood Guide: What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnant Diet published by the American National Fisheries Institute.