Navigation Links
Eating fish while pregnant, longer breastfeeding, lead to better infant development
Date:9/9/2008

BOSTON, Mass. (Sept. 9, 2008) Both higher fish consumption and longer breastfeeding are linked to better physical and cognitive development in infants, according to a study of mothers and infants from Denmark. Maternal fish consumption and longer breastfeeding were independently beneficial.

"These results, together with findings from other studies of women in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, provide additional evidence that moderate maternal fish intake during pregnancy does not harm child development and may on balance be beneficial," said Assistant Professor Emily Oken, lead author of the study.

The study, which appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by researchers from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Maternal Nutrition Group from the Department of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. These findings provide further evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and compounds in breast milk are beneficial to infant development.

The study team looked at 25,446 children born to mothers participating in the Danish Birth Cohort, a study that includes pregnant women enrolled from 1997-2002. Mothers were interviewed about child development markers at 6 and 18 months postpartum and asked about their breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum. Prenatal diet, including amounts and types of fish consumed weekly, was assessed by a detailed food frequency questionnaire administered when they were six months pregnant.

During the interviews mothers were asked about specific physical and cognitive developmental milestones such as whether the child at six months could hold up his/her head, sit with a straight back, sit unsupported, respond to sound or voices, imitate sounds, or crawl. At 18 months, they were asked about more advanced milestones such as whether the child could climb stairs, remove his/her socks, drink from a cup, write or draw, use word-like sounds and put words together, and whether they could walk unassisted.

The children whose mothers ate the most fish during pregnancy were more likely to have better motor and cognitive skills. For example, among mothers who ate the least fish, 5.7% of their children had the lowest developmental scores at 18 months, compared with only 3.7% of children whose mothers had the highest fish intake. Compared with women who ate the least fish, women with the highest fish intake (about 60 grams - 2 ounces - per day on average) had children 25% more likely to have higher developmental scores at 6 months and almost 30% more likely to have higher scores at 18 months.

Longer duration of breastfeeding was also associated with better infant development, especially at 18 months. Breastmilk also contains omega-3 fatty acids. The benefit of fish consumption was similar among infants breastfed for shorter or longer durations.

Women in the U.S. have been advised to limit their fish intake to two servings a week because some fish contains high traces of mercury, which has demonstrated toxic effects. Information regarding mercury levels was not available in this population, but most women consumed cod, plaice, salmon, herring, and mackerel, fish types that tend to have low mercury content. In this study, consumption of three or more weekly servings of fish was associated with higher development scores, so in this case the nutrient benefits of prenatal fish appeared to outweigh toxicant harm.

"In previous work in a population of U.S. women, we similarly found that higher prenatal fish consumption was associated with an overall benefit for child cognitive development, but that higher mercury levels attenuated this benefit," says Dr. Oken. "Therefore, women should continue to eat fish - especially during pregnancy - but should choose fish types likely to be lower in mercury." Information on mercury levels in commonly consumed fish is available at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/sea-mehg.html.).


'/>"/>

Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. HPV vaccine does not appear to be effective for treating pre-existing HPV infection
2. Eating junk food whilst pregnant and breastfeeding may lead to obese offspring
3. Is 4 agents decoction (Si Wu Tang) efficacious in treating primary dysmenorrhea?
4. Despite overeating, morbidly obese mice gain protection against diabetes
5. Treating diabetes during pregnancy can break link to childhood obesity
6. Jefferson specialists studying innovative surgery for effectively treating sleep apnea
7. Treating Diabetes During Pregnancy Could Lead to Thinner Kids
8. Family-based treatment more effective than supportive psychotherapy in treating bulimia
9. School-based overweight prevention program may cut risk of eating disorders among girls
10. Treating depression may improve recovery of heart rate variability following coronary syndromes
11. Celebrity Seating Only! Levitz Chair Signed by 39 Daytime Stars Sells for $1200 on Charitybuzz.com
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Peoples Health is ... Health network on Dec. 1, 2016. Peoples Health, a Metairie-based Medicare Advantage company, ... an exciting addition to our provider network, and the addition will benefit our ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Wettstein Agencies, a Denver ... business professionals throughout central Colorado, is joining local nonprofit Aurora Warms The Night ... The Night organization is committed to breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... Tyler, TX (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2017 ... ... serving Texas families from two offices in Tyler, has announced the latest beneficiary ... Red Ribbon Wish Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... an internationally recognized leader in the fast-casual category, announces a hearty and wholesome ... Good Egg Breakfast Sandwich, Turkey Mash-Up Sandwich, Cranberry Crunch & Honey Parfait, Slow ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... ... , ... With the Grand Opening Event planned for February 3, 2017, the ... and the general public. Built in five months by Centerpoint, the 60,000 square foot ... or pickleball courts. The space is also suitable for indoor soccer and football training. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... The global fluoropolymer market in the healthcare industry to grow at ... Global Fluoropolymer Market in the Healthcare Industry 2016-2020, has been prepared ... The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017  In a letter to ... Jo Ann Jenkins outlines AARP,s priorities for Americans ... Security, ensuring access to affordable health care coverage, and ... the letter Jenkins writes to President-elect Trump that "Our ... are counting on you to protect their Medicare and ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan. 17, 2017  In a preview of ... Annual Congress, Astute Medical, Inc., developer of the NephroCheck ... the test, which identifies hospital patients at risk of developing ... take place this month at the Hawaii ... January 21 through January 25. AKI is one ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: