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Why Pregnant Women Cannot Afford To Overlook Fish

By: Shubham Ghosh
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Whether pregnant women should be given fish is something that has left many people confused. The concern has been about mercury in fish, which is known to be harmful for the babies.

But, medical experts have assured expecting mothers or those who breastfeed or those who are planning to become pregnant to have fish because it contains a variety of nutrients that are too vital to give a miss.

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Why Is Fish So Vital During Pregnancy?

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium and vitamins A and D. These are extremely necessary for expecting mothers, as they boost the baby's health and bless him/her with a good health.

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Omega-3 Is Essential For The Baby's Brain:

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are the most important nutrients for expecting women. The more they consume these essential fats, the more the baby in them benefits in terms of early childhood development.

Mothers who have higher blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid, give birth to children with better attention spans. In fact, they are considered to be two-months ahead of their counterparts born to mothers with lower DHA levels.

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They are also essential requirements for the development of the infants' brain and retina. Accumulation of DHA in the brain during the first two years after birth determines a child's future course of development.

Besides breast milk, some baby foods (apart from fish like salmon, cod fish and tuna) are some top sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Avoiding Mercury:

Mercury gets released into the water through various items and it gets converted into methylmercury by the bacteria. The fish in water absorb methylmercury and it get absorbed into the protein present in the fish's body and remains even after cooking.

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Our body easily absorbs the methylmercury from the fish we eat and it is not good for pregnant women, since it can cross the placenta and affect the baby inside it.

Even a low dose of methylmercury can adversely affect the baby's brain and nervous system. The result could be seen by observing limited cognitive skills, vision, language problems, etc., in the child.

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Why Don't Pregnant Women Avoid Fish Completely?

Because it has too much nutritional value to miss, especially for a pregnant woman. Thus, the best way forward is to pick the helpful ones and omit the rest.

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Which Fish To Take And Which Not During Pregnancy:

Fish that can be taken during pregnancy are salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, shrimp, tilapia, etc. Fish that are unhealthy to consume during pregnancy are king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, refrigerated smoked fish, etc.

Read more about: pregnancy, fish, baby, health, women
Story first published: Saturday, October 22, 2016, 6:30 [IST]
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