Mothers intending to have a child with better physical and cognitive developments shall go in for longer breastfeeding and fish consumption during pregnancy, recommends a study.

Breastfeeding mother, fish

The study revealed the goodness of both – breastfeeding and fishes, after the children who were studied were found to have better motor and cognitive skills as compared to other children of the same age but whose mothers did not breastfeed for long and did not consume much fish.

“These results, together with findings from other studies of women in the U.S. 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,” said Assistant Professor Emily Oken, lead author of the study.

As many as 25,446 children were examined by the researchers who conducted the study on pregnant women from 1997-2002. The study interviewed mothers about specific physical and cognitive developmental milestones experienced in the child at six months. These included abilities like holding up his/her head, sitting with a straight back, sitting without support, responding to voices, imitating sounds and crawling.

“In previous work in a population of U.S. women, we similarly found that higher prenatal fish consumption was associated with an overall benefit for child cognitive development, but that higher mercury levels attenuated this benefit,” says Dr. Oken. “Therefore, women should continue to eat fish – especially during pregnancy – but should choose fish types likely to be lower in mercury.”

The related information on mercury levels in fishes can be obtained from USA’s Food and Drug Administration’s official website.