Revised Fish-Eating Guidelines In Works

Debate stirs after FDA suggests more seafood for pregnant, breastfeeding women.


For years now we've been giving you the scoop on your fish intake during pregnancy. But, it looks like changes are coming.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft report recommending a big U-turn on the federal fish warning for some women, the Washington Post reports. If OK'd by the White House, the FDA's position would reverse the government's current policy that certain groups—women of childbearing years, pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants and children—should limit their consumption of fish. In 2004, the federal government advised to restrict the species and amounts of seafood eaten by these groups, prompted by rising concerns about exposure risks to mercury.

Now, the FDA says that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks, instead urging these women to eat more than the current advised limit of 12 ounces of fish, even if it contains mercury. The report suggests that nutrients in fish, including omega-3 fatty acids, could boost a child's IQ by three points.

However, the FDA's backpedaling has caused a stir in the medical community and with the Environmental Protection Agency, Market Watch reports. The FDA and EPA work together to protect the public from mercury containment and regularly review the advisory. But the Washington Post reports that the FDA went ahead with its own proposal without consulting the EPA until the end.

Confused? Same here. But in this case, for now, it's probably better to err on the side of caution. Scan our Be Careful What You Fish For to see a list of lower and higher-mercury fish. After all, experts say eating some fish while you're pregnant is actually brain food. So check out our recipe for a safer California Roll ... you'll be glad you did!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor. She's not a big fan of fish.