Tag Archive | omega 3 fatty acid

Eating Safely in Pregnancy

During your pregnancy, the body lowers its internal defenses against bacteria to accommodate the baby. Unfortunately, a less effective immune system puts mom and baby at a greater risk of food-borne illnesses. This leads expectant moms to become confused about food safety.
Coffee: For those women who would not be the same without their cup of morning coffee, take heart — coffee is considered safe during pregnancy. Because caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your baby, it is smart to limit your coffee to 2 to 3 cups per day, maximum. Pregnancy hormones and metabolism can wreak havoc on your digestive system, so coffee may make you a bit more jittery than usual. If you find yourself having a hard time dealing with coffee, try to cut back even more, or go half-decaf.
Caffeinated Soda: The same rules dealing with coffee pertain to caffeinated soda — moderation is key, so try to limit your intake of soda to no more than 24 ounces(680 g) per day. Since it has no nutritional value, try replacing it with water, milk( 2% of lower) or a healthy juice (watch the sugar content!)
Diet Soda: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Splenda® safe to eat during pregnancy. However, it is artificial, and Splenda® hasn’t been around long enough to research long term effects. Unless you’re diabetic, it may be worth just splurging on an occasional non-diet soft drink, and avoid artificial sweeteners altogether.
Tea: A cup of tea can be a relaxing part of your day, and some teas can have added health benefits as well. Be sure to watch caffeine content.
Chocolate: Some women who fear consuming too much caffeine while pregnant and limit their intake of chocolate will be happy to know that because the amount is negligible, they can indulge in this favorite craving. Beware — chocolate during pregnancy is a notorious cause of heartburn! (watch the calories too!)
Vegetarian or Vegan Diet: because these diets tend to be very well balanced and healthy, most healthcare providers will not advise against a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, studies have shown that pregnant women on these types of diets may suffer from a B12 deficiency which can lead to serious anemia. Be sure to get extra calcium and protein if on these diets and your Vit. B complex.
Fish:women should avoid certain types of large fish that contain high levels of mercury. There are many other types of fish and shellfish that will give them the benefits of omega-3s: Shrimp, flounder, scallops, catfish and crab are all examples of fish that are safe to eat during pregnancy. Just be sure that they are fully cooked.
Spicy Foods: While spicy foods may wreak havoc on your digestion, and cause searing heartburn, it’s safe to eat during pregnancy. Interestingly enough, certain strong tastes can cross the placenta and babies learn to have a taste for what their mom likes.
Livestock with antibiotics: Because the levels of antibiotics in livestock are so
minute, red meat is safe to eat during pregnancy. If you’re concerned, eat organic, free-range meat to ease your worries. Be sure to cook your red meat medium to well done during pregnancy.
Sugar: Pregnant women can safely consume regular sugars, in moderation. These sugars include granulated sugar, honey and brown sugar.

Foods that Aren’t Safe to Eat During Pregnancy
Alcohol: Alcohol in any amount is unsafe for the health and development of your baby.
Un-pasteurized Juices: Un-pasteurized juice can harbor bacteria that can affect you and your baby. Unless you’ve washed, squeezed and bottled the juice yourself, you have no idea how it was handled before it got to you. The process of pasteurization should kill all bacteria, making it a safe during pregnancy.
Smoked/Cured Meats and Deli Meats: Cold cuts and smoked meats can harbor bacteria like E. coli and listeria, which can be very dangerous for a pregnant woman and her baby. Avoid them during pregnancy, as well hot dogs — even the ones you make at home.
Fish: although fish is generally safe to eat during pregnancy, certain large fish which prey on smaller fish may have unsafe levels of mercury in their flesh. Avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel during pregnancy. Limit tuna to smaller types of tuna, and canned tuna, to about 6 ounces (170 g) per week.
Soft Cheeses: Certain soft cheeses can harbor bacteria as well — stick with hard or pasteurized cheese

Is it safe to each sushi during pregnancy?
From http://pregnancychildbirth.suite101.com/articles.cfm by Jody Morse
Why Eating Sushi During Pregnancy is Okay
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are a few reasons why sushi should not be avoided entirely. Remember that fish offers numerous health benefits. The vitamins and nutrients which can be found in sushi can actually be beneficial to the growth and development of the baby. Keep in mind that sushi is also often cooked, so the risk of bacteria is not quite as high as one may think.

