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Fish Consumption in
Pregnancy Boosts Fetal Growth

Eating lots of fish in the later stage of pregnancy can increase fetus growth but does not prolong the pregnancy, British scientists said.

In a study of more than 11,580 women they found that the more fish the women ate at 32 weeks into their pregnancy, the lower the rate of restricted growth in the baby.

"These results lend some support to the hypothesis that raising fish or omega-three fatty acids intake during pregnancy may increase fetal growth rate," Dr Imogen Rogers, of the University of Bristol in southwestern England, said in a report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Fish are a rich source of omega-three fatty acids which are essential for cell function. They are also found in canola oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil and nuts.

The women were questioned about how much fish they ate. Levels of omega-three fatty acids were calculated by the amount of fish the expectant mothers had consumed.

On average the women ate almost 33 grams of fish, or the equivalent of about a third of a small can of tuna a day, which equated to 0.15 grams of omega-three fatty acids.

Higher levels of fish seemed to boost the birth weight of the baby. Restricted growth of the fetus occurs in about one in 10 pregnancies but in women who ate no fish toward the end of their pregnancy it increased to one in eight.

Although fish consumption had no impact on the duration of pregnancy in women in the study, Rogers said trials of fish oil supplements, which have levels higher than in the normal diet, seemed to lengthen pregnancy but had no impact on the growth of the fetus.

Reference Source 89


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