Eat Seafood To
Decrease Anxiety

A new study says that moms-to-be who never eat seafood are more likely to experience anxiety during pregnancy than their fish-eating peers.

Woman eating fish

Are you pregnant and stressed? A recent study says that pregnant women who eat fish are less likely to experience high levels of anxiety -- the research found that mothers-to-be who never ate fish were 53 percent more likely to have anxiety issues. Anxiety can have harmful effects on both the health of the moms and the health of their babies and can result in premature labor birth.

The study

For the study, nearly 10,000 women answered questions about their diets, as well as their levels of anxiety during the 32nd week of pregnancy. Not only was it found that those who didn’t consume fish were more likely to be anxious, women who were vegetarian were 25 percent more likely to have anxiety than those who had a diet consisting of plenty of meat and fish.

What about mercury?

You probably know that mercury consumption during pregnancy can be an issue, but you can absolutely eat fish without exposing your fetus to levels high enough to cause damage. This study says that one portion of oily fish and two portions of white fish per week would be enough to reduce your chances of experiencing high levels of anxiety significantly, so you don’t have to eat fish every day to decrease your chances.

It is also known that some types of fish are known to contain higher amounts of mercury than others. For example, king mackerel, shark and swordfish shouldn’t be on your menu at all. Tuna is okay in small amounts (canned light tuna is your best bet). Some fish that usually have low levels of mercury are carp, freshwater perch, trout, wild-caught salmon and whitefish.

Eating fish may have a positive effect on your anxiety levels, so if you’re feeling anxious, try to work some into your weekly diet to see if it makes a difference. Stress and anxiety are normal to an extent, especially when you’re pregnant, but if your level is high enough that it’s interfering with your day-to-day functioning, speak to your care provider to see what you both can do to help you feel better.

More on stress

Healthy ways of managing stress during pregnancy
Stress linked to increased risk of stillbirth
Pregnancy related stress uniquely affects expectant fathers

Tags: mercury in pregnancy

recommended for you