Fishes and Fish Oil During Pregnancy: The Proven Benefits and Concern

Based on the results of 16 studies, it is suggested that prenatal fish-intake without mercury residuals has a number of benefits.

To achieve the benefits, pregnant women have to eat at least 340 g seafood or 2 servings of fish per week in order to reduce the risk of lower intellectual performance of their offspring. Higher prenatal intakes of fish are beneficial for the baby’s overall development in the first few years of life. Prenatal fish intake also reduces the risk of hyperactivity in the child. Prenatal intake of "oily" fish which contains marine n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n−3 PUFAs) reduces the risk of asthma and eczema (including in children whose mothers have a history of asthma and allergy). Similarly, intake of fish oil supplement which contains marine n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n−3 PUFAs) both during pregnancy and lactation is also beneficial for their offspring’s brain development (but not visual ability) in the first few years of life. However, intake of fish oil supplement only during the last trimester of pregnancy does NOT benefit the baby’s brain development.

Prenatal intakes of fish with high levels of mercury residual increase the risks of lower performance on IQ tests, motor skills, language development, and memory. For the exact risk, the outcome of one study indicated that there was a “-0.18 IQ points for each parts per million increase of maternal hair mercury".

Created on November 21 2015 at 08: 00 AM


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Details of Scientific Answers: Click on each bullet to Read References

Pros

References:

1: "Maternal Fish Intake During Pregnancy, Blood Mercury Levels, And Child Cognition At Age 3 Years In A Us Cohort," American journal of epidemiology, 2008, by E Oken, JS Radesky, RO Wright. (Citations: 234).

Abstract The balance of contaminant risk and nutritional benefit from maternal prenatal fish consumption for child cognitive development is not known. Using data from a prospective cohort study of 341 mother-child pairs in Massachusetts enrolled in 19992002, the ...


References:

1: "Associations Of Maternal Fish Intake During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding Duration With Attainment Of Developmental Milestones In Early Childhood: A Study From The," The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2008, by E Oken, ML sterdal, MW Gillman. (Citations: 106).

Background: Few studies have examined the overall effect of maternal fish intake during pregnancy on child development or examined whether the developmental benefits of maternal fish intake are greater in infants breastfed for a shorter duration. Objective: We ...


References:

1: "Fish Intake During Pregnancy And Early Cognitive Development Of Offspring," Epidemiology, 2004, by Daniels, J. L., Longnecker, M. P., Rowland, A. S., Golding, J., & ALSPAC Study Team. (Citations: 241).

Background: Fish is a source of many nutrients that can be beneficial during pregnancy, as well as a source of neurotoxicant contaminants such as methylmercury. Previous investigations of fish intake in relation to neurodevelopment have focused on possible ...


References:

1: "Oily Fish Intake During Pregnancyassociation With Lower Hyperactivity But Not With Higher Fullscale Iq In Offspring," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2008, by CR Gale, SM Robinson, KM Godfrey. (Citations: 54).

Background: Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are thought to be important for fetal neurodevelopment. Animal studies suggest that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids may lead to behavioural or cognitive deficits. As oily fish is a major dietary source of omega-3 ...


References:

1: "Maternal Supplementation With Very-Long-Chain N-3 Fatty Acids During Pregnancy And Lactation Augments Children'S Iq At 4 Years Of Age," Pediatrics, 2003, by IB Helland, L Smith, K Saarem, OD Saugstad. (Citations: 841).

Objectives. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22: 6 n-3) and arachidonic acid (AA; 20: 4 n-6) are important for development of the central nervous system in mammals. There is a growth spurt in the human brain during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first postnatal ...


2: "Effects Of N-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation On Visual And Cognitive Development Throughout Childhood: A Review Of Human Studies," Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2007, by A Eilander, DC Hundscheid, SJ Osendarp. (Citations: 146).

The present paper evaluates the most recent randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation (with or without n-6 LCPUFA) during pregnancy, lactation, infancy and childhood on visual and cognitive development. Available evidence ...


References:

1: "Effects Of N-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation On Visual And Cognitive Development Throughout Childhood: A Review Of Human Studies," Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2007, by A Eilander, DC Hundscheid, SJ Osendarp. (Citations: 146).

The present paper evaluates the most recent randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of n-3 LCPUFA supplementation (with or without n-6 LCPUFA) during pregnancy, lactation, infancy and childhood on visual and cognitive development. Available evidence ...


References:

1: "Fish Oil Intake Compared With Olive Oil Intake In Late Pregnancy And Asthma In The Offspring: 16 Y Of Registry-Based Follow-Up From A Randomized Controlled Trial," The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2008, by SF Olsen, ML sterdal, JD Salvig. (Citations: 166).

Background: Evidence suggests that asthma is rooted in the intrauterine environment and that intake of marine n 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n 3 PUFAs) in pregnancy may have immunomodulatory effects on the child. Objective: Our aim was to examine whether ...


2: "Maternal Fish Consumption During Pregnancy And Risk Of Early Childhood Asthma," Journal Of Asthma, 2005, by MT Salam, YF Li, B Langholz, FD Gilliland. (Citations: 114).

Maternal fish consumption during pregnancy may affect children's asthma risk by modulating early-life immune development. Type of fish intake may be important because of differences in fatty acid content. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a nested case-control study, ...


References:

1: "Fish Oil Supplementation In Pregnancy And Lactation May Decrease The Risk Of Infant Allergy," Acta, 2009, by C Furuhjelm, K Warstedt, J Larsson. (Citations: 166).

Aim: To describe the effects of maternal -3 long-chain PUFA supplementation during pregnancy and lactation on the incidence of allergic disease in infancy. Methods: One hundred and forty-five pregnant women, affected by allergy themselves or having a ...


2: "Maternal Food Consumption During Pregnancy And Asthma, Respiratory And Atopic Symptoms In 5-Year-Old Children," Thorax, 2007, by SM Willers, G Devereux, LCA Craig, G McNeill. (Citations: 164).

Background: Associations between maternal vitamin E, vitamin D and zinc intakes during pregnancy and asthma, wheeze and eczema in 5-year-old children have previously been reported. A study was undertaken to investigate whether maternal intake of specific foods ...


Cons

References:

1: "Cognitive Performance Of Children Prenatally Exposed To Safe Levels Of Methylmercury," Environmental Research, 1998, by P Grandjean, P Weihe, RF White, F Debes. (Citations: 537).

Within a cohort of 1022 consecutive singleton births in the Faroe Islands, we assessed prenatal methylmercury exposure from the maternal hair mercury concentration. At approximately 7 years of age, 917 of the children underwent detailed neurobehavioral ...


2: "Maternal Fish Intake During Pregnancy, Blood Mercury Levels, And Child Cognition At Age 3 Years In A Us Cohort," American journal of epidemiology, 2008, by E Oken, JS Radesky, RO Wright. (Citations: 234).

Abstract The balance of contaminant risk and nutritional benefit from maternal prenatal fish consumption for child cognitive development is not known. Using data from a prospective cohort study of 341 mother-child pairs in Massachusetts enrolled in 19992002, the ...


3: "Dose-Response Relationship Of Prenatal Mercury Exposure And Iq: An Integrative Analysis Of Epidemiologic Data," Environmental Health, 2007, by DA Axelrad, DC Bellinger, LM Ryan. (Citations: 156).

Background: Prenatal exposure to mercury has been associated with adverse childhood neurologic outcomes in epidemiologic studies. Dose-response information for this relationship is useful for estimating benefits of reduced mercury exposure. Objectives: We ...


How

References:

1: "Maternal Seafood Consumption In Pregnancy And Neurodevelopmental Outcomes In Childhood (Alspac Study): An Observational Cohort Study," The Lancet, 2007, by JR Hibbeln, JM Davis, C Steer, P Emmett, I Rogers. (Citations: 710).

BACKGROUND: Seafood is the predominant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimum neural development. However, in the USA, women are advised to limit their seafood intake during pregnancy to 340 g per week. We used the Avon Longitudinal ...


References:

1: "Maternal Fish Intake During Pregnancy, Blood Mercury Levels, And Child Cognition At Age 3 Years In A Us Cohort," American journal of epidemiology, 2008, by E Oken, JS Radesky, RO Wright. (Citations: 234).

Abstract The balance of contaminant risk and nutritional benefit from maternal prenatal fish consumption for child cognitive development is not known. Using data from a prospective cohort study of 341 mother-child pairs in Massachusetts enrolled in 19992002, the ...



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