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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2008 Oct;49(10):1061-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01908.x. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

Oily fish intake during pregnancy--association with lower hyperactivity but not with higher full-scale IQ in offspring.

Author information

  • 1MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre (University of Southampton), Southampton General Hospital, UK. crg@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Abstract

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 fatty acids, it is possible that low intake of fish during pregnancy may have adverse effects on the developing fetal brain.

METHODS:

We used the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence to assess behavioural problems and intelligence in 217 nine-year-old children. The mothers of these children had participated in a study of nutrition during pregnancy during which fish intake was assessed in early and late gestation.

RESULTS:

Children whose mothers had eaten oily fish in early pregnancy had a reduced risk of hyperactivity compared to those whose mothers did not eat oily fish: OR .34, 95% CI .15 to .78, after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Children whose mothers had eaten fish (whether oily or non-oily) in late pregnancy had a verbal IQ that was 7.55 points higher (95% CI .75 to 14.4) than those whose mothers did not eat fish. There were, however, no significant associations between fish intake in pregnancy and other behavioural problems or full-scale and performance intelligence, after adjustment for potential confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although maternal fish intake in pregnancy was associated with hyperactivity scores and verbal IQ in children, in general, how much fish women ate during pregnancy appeared to have little long-term relation with neurodevelopmental outcomes in their child.

PMID:
18422546
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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