According to a study published in the journal Pediatric Research, pregnant women can enhance the development of their unborn baby's eyesight and brain function by regularly consuming fatty fish during pregnancy. The findings suggested that infants whose mothers are fish three or more times a week during the last trimester of their pregnancy fared better than those whose mothers ate no fish or only up to two portions per week. According to the researchers, the results of the study suggest that frequent fish consumption by pregnant women is of benefit for their unborn child's development.
As per the researchers, this may be attributable to long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids within fish, but also due to other nutrients like vitamin D and E, which are also essential for development. For the study, the research team analysed results of a small group of mothers and their children drawn from a larger study.
In the study, the mothers had to keep a regular food diary during the course of their pregnancy. Fluctuations in their weight before and during pregnancy were taken into account, along with their blood sugar level and blood pressure. The team recorded the levels of nutritional long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid sources in the mother's diet and blood serum, and the levels in the blood of their children by the age of one month.
The children were further tested around their second birthday using pattern reversal visual evoked potentials. This sensitive and accurate, non-invasive method is used to detect visual functioning and maturational changes occurring within a young child's visual system.
According to the researchers, the study therefore highlights the potential importance of subtle changes in the diet of healthy women with uncompromised pregnancies, beyond prematurity or nutritional deficiencies, in regulating infantile neurodevelopment.
Make sure that you are not allergic to any of the fish you eat. Always consult a doctor before you include it in your diet. Seafood allergies can affect your overall health and the baby.