Fish and pregnancy

Patient

Q: Is it ok for pregnant women to eat fish?

Doctor

A:   Seafood can be a great source of protein and iron crucial nutrients for your baby's growth and development. And the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can promote your baby's brain development. Research has shown that skimping on seafood during pregnancy may contribute to a child having poor verbal skills, behavioral problems and other early developmental issues.
 
However some large, predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish may contain high levels of mercury. Although the mercury in seafood isn't a concern for most adults, special precautions apply if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant. If you regularly eat these types of fish high in mercury, the substance can accumulate in your bloodstream over time. In turn, too much mercury in your bloodstream may damage your baby's developing brain and nervous system.

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