Women could enhance the development of their unborn child’s eyesight and brain function by regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy. This is the suggestion from a small-scale study led by Kirsi Laitinen of the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Finland, in the Springer Nature-branded journal Pediatric Research. The research supports previous findings that show how important a prospective mother’s diet and lifestyle choices are for the development of her baby.
According to Laitinen, a mother’s diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the main way that valuable long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids become available to a fetus and infant brain during the period of maximum brain growth during the first years of a child’s life. Such fatty acids help to shape the nerve cells that are relevant to eyesight and particularly the retina. They are also important in forming the synapses that are vital in the transport of messages between neurons in the nervous system.
In this study, Laitinen and her colleagues analysed the results of 56 mothers and their children drawn from a larger study. The mothers had to keep a regular food diary during the course of their pregnancy. Fluctuations in their weight before and during pregnancy were taken into account, along with their blood sugar level and blood pressure. Aspects such as whether they smoked or developed diabetes related to pregnancy were also noted.