Tuesday 27 July 2021

Eat fish twice a week and avoid too much soy, pregnant women told

The Dutch health council has published its formal recommendations for pregnant women, including the advice to eat fish twice a week and to take vitamin D and folic acid.

There is currently a lack of clarity on what pregnant women should and should not eat, the health council said on Tuesday. The new list is the result of more than three years of study into the impact of diet on pregnancy, as well as talking to doctors, gynecologists and toxicologists.

In addition to fish, folic acid and vitamin D, pregnant women should make sure they eat a balanced diet with sufficient calcium, iodine and iron, the health council said.

The recommendations, such as abstaining from alcohol, are not new. However, many women were unsure about, for example, when to start taking folic acid or what to do about fish, spokeswoman Marianne Geleijnse told NOS radio. ‘Farmed fish is good but wild fish less so, because it can be affected by pollution,’ she said.

‘Pregnant women are always being told what they can’t eat and drink, but we wanted to turn that around,’ added professor Hans van Goudoever, who was involved in compiling the recommendations.

‘We wanted to take a positive approach and look at what is good for you. And you can do a lot. Just be a bit careful, then you are doing the maximum for yourself and your child.

The health council also says pregnant women should avoid taking in too much caffeine and to cut back on products containing liver, soy and raw fish.

Read the recommendations (in English)

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