Eating Fish Prevents Low Birth Weight
For pregnant women, eating fish at least once per week can increase birth weight and protect both the mother and baby from preterm delivery.
"Low consumption of fish seems to be a strong risk factor for preterm delivery and low birth weight in Danish women," said authors of the study, led by Sjurour Frooi Olsen, an associate professor at the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre.
"This relationship is strongest below an estimated daily intake of 0.15 g long-chain n-3 fatty acids, or 15 g fish.
"In women with zero or low intake of fish, small amounts of n-3 fatty acids-provided as fish or fish oil-may confer protection against preterm delivery and low birth weight."
For the prospective cohort study, researchers recruited 8,729 pregnant women receiving routine antenatal care in Aarhus, Denmark.
Subjects completed self-administered questionnaires about fish and fish oil consumption during weeks 16 and 30 of gestation.
Results showed the occurrence of preterm delivery differed significantly across four groups of seafood intake, falling progressively from 7.1% in the group never consuming fish to 1.9% in the group consuming fish at least once a week.
Adjusted odds for preterm delivery were increased by a factor of 3.6 in the zero consumption group.
The findings correspond with some previous trials showing consumption of fish oil in pregnancy can increase birth weight by prolonging gestation and preventing recurrence of preterm delivery, authors said.
Source: British Medical Journal.
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