Eating seafood during your pregnancy is generally not recommended. For years, pregnant women have been avoiding seafood at all costs. Especially in the United States, many negative chemicals have been found in fish, since they are full of all the substances we throw into our lakes, oceans and rivers. To be safe, many pregnant women avoid seafood altogether, no matter how it is cooked. When you eat fish, you could be consuming mercury, PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls), and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). None of these chemicals are safe for you, and they are especially unsafe in the early development of your child. However, there are also many benefits to eating fish when you are pregnant. Fish contain many proteins and fatty acids that could benefit you during your pregnancy. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish might even lessen the likelihood of maternal depression.
A recent study compared the depressive symptoms of pregnant women who consumed fish with omega-3 fatty acids and those who did not. The data greatly supported the theory that pregnant women who intake more omega-3 fatty acids are significantly less depressed than those that do not. While there are proven physical risks to eating fish during your pregnancy, there are also many positive effects on your mental well-being.
If you want to reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids during your pregnancy by eating fish, there are numerous ways that you can go about it safely and avoid consuming the toxins and bacteria that many pregnant women try to avoid. First, always make sure your fish is cooked well. Undercooked fish can carry worms, so cooking it at a high temperature will eliminate such bacteria. Also, when choosing fish at the grocery store, look for a Grade A label, and make sure the fish are shiny with clear eyes and red gills. Finally, when you eat seafood out at a restaurant, choose restaurants that are very busy with many people. That way, it is less likely that fish are sitting around growing bacteria in the back of the kitchen.
You do not have to completely avoid fish during your pregnancy. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been known to lessen the likelihood of depression in pregnant women. Depression can negatively affect both the mother and her baby, so going about eating fish in a safe manner might be very beneficial to you and your child.
Source: Jean Golding et al: High Levels of Depressive Symptoms in Pregnancy With Low Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake From Fish. Epidomology Volume 20 Issue 4 pp. 598-604 July 2009