WOMEN should consider eating more fish during pregnancy as fears over mercury levels may be unfounded, scientists have said.
Mothers-to-be are currently warned to limit their fish intake due to the negative effects of mercury on foetal development.
But scientists say these guidelines may need to be reviewed following a study by the University of Bristol.
The research suggests fish accounts for just 7% of mercury levels in the human body, with all food and drink totalling less than 17%.
Surprisingly, it also found herbal teas and alcohol to be the foodstuffs associated with the highest mercury blood levels, after white and oily fish. Food including French fries, white bread and milk were found to have a protective effect.
Professor Jean Golding OBE, lead author of the report published in Environmental Health Perspectives, said eating fish had health benefits, adding:"We have previously found that eating fish during pregnancy has many health benefits for both mother and child. We hope many more women will now consider eating more fish during pregnancy."