Pregnancy myth: Eating seafood is harmful

In this series, we explore common pregnancy myths, where they come from and whether there’s any truth in them. While we offer the scientific answers to all these myths, we’ll also look them from a cultural perspective and offer practical tips.

Pregnancy myth: Eating seafood is harmful

Pregnancy comes with many restrictions involving the foods you should or should not eat. According to the myths, some foods that you should not eat include seafood, especially shellfish, and snails. The reasons for this are:

  • Eating seafood causes your baby to have rashes
  • Eating snails causes your baby to drool a lot

What if you are a seafood lover? Is it worth skipping all seafood for the health of your baby?

RELATED: 8 foods you should reconsider eating while pregnant

Where it comes from

According to the Chinese, seafood tends to be higher in toxins, which is why it is a food that needs to be eaten in moderation or with care. There is some truth in this as all seafood from the oceans contains some mercury, and there is an advisory asking pregnant women to avoid some varieties of deep sea fish like swordfish. Another factor could be that over time, people have observed that seafood can trigger allergies in some people, which is possibly where this myth comes from.

As for snails causing babies to drool though, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of scientific proof to back this up, so it could be just visual association with the sliminess of snails! In any case, there’s nothing wrong with babies drooling, so you don’t have to worry about it.

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Should I follow this myth?

Certainly, you should watch your intake of seafood and keep it to two or three portions a week as recommended. But actually, skipping all seafood is not doing your child a favour. The reason for this is that seafood, especially fish, is a great source of Omega 3. This fatty acid is extremely good for brain development and healthy eyes and skin. It is a nutrient that cannot be produced by the body so you have to consume it either in your diet or through supplements. You should try and have more Omega 3 during pregnancy for a smarter, healthier baby!

Babies are only known to develop food allergies after birth and not while they are in the womb, since they receive nutrients from the placenta and do not digest food directly. There is no proof that what you eat during pregnancy can trigger any kind of allergy in an unborn baby. For example, doctors have overturned the advisory against eating peanuts during pregnancy because there is no proof that eating nuts can cause a nut allergy.

RELATED: Is it true you can’t have cold drinks in the first trimester?

As for snails, if you like them, eat away! It is unlikely that you eat them every day in any case, so why worry about it?

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