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SW: HealthNews Channel
Reported January 11, 2013

Tips for Healthy Pregnancy

 

One popular pregnancy no-no is eating fish with a little one in your belly, but one doctor says there is nothing to fear. 
 
DR. GARY MYERS:  After graduating from medical school at the University of Kansas in 1963, Myers trained in Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at Boston Children's Hospital. He is board certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology and Neonatology and is currently a professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, and Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. Myers’ primary research interest is environmental toxins, specifically mercury. In 1986, Myers began studying mercury exposure from fish consumption in the Seychelles Islands. Seychellois consume fish with 10 to 12 meals each week, and the fish mercury content there is similar to that of oceanic fish sold in the U.S. (SOURCE: www.urmc.rochester.edu)
 
THE MYTH: Pregnant women shouldn’t consume any fish or shellfish during pregnancy. If they do, the high levels of mercury found in fish can cause severe disabilities such as impaired neurological development, brain growth, cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language and fine motor and visual spatial skills. 
 
THE FACTS: Seafood contains both nutrients and toxins. While it does contain small amounts of mercury, fish is also a major source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to brain development. Limiting weekly intake of fish to 12 ounces, as advised by the U.S. government, did not protect children from developmental problems, according to Myers’ studies. Women who ate more than two or three servings per week had smarter children with better developmental skills, and children whose mothers ate no seafood were 48-percent more likely to have a low verbal IQ score. However, some large predatory fish do contain high levels of mercury and should be avoided. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. (SOURCE: www.msnbc.msn.com)
 
SMART WOMAN CONTACT: 
Heather Hare
Heather_Hare@urmc.rochester.edu
 
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