The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition has summarized the recommendations from official groups, worldwide. Their website should be essential reading for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and women thinking of becoming pregnant.

Let’s summarize their summary recommendations.

First, some background.

  • The typical American diet results in suboptimal intake of long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • Fish is the dietary source with the highest levels of long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • Trace amounts of methyl mercury in fish raises concern about the development of possible impairments in cognitive (intellectual) function in offspring.
  • However, the nutritional benefits of fish consumption during pregnancy greatly outweigh potential risks from trace methyl mercury.
  • Ocean fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are natural sources omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy and provide a lean protein source with important micronutrients like vitamins B, D, zinc, iodine, and selenium.

And, the recommendations.

  • Pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women should consume at least 12 ounces of seafood per week (salmon, tuna, sardines), or DHA-fortified eggs.
  • 6 ounces of the recommended fish per week can come from albacore tuna.
  • There are also recommendations for women who can’t eat fish.

The bottom line?
These recommendations are consistent with recommendations by many government and independent organizations around the world.

The Coalition provides links to supporting science. Guidelines from the FDA are listed here. Another summary of supporting evidence is here at this blog.

10/5/07 09:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.