Let Them Eat Fish!

Scientists' advice that pregnant women eat seafood contradicts fed mercury warnings
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2007 5:45 AM CDT
"I Linguini del Pescatore" (Fisherman's Linguini) fresh pasta with seafood, a typical dish in southern Italy's Puglia region, near Lecce,is seen in this April 20, 2007 file photo.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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. (Read more pregnancy stories.)