Eating Fish During Pregnancy?

Samantha Hahnlen

Eating Fish—Even Tuna—During Pregnancy Linked To Better Brain Health: Study

Written By: Mandy Oaklander

Source: Health-Diet/ Nutrition

Publication Date: January 19,2016

An observational study that was funded by the government of Spain and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology analyzed 2,000 different pregnant women and the effects that their fish consumption had on there babies brains. It was thought of in the past that pregnant women should really limit their intake of fatty fish and be cautious of the amount of mercury they are ingesting. The average fish intake by the pregnant women was three servings a week. “During birth, blood from the women’s umbilical cords was assessed for levels of mercury, a contaminant linked to neurotoxic effects, and DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.” Then after the birth the children were tested on their cognitive development level and a “scale measuring symptoms indicative of autistic spectrum disorder”. The results showed that mother’s that had eaten 3-4 servings of fish their babies had higher cognitive scores and showed a decrease in symptoms on the autistic spectrum. The umbilical cord results showed the more servings of large fatty fish the mother had eaten increased the levels of DHA, which seemed to help in the neurological development of the child’s brain. There were also higher levels of mercury as well but, there was no evidence that is had a negative effect on the neurodevelopment of the baby.

Is This A Reliable Source?

Let's first start off with the author of the article Mandy Oaklander. She is a Health editor and writer for Time Magazine and She doesn't have and actual scholarly educated background in the health field, but is just a writer who uses others research as a bases for her articles. The research that she does use to backup her works is very credible in that in comes from professional organizations that have research and studies to back-up their information. The main study she pulls from was funded by the government of Spain and published by the American Journal of Epidemiology. Another valid source that she uses is research from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona. The researcher mentioned, Jordi Julvez, has his PhD in Psychology and Epidemiology. The study itself has a strong backbone of information based on a fairly large group of pregnant women and a food questionnaire that is basic and easy for them to fill out. The Food Drug Administration (FDA) is also mentioned because it has made a recent change where it recommends more servings of fish for pregnant women, but they still caution them on the intake of larger fish (more mercury). Time magazine it self is a credible source because they have been around for a long time and if they were publishing information that was false all the time then they would have been shut down a while ago. Time magazine also makes it a point to source all of their information. The overall results are based off of credible studies and have other reliable sources to also back up their results. The article mentions the lasting effects of increased fish intake during pregnancy are still unknown, so after 5 years they are going to have a follow up and test the same children’s cognitive development. Personally I believe all aspects of this article are very credible and do not falsify information or want to seem misleading. One thing that I would change is how they should emphasize this is one study and that in order to have a sure conclusion they should stress that there must be multiple studies to really verify that eating more fatty fish that have high amounts of mercury is safe the neurological development of babies.


CREAL. Who Are We?- Jordi Julvez. Retrieved April 05, 2016 from

Oaklander, Mandy. (2016, January 10). Eating Fish- Even Tuna-During Pregnancy Linked To Better Brain Health: Study. Retrieved April 05, 2016 from