Food and Behaviour Research

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Pregnancy diet and associated outcomes in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Emmett PM, Jones LR, Golding J. (2015) Nutr Rev. 73 Suppl 3 154-74. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv053. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here.


All publications covering diet during pregnancy that stemmed from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were reviewed. Diet was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Socioeconomic background, maternal mental health, and the health and development of the offspring were assessed using a variety of methods, such as direct measurement, self-completion questionnaires, and assays of biological samples.

Differences in diet, including specific food and nutrient intakes and dietary patterns, were associated with maternal educational attainment, smoking habits, and financial difficulty. There were marginal intakes, compared with recommendations, of the key nutrients iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. Maternal diet during pregnancy was predictive of offspring diet during childhood.

There were independent associations between prenatal fish consumption and lower frequency of maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as lower frequency of intrauterine growth retardation. Consistent evidence that fish consumption during pregnancy benefited the neurocognitive development of the child was also found. Two constituents of fish, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and iodine, were associated with these benefits in children. The findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children strengthen the recommendation to eat fish regularly during pregnancy.