Expectant mothers need plenty of seafood-source omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are key building blocks of a baby's eyes, brain, and immune system.
And the evidence is clear ... babies and infants need ample amounts to reach their full potential.
Certain plant foods provide tiny amounts of omega-3s, but they're not nearly as beneficial as the omega-3s found only in fish.
Wild seafood ñ especially fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, and sablefish ñ is a safe, superior source of omega-3s.
And, unlike farmed seafood, wild seafood is not also high in competing omega-6 fatty acids.
When consumed in the excessive amounts typical of most Americans' diets, omega-6 fats interfere with omega-3s and may impair a child's development and future health.
Parents are naturally concerned about the mercury in seafood.
Fortunately, recent scientific findings confirm that the rewards of seafood far outweigh any risks.
In fact, pregnant and nursing women who eat less fish than U.S. agencies (EPA and FDA) recommend may hinder optimal brain and visual development in their children.
A 2010 U.S. FDA report found that maternal and childhood diets with far more fish than the average American eats are both safe and beneficial: see "FDA Analysis Supports More Fish for Moms and Kids".
The official U.S. Dietary Guidelines for 2010 reflected that overwhelming evidence: "... the benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh the risks, even for pregnant women."
And the authors of a landmark 2007 study came to a similar conclusion: "The dangers of fish-eating in pregnancy have been misrepresented and are misleading and are not based on any evidence of harm." ñ Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)
That study involved almost 12,000 British mothers, and showed that children born to mothers who ate more seafood than the U.S. recommends for pregnant women (8 to 12 ounces per week) had higher IQs, better social skills, and were more communicative and physically accomplished.
Fish & Omega-3s in Child Development: Recommended Reading
You may be interested in these studies and writings by leading researchers.
The Omega-3 Effect, by William Sears, M.D.
In his clear, simple, best-selling style, Dr. Sears shows why omega-3s are key to child development and overall health Ö click to read the chapter about omega-3s during pregnancy and infancy.
The Omega-3 Connection
A beautifully written essay on fetal development by psychiatrist Andrew Stoll, M.D., of Harvard University.
Maternal Fish Diet Boosts Baby's Language Learning
"Women who ate fish regularly during pregnancy had children with better language and communication skills by the age of 18 months, shows a new study, which supports previous evidence that fatty acids found in the food boost children's neurological development."
Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood
"...Maternal seafood consumption of less than 340 g per week in pregnancy did not protect children from adverse outcomes; rather, we recorded beneficial effects on child development with maternal seafood intakes of more than 340 g per week, suggesting that advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental."
Omega-3 Deficiencies in Neurodevelopment
"... deficiency in long-chain essential fatty acids during critical periods of prenatal and childhood neurodevelopment may result in a residual predisposition towards aggressive and depressive behaviors ...".
Pediatrician", William Sears, M.D.
High DHA Brain Care (formerly Prenatal) Therapy + Vitamin D3
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