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What You Need to Know About Eating Fish

With concerns about mercury levels in fish -- a usually healthful food, how much fish should pregnant women eat? What other options provide the same health benefits as fish? Follow these guidelines to stay healthy.

Pregnant Women and Big Fish Risks continued...

But, flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, wheat germ, and omega-3-fortified eggs are excellent food sources for these fats. Also, a couple of new prenatal vitamins - and a 200 mg supplement - contain an algae-derived form of omega-3 fats, she adds.

"These are from vegetable plants, so the fats are not quite the same … the body converts them more slowly. But if someone doesn't want fish, it still works."

Redfern identifies with those who love fish and hate to cast it from their diet entirely. "With them, I advise making sure you're not eating as much as in you once did. You don't to want frighten them, make them not eat fish at all."

The bottom line: Fish contain beneficial protein and fats, but if you want to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or are nursing, follow the EPA and FDA advice.

  • Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, catfish, Pollock and canned light tuna.
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.
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Reviewed on October 17, 2008
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