As a mom-to-be, when I heard about the story on new recommendations urging women to eat more seafood while pregnant or breastfeeding, I wanted to throw up my hands and scream. I am certainly not alone.
"I think it is very confusing," Katrina Anthony, a 30-year-old accountant who's expecting her first child any day now, told me. "There will be a report that comes out that says fish is really good and another that comes out and says no, you shouldn't have it."
Since 2001, pregnant women have been urged by the U.S. government to limit the amount of wish they eat -- no more than 12 ounces a week because of concerns about exposure to mercury warned the FDA. So, I followed those guidelines during my first and now my second pregnancy. Actually, I followed them too well. I hardly ate any fish at all. Turns out that may be the problem.
A national coalition of obstetricians and scientists - on Thursday - said pregnant and breastfeeding women are becoming so fearful of fish that might have mercury that they're not getting enough seafood and this could be hurting themselves and their babies.
The researchers say the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish far outweigh any potential dangers from mercury. They point to a study conducted earlier this year which found that pregnant women who ate more than the U.S. recommended amount of seafood per week had children who had better motor and social skills and were less likely to have low IQ's.
"We're coming out now to help correct misperceptions out there," said Dr. Ashley Roman, an OBY/GYN with the NYU School of Medicine. "There's a lot of scientific evidence supporting the fact that fish consumption actually leads to better outcomes in pregnancy."
Okay, so is this the final word – moms-to-be like myself should eat at least 12 ounces of fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel every week? Not exactly because the FDA says while it will study the science here, it's sticking with its original guidelines – no more than 12 ounces of fish per week.
What's a mom-to-be to do? While I am still thoroughly confused, I did go home and have salmon for dinner last night. My take away from the story is that eating some fish is important for mom and baby – the unanswered question remains how much?