Posts Tagged ‘fish’

Fish safety during pregnancy: what to eat or avoid

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Mercury is a metal that can harm your baby. Fish get mercury from the water they swim in and from eating other fish that have mercury in them. By eating fish that contain mercury, the metal can pass to your baby during pregnancy. This can cause brain damage and affect your baby’s hearing and vision. However, it can be difficult to know which fish is safe to eat and which should be limited or avoided. Fortunately, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have created a chart that classifies fish into three categories:

  • Best choices: eat 2-3 servings a week
  • Good choices: eat 1 serving a week
  • Choices to avoid: high mercury levels, best to avoid completely

Nearly 90 percent of fish eaten in the United States fall into the best choices category, according to the FDA and EPA. So make sure you get the recommended 2-3 servings of fish per week from the “Best choices” category, or 8 to 12 ounces total (12 ounces maximum).

 

FDA

 

Mercury in fish

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

fish for dinnerYou may have heard it’s important to eat fish.  But then again, you may have heard fish can be dangerous, don’t eat it when you’re pregnant.  What’s the deal with that?

Fish is an easy-to-prepare food. It is high in protein, low in fat and full of heart-healthy nutrients. But pollution in our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams is leaving some fish with toxic levels of mercury, which is especially damaging to fetuses, babies and children.

If a woman is exposed to high levels of mercury before or while she is pregnant, her health and the baby’s health are threatened. High levels of mercury can cause brain damage and affect a baby’s hearing and vision.

So, how much fish can a pregnant woman safely eat?  To start with, you should not eat fish that can be high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. But you can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week of shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish and canned light tuna. It’s also OK to eat 6 ounces a week of albacore (white) tuna. All fish should be cooked to avoid any possible parasites or bacteria so, if you’re pregnant, skip the raw oysters, sushi and sashimi for now.

By following these guidelines, you can obtain the health benefits of eating fish, while reducing your baby’s exposure to mercury.

First solid food

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Most babies are ready to eat solid foods at 4 to 6 months of age. And for 20854955_thbmost babies it doesn’t matter what the first solid food is. Traditionally, we start with single-grain cereals such as rice or oats. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby. For example, your pediatrician might recommend starting vegetables before fruits, but there’s no evidence that your baby will develop a dislike for vegetables if fruit is given first. Babies are born with a preference for sweets, and the order of introducing foods does not change this.

Once your baby learns to eat one food, gradually give him other foods. Wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and contact your baby’s doctor.

Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of foods that includes: breast milk and/or formula, meats, cereal, vegetables, and fruits. Talk to your pediatrician about when you should introduce eggs and fish. Some might say to avoid these foods during the first year of life because of allergic reactions. The AAP also states that there’s no evidence that introducing eggs or fish after 4 to 6 months of age determines whether your baby will be allergic to them.

Raw meat makes my skin crawl

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant my appetite started to change. It has definitely improved, but there are still certain things that gross me out! Most notably beef, chicken and fish. I have no desire to prepare these foods. The idea of touching them raw makes my skin crawl. I’ve tried gloves and I ask my husband for help, but still. Yuck. I don’t even want to look at them in the grocery store. Do you know what I mean? Is there anything you just can’t stand the sight of?

I told my midwife about this aversion and she asked where I was getting my protein from. Good question. She rummaged through her filing cabinet and pulled out a fact sheet on healthy, high-protein snacks. She raved about beans, peas, nuts and seeds not only as good sources of protein, but as foods unlikely to activate my gag reflex. She was right.

Here are some of the snacks from the handout she gave me.

Unsalted/raw peanuts, almonds or cashews

Peanut butter w/ apple slices

Sunflower seeds

Hard boiled egg

Hummus with whole wheat pita or crackers

Black bean or lentil soup

Whole grain bread or cereal

Plain yogurt with granola

Low fat milk or cheese

Tuna fish