A new study has found the benefits of eating fish while pregnant greatly outweigh the risks. The good that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish outweigh the potential risk of mercury exposure. The babies born to women with the highest blood levels of fatty acids (and mercury) showed improved performance on motor skills tests. The tests took a look at the child’s ability to grasp objects, roll over and other activities that require psychological functioning.
“Prenatal [mercury] exposure had no direct associations with neurodevelopmental outcomes,” researcher JJ Strain, Ph.D., and his colleagues wrote. Scientists have known for some time that fish is rich in fatty acids that are essential to brain development, MedPage Today reported. However, prenatal mercury exposure can be toxic for babies at high doses. To conduct the study, researchers took a look at pregnant women who consumed fish for a number of weeks. Resulting data showed that the Omega-3 fatty acids may have actually protected the baby’s brain from any harmful mercury,American Live Wire reported.