During pregnancy, you have at least three chances everyday to boost your baby's health. A diet full of nourishing foods, packed with vitamins and minerals, can go a long way to ensure a bright future for your little one.
Fish is one of the smartest food choices you can make, literally. A type of omega-3 fatty acid found in abundance in seafood, called DHA, is needed for the best possible development of your baby's brain. Need more bang for your bite? Low-fat, high-protein fish is also good for mom's brain, heart and weight.
Expert Advice for Moms-to-Be
Pregnant women are no where close to eating as much seafood as they should. Why? Maybe you’ve heard the wrong information in the news. Maybe something in the paper has you confused. But when you turn to the experts, the advice is really simple and clear.
Here is the advice for pregnant and breastfeeding moms:
1. Eat seafood 2-3 times each week to boost your baby’s eye and brain development.
Support from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “Moderate evidence indicates that intake of omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA, from at least 8 ounces of seafood per week for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding is associated with improved infant health outcomes, such as visual and cognitive development.”
2. Eat a variety of fish.
Support from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “Seafood choices can include those with higher and lower amounts of [omega-3s], but, some choices with higher amounts should be included.”
"In addition to the health benefits for the general public, the nutritional value of seafood is of particular importance during fetal growth and development, as well as in early infancy and childhood.”
3. There are four exotic fish to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding: tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Up to half (six ounces) of the seafood pregnant women eat each week can be white albacore tuna.
Support from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “It is recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week, from choices that are lower in methyl mercury.”
Here are some tasty ideas for how to fill your pregnancy diet with plenty of seafood:
- When you’re pregnant, sometimes it feels better to eat several mini-meals instead of a big meal.
An easy go-to for a nutrient-rich snack is canned fish on whole wheat bread as a sandwich or as a dip with crackers and cut vegetables.
- Fish is a delicious and healthy choice when dining out.
Choose seafood you know you like or take the opportunity to try a new type. Ask for grilled or broiled fish instead of fried.
- Craving comfort food? Simply swap in seafood for your usual protein.
Beef burgers become salmon burgers; pepperoni pizza becomes shrimp pizza; and chicken quesadillas become canned tuna quesadillas.