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Maternal fish consumption 'good for babies'

Women who eat fish during pregnancy are likely to have better developed infants.
The consumption of fish during pregnancy is linked to better mental and physical development in infants, according to new research.

A study of mothers and infants in Denmark found that those women who ate the most fish during pregnancy were likely to have babies with the best cognitive and motor ability.

In the past women have been advised to avoid mercury during pregnancy therefore some fish have been off the menu.

However the researchers of the new study, published in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, said that this danger can be avoided by eating fish low in mercury, such as cod, plaice, salmon, herring and mackerel.

The study showed that at 18 months, infants whose mothers ate fish during pregnancy were 30 per cent more likely to be in an advanced state of development than infants whose mothers had eaten the least fish.

A longer duration of breast-feeding was also linked to better infant development as omega-3 fatty acids are contained in breast milk, the study found.

Assistant Professor Emily Oken, lead author of the study, said: "These results, together with findings from other studies of women in the US and the United Kingdom, provide additional evidence that moderate maternal fish intake during pregnancy does not harm child development and may on balance be beneficial."

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