Fish Consumption During Pregnancy Boosts the Child’s Brain

A large study has been conducted in Spain and it now shows that mothers who eat a considerable amount of fish each week during their pregnancy period increase the chances to benefit their children’s brains in the future. After following nearly 2,000 mother-child duos from the first semester of pregnancy until the child is about five years, researchers have confirmed this to be true. Most kids whose mothers ate the most fish while in pregnancy were found to have improved brain functions, as compared to those born of mothers who ate least. Seafood is widely known to be an important source of essential nutrients that aid in brain development.

However, many fear seafood due to the claim that it accumulates mercury, which is known to be neurotoxic, from the environment. While some types of fish are healthy for the fetus, species such as shark, swordfish, catfish and giant mackerel have high mercury concentration and, therefore, should be avoided during pregnancy.

According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s 2014 guideline, pregnant women should eat fish, though not more than 12 ounces every week. This measure helps in balancing the potential harm of such pollutants with the general health benefits of fish. The fear of poisoning is what keeps pregnant mothers from keeping a fish diet which sometimes raises concern. The 12 ounce a week is considerably high in Europe since pregnant mothers can have at least 150 to 600 grams of fish in a week, an equivalent of 6-21 ounces.

Even though the mothers’ fish consumption benefits to the child have been confirmed, the effects of maternal fish consumption during development are yet to be fully understood. For that reason, more research is still ongoing. During the research, mothers’ consumption of lean fish and large fatty fish seemed more connected to children scores. Furthermore, fish intake during the first trimester, as compare to consumption later in pregnancy, had the stoutest association. The scientific explanation of this discovery is that baby’s brain development is essentially completed while in the womb. At that point, the brain is more susceptible to dietary deficits more than any other organ in the body.