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Premature births

Eating fish helps prevent preterm births, suggests new study

Monday, May 02, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: premature births, omega-3s, health news

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(NaturalNews) A new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology seems to confirm the notion that fish-based omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in proper fetal development. Dr. Mark A. Klebanoff from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and his team found that pregnant women who eat two-to-three servings of fatty fish a week are about 40 percent less likely to deliver early than women who eat less than one serving of fatty fish a month.

For the study, Klebanoff and his team evaluated 852 women who were already at high risk of delivering early. Seventy percent of the women said they ate at least one half-serving of fish per week during the first four or five months of pregnancy, while the rest said they ate fish no more than once a month during pregnancy. Thirty-six percent of the half-serving-minimum group ended up delivering early, while 49 percent of the once-monthly-or-less group delivered early.

"Whether it's the fish itself or something else, we cannot say," said Klebanoff to Reuters Health concerning the findings. However, the common denominator seems to point to omega-3s as the critical factor in boosting healthy fetal development, as these important fatty acids are already known to help boost brainpower, improve cellular function, prevent cancer, and promote overall health (http://www.naturalnews.com/omega-3.html).

A 2010 study that supposedly found no benefit between omega-3 intake and lowered rates of preterm birth was flawed by design because pregnant participants began taking omega-3 supplements between the 16th and 21st week of pregnancy, rather than right from the start. And according to Reuters Health, Klebanoff acknowledged this fact when presenting the results of his study, which suggests that omega-3s may actually be the beneficial agent in helping to prevent preterm delivery.

Klebanoff suggests that pregnant women avoid eating fish like swordfish and mackerel that are typically very high in toxic mercury, and instead choose lower-mercury options like sardines, tuna, and salmon. Vegetarian women who choose not to eat fish can instead consume oils like hemp and flax as an alternative, assuming that omega-3s are the primary benefactor in this case.

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