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Pregnancy Tip #16 – Be cautious while eating fish

While it is good to include fish in your diet during pregnancy know that excess consumption can lead to infection or retarded growth of the fetus. here we tell you how to have fish the right way.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : October 9, 2014 5:10 PM IST

Be cautious about your fish intake during pregnancy

Fish can be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, that can do a great deal of good to you and your baby during your pregnancy. But keep in mind that you need to be cautious with your seafood consumption to ensure that it doesn't harm your baby in any way. This is because some kinds of fishes, especially the large seawater ones, can contain traces of mercury which can lead to some serious conditions related to your baby's growth and development patterns. Also read about the causes, symptoms and treatment of mercury poisoning.

Normally, mercury enters the sea water through industrial wastes and gets converted into methylmercury. This deadly compound then enters the fish in the contaminated water, binding itself with the flesh of the aquatic creature. It remains embedded even after the fish is cooked thoroughly. High levels of mercury intake during pregnancy can affect the development of your baby's brain and central nervous system. Also read seven foods that you should not consume during pregnancy.

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Therefore as a precaution, limit your fish consumption, making it a weekly affair. Eliminating fish from your diet might seem to be the safest option but that will restrict your intake of rich fish-protein and omega-3 fatty acids too, which play a crucial role in your baby's brain and eye development.

So when it comes to eating fish during pregnancy, follow these rules:

  • Ensure that the fish you consume is well cooked and not raw. Raw or uncooked fish can expose the expectant mother to various parasitic or bacterial diseases which if passed on to the fetus can result in adverse consequences.
  • Avoid having large sea water fishes like swordfish, king mackerel and shark. Instead have fishes that are found in local ponds like rohu, catla, hilsa, surmai etc.
  • Avoid having canned fish as they are loaded with preservatives.
  • Last but not the least; include other sources of omega-3 fatty acid in your diet like flaxseed, yoghurt and eggs to compensate for your limited fish intake.

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