Most moms know that fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet, because they contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children’s proper growth and development. The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings (2-3 ounces) of fish a week for children as an early prevention of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, pregnant women and young children should include fish or shellfish in their diets, due to the many nutritional benefits.
However, one must exercise discretion and caution when choosing seafood that is safe to eat. Some seafood species can contain trace amounts of a variety of different chemicals. Mercury and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are two commonly studied seafood contaminants that are believed to be particularly harmful for pregnant or nursing women and children. Studies indicate that early exposure to these harmful toxins can lead to serious adverse health effects.