Women who ate fish three or more times during the last trimester of their pregnancy gave birth to children with better eyesight and brain development.
The NHS recommends that women should aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week and one of these should be an oily fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines.
The health benefits of eating fish are widely known as the omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, brain, joints and general wellbeing.
However, according to a new study published in the journal Paediatric Research eating fish during pregnancy could play an even more important role than people first thought in an unborn child’s development and health.
The small study examined 56 mothers and their children. It found that mothers who ate fish three or more times in a week during the last trimester of their pregnancy, had babies with better visual test results compared to babies from mothers who ate less fish.
Speaking about the study Kirsi Laitinen, from the University of Turka and Turku University Hospital in Finland remarked: ‘The results of our study suggest that frequent fish consumption by pregnant women is of benefit for their unborn child’s development. 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 important for development.’
Kirsi added: ‘Our study therefore highlights the potential importance of subtle changes in the diet of healthy women with un-compromised pregnancies, beyond prematurity or nutritional deficiencies, in regulating infantile neurodevelopment.’