Fish Intake in Pregnancy and Child Growth

Fish are commonly exposed to persistent organic pollutants, which may have endocrine-disrupting properties that contribute to obesity development. Fish intake of pregnant mothers has been shown to increase fetal growth, but this study set out to see if increased fish consumption affects child obesity as well.

Over 26,000 woman through the span on 15 years were studied through childbirth and followed up with every two years until the child was 6 years old. The results were that woman who consumed fish more than 3 times/ week gave birth to children with higher BMIs compared to those children whose mothers consumed fish less than 3 times/ week. The high fish intake mothers had children who had increased risk of rapid infant growth as well as increased risk for obesity at 4 years and 6 years old.

FDA advice on fish consumption in woman who are pregnant, breast feeding, or thinking about becoming pregnant changed in June of 2104 to match the data found in this trial. FDA now recommends for pregnant woman to consume more fish due to its cognitive benefits for their offspring, but to consume no more than 3 meals of fish/ week.

As pharmacists, we deal with a variety of factors that impact our patients health. Fish oil supplements as well as diet is something that we need to consider when counseling maternal populations.

Link to Article

Stratakis N, Roumeliotaki T, Oken E, Barros H, et al. Fish intake in pregnancy and child growth. JAMA Pediatr. 2015. doi:10.1001

2 thoughts on “Fish Intake in Pregnancy and Child Growth”

  1. This is a great article that demonstrates how complex health can be. As you said, eating fish and taking fish supplements, can increase cognitive function, but if too much is consumed then it can have negative health affects such as increased BMI and obesity. Most patients want a yes or no answer when it comes to whether a drug or supplement is good or bad. It is important to counsel patients because every drug or medication they put in their body can have negative effects at certain doses or based on a person’s genetics, but the benefits of the drug may be worth the possibility of minor negative adverse effects. I think this also relates to drug-drug interactions. We learn in class how to look these interactions up using credible resources, but sometimes these resources provide the worst case scenarios. We have been learning in class when the interactions are serious, and when they just need to be monitored more than normal. Patients need to be counseled on the differences between things that are truly bad and things that have the potential to be bad.

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