feed for fish and fish as food
Women seem to reduce their seafood intake during pregnancy
A balanced diet is important for the mother’s health during and after pregnancy, and for foetal development. The Norwegian health authorities generally recommend people to eat more fish. However, despite these recommendations, a survey conducted by NIFES shows that women reduce their seafood intake when they are pregnant.
Seafood – part of a healthy diet
Seafood is a unique natural source of the important marine omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, as well as vitamin D and the trace elements iodine and selenium. With diets low in seafood, it may be difficult to get the daily requirement for these nutrients. In addition, seafood contains important proteins and low amount of saturated fat. Thus, seafood makes a valuable contribution to a balanced diet, and the recommendation to eat more fish and seafood also include pregnant women.
Marine omega-3 fatty acids - important for mother and child
In recent years there has been an increased focus on the importance of the marine omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, during pregnancy and in lactating women. DHA plays an important role in foetal brain development and growth. Hence, in order to ensure a sufficient supply of marine omega-3 for the foetus, the maternal omega-3 fatty acids are at risk of being depleted if these fatty acids are not provided through the diet. Recent research suggests that a high marine omega-3 status may reduce the risk of developing postpartum depression.
Lower seafood intake during pregnancy
NIFES has conducted a survey of 47 women’s seafood intake before and during their pregnancy*. The aim of the survey was to find out whether the women knew about the nutrients in seafood, where they got their information from and whether they changed their diet as a result of the information they got. The results showed that the women knew that seafood is a good source of marine omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Nevertheless, they reduced their seafood consumption during pregnancy. Previous studies have established that average seafood consumption for pregnant women is around half a portion of fatty fish per week. This survey suggests a similar consumption, although half of the participants said they never ate fatty fish.
More focus on what pregnant women can and should eat?
Where the women got their information from varied. In general, the women received more information about the B-vitamin folic acid than they did about vitamin D or the marine omega-3 fatty acids, especially from their doctor and mid-wife. The results suggests that women need more information about the importance of a balanced diet, and the positive effect seafood consumption can have on health, for both mother and child before, during and after pregnancy. Pregnant women should be offered the first maternity consultation as early during their pregnancy as possible, and it is important that health personnel have a strong focus on nutrition.