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Something Fishy About Being Pregnant

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Jeffrey A. Kasky

Something Fishy About Being Pregnant
Every day we hear a new report from the medical field about how something we eat or drink is or is not good for us. One day coffee is bad – it stunts your growth or causes heart disease. The next day studies at Mayo Clinic dispute this finding saying there is no link.  One day the headlines say that red wine helps prevent heart disease and slows the aging process. The next day we are reading about the cons of drinking red wine — it’s a carcinogen that can cause cancer.

It’s hard to keep up with what’s good for us and bad!

The pros and cons of certain foods is even more critical for pregnant women, because it’s not only their health at stake, but their baby’s health as well.

For years, pregnant women have been told not to eat fish. However, the Food and Drug Administration just came out with a new proclamation: eat more fish, but not fish with high mercury levels.

“Emerging science now tells us that limiting or avoiding fish during pregnancy and early childhood can mean missing out on important nutrients that can have a positive impact on growth and development as well as on general health,” said Stephen Ostroff, the chief scientist at the FDA. Apparently, fish contains great nutrients such as omega-3’s, the B vitamins and lean protein.

So pregnant women, breastfeeding women and young children should ideally eat 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of fish per week, which equates to 2 to 3 portions. What kind of fish is lower in mercury? Salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish, and cod. What fish should you avoid?  Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Refrigerated, smoked seafood often labeled as lox, nova style, kippered, or jerky should be also be avoided because it could be contaminated with Listeria. Find cans of tuna to be an easy snack when you’re on the run? That’s okay, but limit your tuna intake (white albacore) to six ounces/week.

No raw fish should be consumed when you’re pregnant … unfortunately, your sushi cravings will have to wait until after your delivery. Also, avoid raw meats or undercooked poultry for fear of salmonella. Same with raw eggs or any dishes made with raw eggs (some Caesar dressings, hollandaise sauces, etc).

What are some other foods to be avoided?

Unpasteurized milk. Can contain a bacteria called listeria that can lead to miscarriage or cross the baby’s placenta, leading to blood poisoning or infection.

Caffeine.  The jury is still out on how much caffeine you can consume when pregnant. It’s best to avoid it, particularly during the first trimester, but moderate amounts should be okay.

Certain soft cheeses. Love Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola and Mexican style cheeses that include queso blanco and queso fresco? You’ll need to avoid them for the next nine months. However, all soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat.

While you are eating healthy, don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins and exercise regularly.  Eating right, exercising, getting plenty of rest and not overdoing it will go a long way toward ensuring you and your baby are healthy.

About The Author:
Jeffrey A. Kasky, Esq. is a Florida adoption lawyer and Vice President of One World Adoption Services, Inc., a Florida-licensed not-for-profit child placing agency. Jeff’s diverse career experiences include co-authoring the book, “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before … Choosing Adoption” with Robert A. Kasky, Florida-certified law enforcement officer, and involvement in the autism community, including a TV show focused on helping families with legal issues related to autism called “Spectrum at Law” on The Autism Channel. A practicing attorney since 1995, he has worked on more than one thousand adoption cases.

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