Contrary to federal FDA recommendations, pregnant women and nursing mothers should eat at least 12 ounces of seafood a week to help promote fetal brain development, according to the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. The government has been warning moms-to-be and nursing mothers not to eat more than 12 ounces for fear of mercury poisoning, which can cause neurological problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular a substance called docosahexaenoic acid, help the brain and nervous system grow in fetuses and young children. Recent research found that women who ate a little fish during pregnancy had children with higher IQs and fewer behavioral problems, and were less likely to have pre-term, low-birth-weight babies. The coalition argues seafood's benefits outweigh the risk of mercury contamination.