Preterm infants often have an uphill fight, requiring a greater degree of care than babies who have a full nine months to develop in the womb. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respiratory conditions and feeding problems are common for infants born three weeks or more before their due date, and the earlier these babies are born, the more severe their health issues.
Luckily, there are steps that mothers-to-be can take during pregnancy to support their little one’s development and reduce the risk of premature birth. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is crucial during these all-important nine months, and researchers have just found a new reason to seek out omega-3 fatty acids in particular.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a European study on fish consumption during pregnancy. The scientists hypothesized that women consuming more fish – which contains omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients – while pregnant had a connection to birth weight and development. The researchers compared expectant mothers who ate fish once a week or more to a control group who did not, and observed a positive link between the seafood and infant health.
“This large, international study indicates that moderate fish intake during pregnancy is associated with lower risk of preterm birth and a small but significant increase in birth weight,” the study abstract states.
More research is necessary to support this discovery, but pregnant mothers should be especially vigilant about the nutritional value of their meals. Previous research has also shown that vitamin D can play an important part in infant brain health and development. Of course, if you’re pregnant, you should consult a medical professional or nutritionist before making any drastic changes to your diet. Click to read information about our vitamins and omega-3 supplements.