High levels of stress during
pregnancy can be harmful for both the mother and the baby. Studies show that in
actuality anxiety disorders during pregnancy are more common than the incidence
of depression. There are many ways in which stress can be kept under check.
Diet also has a correlation to the level of anxiety one experiences. With this
regard; a recent research suggests that consuming fish can alleviate the
feelings of anxiety during pregnancy.
Women who never eat seafood are
at a 53 per cent higher risk of having high anxiety levels at 32 weeks of
gestation than their counterparts. The current findings are based on a review
of the dietary habits of 9500 women; the findings have been published in the
Plos ONE journal.
Vegetarians are 25 per cent more likely to experience anxiety than those
who consume a diet rich with meat and fish. To witness a significant reduction
in stress levels researchers recommend that pregnant women include two portions
of white fish and one portion of oily fish per week in their diet
Dr. Juliana Vaz, a senior author of the report further explains that;
"In order to have a healthy pregnancy, women need to follow a healthy diet
and not something special for pregnancy". It means, "a diet containing whole
cereals, vegetables, salad, fruit, dairy foods, meat, poultry, pulses and also
include fish - three portions per week with at least one of oily fish, such as
salmon, sardine or tuna."
Although the correlation between consuming fish and a visible reduction in
the stress level is established, the specific ingredient in fish that is
responsible for the effect is not known yet. Dr. Pauline Emmett, co-author of
the report adds, "It is possible, but not proved, that this association
with fish is due to the omega-3 fatty acid content of the fish".
However, on the flip side it is important to note that certain types of
fish including shark and swordfish should be avoided during pregnancy. No more
than four cans of tuna per week are advised since tuna contains high levels of
mercury which is bad for the baby.