Sushi to Avoid or Limit During Pregnancy
Keep in mind that there are certain types of fish which should be avoided by pregnant women, no matter how they are cooked. Kajiki (swordfish), Saba (mackerel), shark, and tilefish are the four types of sushi that should be avoided during pregnancy. While most people are recommended to only eat these types of fish once a month, women who are pregnant are advised to avoid them altogether.

There are other types of fish would do not need to be avoided entirely, but should be limited because they are higher in mercury than other types of fish. It is recommended that pregnant women do not eat any more than three six-ounce servings a month. This list of sushi includes shiro, hamachi, makjiki, toro, inada, meji, buri, kanpachi, masu, ahi, katsuo, and maguro. The types of fish which are used in these sushi dishes include yellowfin tuna, albacore tuna, yellowtail, bonito, bluefin tuna, bluefin, big eye, trout, and blue marlin.

Types of Sushi Women Can Enjoy While Pregnant
Although women should avoid the above mentioned types of sushi at all times during their pregnancy, there are other types which are lower in mercury. These types of fish can be enjoyed by women who are pregnant on a more regular basis.

Infant Development Enhanced By Eating Fish While Pregnant

Both higher fish consumption and longer breastfeeding are linked to better physical and cognitive development in infants, according to a study of mothers and infants from Denmark. Maternal fish consumption and longer breastfeeding were independently beneficial.

“These results, together with findings from other studies of women in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, provide additional evidence that moderate maternal fish intake during pregnancy does not harm child development and may on balance be beneficial,” said Assistant Professor Emily Oken, lead author of the study.

The study, which appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by researchers from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Maternal Nutrition Group from the Department of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. These findings provide further evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and compounds in breast milk are beneficial to infant development.

The study team looked at 25,446 children born to mothers participating in the Danish Birth Cohort, a study that includes pregnant women enrolled from 1997-2002. Mothers were interviewed about child development markers at 6 and 18 months postpartum and asked about their breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum. Prenatal diet, including amounts and types of fish consumed weekly, was assessed by a detailed food frequency questionnaire administered when they were six months pregnant.

During the interviews mothers were asked about specific physical and cognitive developmental milestones such as whether the child at six months could hold up his/her head, sit with a straight back, sit unsupported, respond to sound or voices, imitate sounds, or crawl. At 18 months, they were asked about more advanced milestones such as whether the child could climb stairs, remove his/her socks, drink from a cup, write or draw, use word-like sounds and put words together, and whether they could walk unassisted.

The children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. For example, among mothers who ate the least fish, 5.7% of their children had the lowest developmental scores at 18 months, compared with only 3.7% of children whose mothers had the highest fish intake. Compared with women who ate the least fish, women with the highest fish intake (about 60 grams – 2 ounces – per day on average) had children 25% more likely to have higher developmental scores at 6 months and almost 30% more likely to have higher scores at 18 months.

Longer duration of breastfeeding was also associated with better infant development, especially at 18 months. Breastmilk also contains omega-3 fatty acids. The benefit of fish consumption was similar among infants breastfed for shorter or longer durations.

Women in the U.S. have been advised to limit their fish intake to two servings a week because some fish contains high traces of mercury, which has demonstrated toxic effects. Information regarding mercury levels was not available in this population, but most women consumed cod, plaice, salmon, herring, and mackerel, fish types that tend to have low mercury content. In this study, consumption of three or more weekly servings of fish was associated with higher development scores, so in this case the nutrient benefits of prenatal fish appeared to outweigh toxicant harm.

“In previous work in a population of U.S. women, we similarly found that higher prenatal fish consumption was associated with an overall benefit for child cognitive development, but that higher mercury levels attenuated this benefit,” says Dr. Oken. “Therefore, women should continue to eat fish – especially during pregnancy – but should choose fish types likely to be lower in mercury.” Information on mercury levels in commonly consumed fish is available at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/sea-mehg.html).

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Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.