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Fish Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Status, and Preterm Birth

In this ancillary study to a randomized trial of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and prevention of preterm birth in women with at least one previous spontaneous preterm delivery, intake of fish was found to be associated with a significant reduction in the probability of preterm birth. Women eating fish less than once/month had a 48.6% probability of preterm birth and those eating fish more often had a 35.9% probability of preterm birth. Women consuming 3 servings of fish per week were found to have a 0.60 adjusted odds ratio for preterm birth. No further reduction in risk was found with additional fish intake. Women with the lowest erythrocyte omega-3 fatty acid levels (lowest quartile) were more likely to report consuming less than 1 fish meal per month, compared to women in the highest three quartiles. The authors conclude, "Moderate fish intake (up to three meals per week) before 22 weeks of gestation was associated with a reduction in repeat preterm birth... . These results support the recommendations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for fish consumption during pregnancy."...I would add that the fish consumed MUST be cold water fish.


"Fish Consumption, Erythrocyte Fatty Acids, and Preterm Birth," Klebanoff MA, Harper M, et al, Obstet Gynecol, 2011 May; 117(5): 1071-1077. (Address: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA).

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