Fish intake during pregnancy and foetal neurodevelopment--a systematic review of the evidence.Nutrients 2015; 7(3):2001-14N
Fish is a source of several nutrients that are important for healthy foetal development. Guidelines from Australia, Europe and the USA encourage fish consumption during pregnancy. The potential for contamination by heavy metals, as well as risk of listeriosis requires careful consideration of the shaping of dietary messages related to fish intake during pregnancy. This review critically evaluates literature on fish intake in pregnant women, with a focus on the association between neurodevelopmental outcomes in the offspring and maternal fish intake during pregnancy. Peer-reviewed journal articles published between January 2000 and March 2014 were included. Eligible studies included those of healthy pregnant women who had experienced full term births and those that had measured fish or seafood intake and assessed neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring. Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, ScienceDirect and the Cochrane Library were searched using the search terms: pregnant, neurodevelopment, cognition, fish and seafood. Of 279 papers sourced, eight were included in the final review. Due to heterogeneity in methodology and measured outcomes, a qualitative comparison of study findings was conducted. This review indicates that the benefits of diets providing moderate amounts of fish during pregnancy outweigh potential detrimental effects in regards to offspring neurodevelopment. It is important that the type of fish consumed is low in mercury.