Pregnancy brings with it discomfort and pain. Thus, women often seek to bring the agony to an end by inducing pregnancy when the doctor says the baby is ready for birth. Dozens of tips are available these days about how to trigger labor. One theory is that eating seafood can induce labor. To understand the notion, it is important to understand its origins.
Seafood is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, and some studies on these nutrients indicate they have benefits for pregnant women. A Denmark study conducted in the 1990s sought to find the relationship between seafood consumption and the risks of preterm delivery and low birth weight. According to the study, doctors already knew from prior research that consumption of 2 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids delayed spontaneous delivery. The study's results indicate that low consumption of fish is a strong risk factor for preterm delivery and low birth weight. The study identified low consumption as less than an estimated daily intake of 15 grams of fish. That equates to 105 grams per week. Essentially, the research suggests that eating seafood does the opposite of inducing pregnancy.
Certainly, the baby's healthy fetal development, both in terms of the brain and growth, could contribute to when the baby will be born. After all, the movement and weight of the baby play a role in inducing pregnancy. An undeveloped baby normally does not make an effort to induce labor.
While there is no clear indication that eating seafood induces pregnancy, Roger Harms, M.D., a pregnancy specialist at Mayo Clinic, says seafood packs protein and iron, which are key nutrients for the development of an unborn baby. These nutrients help with physical growth and development of organs and other body parts. Also, omega-3 fatty acids contained in seafood provide nutrients for brain development in unborn babies.
What To Eat
If you wish to eat seafood in the hope that it will induce pregnancy, realize that doctors recommend only two to three servings of seafood per week. Some seafood, though, also contains significant amounts of mercury and other toxins. While levels are not known to harm adults, these substances can be harmful to babies. Therefore, doctors recommend limiting your diet to certain seafood. Do not eat shark, perch, trout, swordfish or mackerel, which contain high levels of mercury. Shrimp, tuna, salmon and catfish are recommended. Eat only one of each type to limit exposure to mercury and other toxins. Use special care when eating locally caught fish.