Seafood and Pregnancy: What is Safe? What are the Benefits?

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I am a seafood-lover. Especially when it involves pasta like Olive Gardens Seafood Alfredo, a yumminess that cannot be surpassed by any home recipe I have tried. But when I became pregnant and read (pretty much everywhere) that certain seafoods could be dangerous for your unborn baby, I decided to stay on the safe side and not eat any seafood. But was I being over-cautious? Lets do a little research.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, women who are pregnant should avoid fish high in mercury, including shark, mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, grouper, and marlin. Not exactly the types of fish you find in regular restaurants. I mean, Im not going to be ordering shark anytime soon or ever. lol

The following seafood you can eat a few times a month (the American Pregnancy Association recommends not more than three 6-oz servings a month): Halibut, tuna, sea trout, and lobster. I dont generally eat seafood more than three times a month (much less in actuality), so this isnt a problem for me.

Fish that you can enjoy often (two times a week) include king crab, anchovies (bring on the pizza!), squid, catfish, scallops, flounder, spiny/rock lobster, herring, shrimp (YES!), clams, oysters, and freshwater trout along with an entire list of more fish you can eat without worrying!

Now, a question: What are the benefits of eating seafood during pregnancy?

A study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the intake of fish in women who were pregnant/breastfeeding was associated with with higher developmental scores in their children by age 18 months.

And check out the featured study at can eating fish during pregnancy really lower your chances of getting depressed? Researchers found that moms-to-be who ate no seafood were nearly 50 percent more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who ate seafood at least three times per week (12 or more ounces weekly).

Conclusion? Maybe were not really doing ourselves a favor by avoiding all seafood during pregnancy and breastfeeding! We all know we need to keep ourselves healthy and there are certain nutrients in certain foods that we need. Especially during pregnancy. Next time Im pregnant, Im going to look find out exactly how I can add safe amounts of seafood into my diet and I wont worry so much. 🙂

Read more about the benefits of seafood during pregnancy and even for aging and childhood development at healthy tuna.