Promote optimal brain development of your child by including seafood during pregnancyPosted on : November 22, 2021
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
What you chose to eat during your pregnancy plays a major role in the health of your child. One food group which has a matrix of health benefits to promote optimal health including brain development is seafood.
Seafood is a rich source of many essential nutrients for health including essential omega-3 fat, iodine, vitamin B12, choline, iron, zinc, vitamin D, manganese, and antioxidants in seafood like salmon. Omega-3 is especially important during pregnancy, and it is well known that seafood is the best source of this polyunsaturated fat.
Unfortunately, there are many women who shy away from seafood due to the fear of mercury poisoning and listeria risk. There is a range of seafood options that are lower in mercury and can be enjoyed 2-3 times a week. These include tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines. Seafood produces long-life options which remove the risk of listeria poisoning. If you are a fan of tuna, it is safe for you to include a tin of Safcol Responsibly Fished Tuna in Springwater 95g every day if you are not eating any other seafood in your diet.
A review of two systematic reviews investigated the effects of different amounts of seafood in the diet and the neurocognitive development of the child. There were no harmful effects of eating seafood on the brain development of the child in 44 research publications analyzed.
The good news is the benefits of including seafood began in the lowest amount of 113g a week and was seen to continue to up to 2.8kg a week. There was an average 7.7 greater IQ points of mothers who chose to eat seafood during pregnancy.
Take home message
While it is not advised to include up to 2.8kg of seafood a week sticking with the recommended 300g of seafood is a big win for the health of your child in many ways, including their brain development and cognitive abilities in their life.
Hibbeln JR, Spiller P, Brenna JT, et al. Relationships between seafood consumption during pregnancy and childhood and neurocognitive development: Two systematic reviews. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2019;151:14-36. doi:10.1016/j.plefa.2019.10.002