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Study: More Maternal Fish Consumption Benefits Baby

A new study has found that women who eat seafood while pregnant may boost their child's brain development.

The study, published in the British journal "The Lancet" (Thursday), contradicts a U.S. government warning for pregnant women to limit fish consumption. In 2004, U.S. officials had advised pregnant women not to eat more than 340 grams of seafood per week to reduce their exposure to mercury, which contaminates fish worldwide.

The new research from the government's own National Institutes of Health shows, however, if pregnant women follow the U.S. government advisory it could actually lead to poor brain development in their babies.

Health officials say seafood is a critical dietary source of nutrients important for a baby's developing brain. They say the key nutrients fish supply are omega-three fatty acids, which are essential for optimum brain development.

One researcher says the oils in fish may protect against the toxicity of mercury present in seafood. He says avoiding fish to protect children against too much mercury may be causing more harm than good.