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How much fish and fast food are safe or OK to eat when you're pregnant?

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Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial in brain development.


Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial in brain development. Unfortunately, the safety of eating fish during pregnancy has become an issue of concern in the past few years as more has become known about the effects of chemicals (PCBs —polychlorinated biphenyls; PBBs —polybrominated biphenyls; and mercury) released into our fresh waters and oceans by our factories. These chemicals are more likely to be found in fish that are higher in fat, because they are stored in fatty tissue and could harm your baby's developing nervous system. Therefore it's best to avoid catfish, bluefish, striped bass, tuna, shark, mackerel, and swordfish during pregnancy. Low-fat fish, such as cod, haddock, and pollack, are the safest; relatively safe fish are salmon, flounder, and sole. To protect yourself, ask your grocer or restaurant waiter how fresh the fish is and where it comes from (ocean fish is safer than lake fish). Limit your intake of fish to two 12 oz. servings per week and be sure the fish is cooked thoroughly so that it is opaque in appearance and flaky in consistency.

Eating fast food on occasion is not harmful if you make wise choices. Fast foods are usually high in fat and sugar and low in the essential nutrients (protein, vitamins, and minerals) that your baby needs to grow and be healthy. Fried and high-sugar foods can cause you to gain too much weight. Gaining too much weight can lead to gestational diabetes or pregnancyinduced hypertension (PIH). However, you CAN make healthy choices at a fast food restaurant. Eat grilled chicken rather than fried chicken sandwiches. Order a salad with low-fat dressing. Have a glass of milk rather than a milk shake. You can still enjoy eating out while you're pregnant if you're wise about the food choices you make.



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