FRESH SEAFOOD TRENDS: Sushi Cited as Chief Concern of Expectant Moms

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FRESH SEAFOOD TRENDS: Sushi Cited as Chief Concern of Expectant Moms

I am qualified to affirm with complete authority that worrying and motherhood go hand in hand. From the minute they start thinking about whether they want to have a baby until long past the birth, moms – and moms-to-be – fret about any number of things, ranging from their skills as a mother, to the health of their baby, to optimal dietary choices for both themselves and their babies.

And when it comes to the last of those, the health risks associated with seafood consumption concern pregnant women more than any other type of food, according to a recent poll by the March of Dimes, which found 61 percent of respondents citing “sushi and fish” as their No. 1 food-related concern.

In polling mothers about what worries them the most about pregnancy and their babies, the White Plains, N.Y.-based pregnancy and baby health advocacy organization found birth defects to be the top concern among 78 percent of panelists, followed by 74 percent stressing about how stress in their life will harm their baby’s health, and 71 percent fearing their baby will be born prematurely.

As for seafood placing as the No. 1 concern, grocers can play a leading role in helping alleviate moms’ anxiety at the counter by reaffirming with front line teams the FDA’s recommendations that pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children avoid eating swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel, and to limit albacore tuna consumption because the species has relatively high methylmercury levels, which can impair neurological development.

Speaking of seafood and mercury, a recently released documentary highlighting the dangers of mercury exposure encourages viewers to use an online mercury-in-fish calculator to determine whether a species is safe to eat.

Released in late December as a DVD, “Mercury Rising” is a companion documentary for its parent film, “The Cove” — which follows a dive team researching the plight of dolphins across the globe — in tandem with the Mercury Policy Project’s GotMercury efforts, which aim to alert consumers of the health risks associated with species high in mercury.

“Mercury Rising” also urges consumers to use the GotMercury calculator online or on a mobile-based device to check their mercury exposure from fish, based on their body weight, species and serving size.