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Maternal seafood consumption and infant birth weight, length and head circumference in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study

  • Anne Lise Brantsæter (a1), Bryndis Eva Birgisdottir (a1), Helle Margrete Meltzer (a1), Helen Engelstad Kvalem (a1), Jan Alexander (a1), Per Magnus (a2) and Margareta Haugen (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 18 July 2011

Results from previous studies on associations between maternal fish and seafood intakes and fetal growth are inconclusive. The aim of the present study was to investigate how maternal intakes of seafood, subtypes of seafood and supplementary n-3 fatty acids were associated with infant birth weight, length and head circumference in a prospective study in Norway. The study population included 62 099 participants in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. The mothers answered an FFQ in mid pregnancy. The FFQ comprised detailed questions about intake of various seafood items and n-3 supplements. Data on infant birth weight, length and head circumference were obtained from the Medical Birth Registry. We used multivariable regression to examine how total seafood, various seafood subtypes and supplementary n-3 intakes were associated with birth size measures. Total seafood intake was positively associated with birth weight and head circumference. Lean fish was positively associated with all birth size measures; shellfish was positively associated with birth weight, while fatty fish was not associated with any birth size measures. Intake of supplementary n-3 was negatively associated with head circumference. The relative risk of giving birth to a small baby ( < 2500 g) in full-term pregnancies was significantly lower in women who consumed >60 g/d of seafood than in women who consumed ≤ 5 g/d (OR = 0·56 (95 % CI 0·35, 0·88). In conclusion, maternal seafood consumption was positively associated with birth size, driven by lean fish intake, while supplementary n-3 intake was negatively associated with infant head circumference.

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*Corresponding author: A. L. Brantsæter, fax +47 21 076243, email
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