News

US health authority encourages women to eat more fish during pregnancy

June 23, 2014

In a new draft, the US Food and Drug Administration strongly recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat more omega-3 fatty-acid-rich fish as part of a healthy diet.

The new draft advice recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat a minimum of eight ounces of seafood weekly, or two to three servings of fish a week (1). The nutritional value of oily fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants and in childhood. In the FDA’s assessment, which included the results of more than 110 studies, both the beneficial effects of nutrients in fish like omega-3 fatty acids as well as the potential risk from traces of mer- cury in fish were considered.

The researchers commented that scientific studies published in the last decade show that women who eat a variety of fish at least two times each week during pregnancy have babies with enhanced brain development and better general health. Importantly, skipping fish may mean missing out on this benefit. Women who eat a variety of fish two to three times per week during pregnancy can get the nutrients they need without intro- ducing concerns. The researchers said that a vast majority of pregnant women do not eat anywhere close to the recommended amount of fish per week.

References

  1. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA and EPA issue draft updated advice for fish consumption. FDA News Release. June 2014.