A study published in the July edition of Epidemiology shows that pregnant women who rarely or never eat seafood tend to have a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy. According to researchers, depression during pregnancy has adverse consequences for both mother and child. Although common in western countries, depression appears to be virtually absent in countries with high seafood intake.
The study was based on data collected from 9960 women who filled out questionnaires on food frequency and depression at 32 weeks gestation. From this information researchers calculated omega 3 fatty acid intake from fish.
Results showed that high levels of depressive symptoms were associated with lower maternal intake of omega 3s from seafood. Compared with women consuming more than 1.5 grams of omega 3s from seafood per week (3 servings or more), those consuming none were 50% more likely to have high levels of depressive symptoms at 32 weeks.
The authors of this study believe there is a strong association between low omega 3 intake from seafood and increased risk of high levels of depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Therefore they believe eating seafood during pregnancy may have beneficial effects on mental well-being.