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Jun 24, 2014

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Since warning pregnant women about the high levels of mercury in fish in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency recently updated advice regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women. These guidelines were based on a review of more than 110 seafood nutrition studies and encourage pregnant and breastfeeding women to consume fish 2-3 times a week for optimal growth and development.

Proposed recommendations include:

1. Eat 8-12 ounces of a variety of fish a week. That’s two or three servings of fish a week. For young children, give them two or three servings of fish a week with the portion right for the child’s age and calorie needs.

2. Choose fish lower in mercury.

  • Many of the most commonly eaten fish are lower in mercury.
  • These include salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish, and cod.

3. Avoid 4 types of fish: tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.

  • These four types of fish are highest in mercury.
  • Limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces a week.

4. When eating fish you or others have caught from streams, rivers, and lakes, pay attention to fish advisories on those waterbodies.

  • If advice isn’t available, adults should limit such fish to 6 ounces a week and young children to 1 to 3 ounces a week and not eat other fish that week.

5. When adding more fish to your diet, be sure to stay within your calorie needs.

For more, read the complete recommendations from the FDA and EPA regarding pregnant women and seafood consumption.

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