Mother’s diet determines children’s eyesight

Women could improve the eyesight of their unborn child by eating oily fish three times a week during pregnancy. A finding that corroborates previous research on the importance of the food choices of the future mother in the development of her child.

“the children’s view”

This trial, conducted by researchers from the University of Turku and the University Hospital of Turku in Finland, has just been published in the journal Pediatric Research by Springer Nature. According to them, the mother’s diet during pregnancy and lactation is very important. This is indeed the primary means by which valuable long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are made available to the fetus and infant brain, during the period of maximum brain growth.

The mothers’ food diary under the magnifying glass

In this study, researchers analyzed the results of 56 mothers and their children, taken from a larger study. Mothers were required to keep a regular food diary during their pregnancy. Fluctuations in their weight before and during pregnancy were taken into account, among other markers of health.

The team recorded the levels of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids from food sources and their concentration in the mother’s serum, as well as from their children before the age of 1 month. Their children were then tested around the age of 2, using visual evoked potentials (PVEP or Pattern visual evoked potential). This sensitive, accurate and non-invasive method is used to detect sight functioning and maturational changes occurring in a young child’s visual system.

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Three servings of fish per week

Subsequent analyzes of vision test results revealed that infants whose mothers ate fish three or more times a week during the last trimester of pregnancy performed better than those whose mothers did not eat fish. or just two servings a week.

These observations were confirmed when serum phospholipid fatty acid status was assessed. For the authors, this can be attributed to the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids present in fish, but also to other nutrients such as vitamin D and vitamin E, which are important for the neurological development of visual function. The researchers believe that these results should be incorporated into dietary advice provided to pregnant women.

Pregnant women can safely eat fatty fish, but limit:

– Barbel, bream, carp and catfish, which concentrate PCBs.

– Sharks, lampreys, swordfish, marlin (similar to swordfish), which are the most contaminated with methylmercury.


Jonna Normia, Katri Niinivirta-Joutsa: Perinatal nutrition impacts on the functional development of the visual tract in infants Pediatric Research (2018). Nature


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