Oily fish linked to premature birth

Title: Oily fish linked to premature birth.

Description:

According to the researchers, pregnant women are constantly receiving mixed messages about fish consumption. The unsaturated fatty acids and protein in fish are thought to be beneficial; however the presence of contaminants, such as mercury, may pose a hazard to health.

Content:

Women who eat a lot of oily fish while pregnant may be at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, the results of a new study indicate. According to the researchers, pregnant women are constantly receiving mixed messages about fish consumption. The unsaturated fatty acids and protein in fish are thought to be beneficial; however the presence of contaminants, such as mercury, may pose a hazard to health. The research team followed the progress of 1,024 pregnant women from 52 prenatal clinics. At the start of the study, information was gathered on the amount and category of fish consumed during pregnancy. A hair sample from each participant was also obtained. The segment of hair closest to the scalp was assessed for mercury levels, as this revealed the level of mercury exposure during pregnancy. The study found that those with higher levels of mercury were significantly more likely to give birth more than two weeks early. Overall, the women with higher levels of mercury tended to be those who ate more oily fish, such as salmon, trout and fresh tuna. The researchers emphasised that only a small number of the participants
actually gave birth prematurely, therefore further studies are needed to confirm the results. “The messages are really very conflicting because fish is both a benefit and a potential source of hazard”, lead researcher, Dr Fei Xue of the Harvard School of Public Health, told New Scientist magazine. Details of these findings are published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives.

Source:

www.irishhealth.com/?level=4&id=10365

Disclaimer:

Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of The Federation of Antenatal Educators (FEDANT) unless specifically stated.

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