According to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, mothers who take fish oil supplements during the last trimester of their pregnancy[Pregnancy Trimester] could be reducing the risk of their child going on to develop asthma.
The research traced the children born to mothers who had taken part in a trial conducted in1990.
In this original trial, more than 500 pregnant women were randomized into three different groups for the last 10 weeks of their pregnancy.
One group was given fish oil supplements, another olive oil supplements and the third no supplements.
The aim of that trial was to see whether fish oil reduced the risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight.
Mothers in the fish oil supplementation group increased, on average, the length of their pregnancies by 4 days and the average birth weight of their babies by about 100g.
“We wanted to see whether the effects of fish oil in very early life had any effect on the child’s risk of developing asthma as they grew up,” said Professor Sjurdur F Olsen, the lead investigator from the Maternal Nutrition Group, Statens Serum Institut in Denmark.
The researchers managed to trace all but three of the babies born to the mothers in the original trial.
By the time they were sixteen years old, 19 children had developed such severe asthma at some point that they had had to go to hospital.
The risk of developing asthma was reduced in those whose mothers had been given fish oil supplements, compared to those whose mothers had been given olive oil supplements.
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