Few subjects elicit more emotion than the safety of food eaten by pregnant or nursing women and its impacts—good or bad—on their children. And that’s how it should be, given the vulnerability of fetuses and infants, and the importance of optimal brain development to childhood and lifelong capacities and outcomes. But some of what we’ve heard over the years is not withstanding the test of time.
Take the case of pregnant and nursing women who are advised not to eat fish, all of the studies published on this subject find that children’s brains benefit when their mothers do eat more fish during pregnancy and nursing, and that children are not harmed by the minuscule amounts of mercury in most ocean fish. This post dispels the myths and provides suggestions to keep both mother and baby healthy.
This is how Harvard public health researchers put it in a recent medical literature review (Mozaffarian D, Rimm EB et al. 2006):
“For major health outcomes among adults, based on the strength of the evidence and the potential magnitudes of effect, the benefits of fish intake exceed the potential risks.”
“For women of childbearing age, benefits of modest fish intake, excepting a few selected species, also outweigh risks.”
The few exceptions to which they refer to are: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish, which should be avoided by children and pregnant and nursing mothers.
Both Christiane Northrup, MD and Andrew Weil, M.D., stand out as a voices of reason within a misguided, drug-focused medical paradigm that downplays wellness and prevention. Dr. Weil wrote on this in the Huffington Post, titled “Pregnant? Eat Fish!”
Dr. Weil writes,
“Research now suggests that the benefit to a baby’s neurological health from omega-3s appears to far outweigh the potential for harm from small amounts of mercury in fish tissues.”
He goes on to cite the research backing this statement… findings we’ve reported, along with research explaining why the abundance of selenium in ocean fish renders the presence of traces of mercury virtually irrelevant to human health. Continue reading
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller