February 23rd, 2007
Pregnant women who eat a high amount of fish give birth to children with higher verbal and social skills. This according to a study that was published in The Lancet.
In Bristol, England 11,875 pregnant women, who were expected to give birth sometime between April 1991 and December 1992, were followed by the researchers. The women were all asked to fill in questionnaires about their diet and their child's development.
A low consumption of seafood during pregnancy (less than 340 g/week) increased the risk that the child was among the 25 % with the lowest score on verbal intelligence. This compared to those women who ate more than three servings per week (more than 340 g/week).
Furthermore, a low fish consumption meant an increased risk of suboptimum scores on communication, fine motor, and other behavior and social development. The lower the fish intake, the higher the risk of suboptimum outcome on fine motor and social behavior.
The researchers write that: "These results show that risks from the loss of nutrients were greater than the risks of harm from exposure to trace contaminants in 340 g seafood eaten weekly".
They also mention that earlier studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are important for the development of childrens verbal IQ, and that the results in this study are consistent with those findings.