How many of us wonder this? Is seafood OK to eat while pregnant? Can I feed seafood to my toddler, it it healthy for them? Of course just that question, and the fact that so many of us knee jerk the answer “no” is a bit disconcerting, isn’t it? The warning labels on the cans of tuna and sardines certainly keep my hand from grabbing them, preggo or not! Certainly it is a sad state of affairs that our waters are so contaminated with mercury etc, that we have to be warned, but what do we do with the reality that there are very specific nutrients that are almost solely sourced from fish that are vital to our health and to the growing brain of our babies in our wombs?
This last May at our annual LA Pregnancy Awareness Month event, pediatrician and author, Dr. Alan Greene suggested that the gains in health to our growing fetus and to the brain health of our babies, toddlers, and children outweighed the risk of the warnings. Yes, I just typed that. I sat there in the audience of his panel and was shocked to hear him say this, but a part of me was relieved too. Can you hang with me on that? I was relieved to hear a medical provider make a recommendation, in an honest way, using their balancing of pros and cons, and showing how the benefits were so so important. I don’t have an exact quote, we tweeted it and I FB’d it, but that was back in May….and if forced I will see how to go thru the archives…I regress. Look, basically he said we should be getting Omega 3′s, that they are vital nutrients and that the source of fish it really it.
I have a feeling this was music to one of my sponsors ears, Nordic Naturals, who was also sitting in the audience and stood up to comment about where their booth was and about their daily supplements. Dr. Greene had no idea they were a sponsor or that they were present. It was funny. Alan and the other panelists certainly suggested using supplements (which you know are sourced soundly), to use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and their pocket guide as a resource to locate the most healthy of seafood to eat, and to consider green leafy veggies, walnuts; he wrote a blog about it here.
Of course what we did NOT talk about last May and what we all know now is truly a reality, especially for the Pacific coast of the US, is that the impact of Fukishima and the radiation levels of the fish caught in the Pacific is now a growing problem. I am going to email Dr. Greene today about this question, and see if his stance remains the same about eating seafood and sourcing those immensely brain healthy Omega 3 Oils from seafood if at all possible. I will keep you posted on his answer. Here is another amazing post he wrote on the development of the brain.
In the meantime, use your common sense, consider the sources, region, and feeding practices if purchasing fish (wild caught or farmed). Discuss this with your partner and your health provider. The impact of Omega 3′s on the brain is too important to ignore and just cut off your list without rigorous research on your end mama.
Alisa Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder of PAM, and mother to an amazing wonder.
Thanks to my hubby Ron Hamad (director and photographer) for that amazing image – if you want to know more about him, click here.