Can I Eat Anchovies When Pregnant?

When it comes to pregnancy, women should be extra cautious with their diet. I heard a lot of women ask “Can I eat anchovies while pregnant?”

The fish industry has been having health issues for quite some time now. Although fish has been one of the healthiest foods, it also contains mercury and harmful pollutants which puts a lot of people at risk. And that includes pregnant women and their baby inside. Mercury is stored in our body and could accumulate in the fish tissue. A recent study of Centers for Disease Control says that 16 percent of American women on their child-bearing age have enough mercury in their blood which could harm the fetus inside.

White anchoviesMercury is capable of passing through the placenta and it could go directly to the baby’s brain. Fetuses, infants and young children are still on the stage of developing their brains and nervous system. Mercury can cause irreversible damage to the heart as well as permanently impair the child’s brain development. That is how potentially dangerous mercury can be.

Government organizations such as FDA and EPA advise pregnant women, nursing mothers and women on their child-bearing age to lessen or avoid eating all high-mercury fish. But fortunately, the National Report Defense Council listed anchovies as part of the low-mercury fish. That means it is safe to eat them if you’re pregnant.

Like any other fish, anchovies are rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. It is a good source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) or also known as Omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for the brain, eye and vision. Recent studies have showed that it could help make the baby smarter and have higher mental development scores later in life. It also reduces the woman’s risk of preterm delivery.

However, it is advised not to eat more than 2 to 3 servings or 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week. Make sure to also thoroughly cook the fish before serving it to avoid other certain diseases.

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