Research Highlights

Fish for chubby babies

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.76 Published online 5 March 2009

Fish eating pregnant women stand a better chance of delivering a baby with normal birth weight, according to a new study on south Indian women1.

The study, evaluating the role of long-chain -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids ( -3 LCPUFAs), such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the birth weight of the newborns found that women who did not eat fish (that contains these fatty acids) had a significantly higher risk of delivering low birth weight babies.

These -3 LCPUFAs play an important role during pregnancy as they are important structural constituents of the highly specialized membrane lipids of the developing brain and central nervous system. Inadequate consumption of fish could be a risk factor for low birth weight (LBW).

The researchers carried out a prospective cohort study taking data on maternal fish intake and -3 LCPUFA intake and status of 676 women at baseline (first trimester), the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Infant birth weight was measured immediately following hospital delivery.

They concluded that supplementation with -3 LCPUFA during pregnancy may have important implications for fetal development.

The authors of this work are from: Division of Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health Unit, St John's Research Institute, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India; GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd, Gurgaon, India; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St John's Medical College Hospital, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India & Department of Pediatrics, St John's Medical College Hospital, St John's National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India.


References

  1. Muthayya, S. et al. The effect of fish and -3 LCPUFA intake on low birth weight in Indian pregnant women. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 63, 340–346 (2009)