Fish and seafood consumption during pregnancy and the risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis in childhood: a pooled analysis of 18 European and US birth cohorts

N Stratakis, T Roumeliotaki, E Oken, F Ballester, H Barros, M Basterrechea, S Cordier, R de Groot, HT den Dekker, L Duijts, M Eggesbo, MP Fantini, F Forastiere, U Gehring, M Gielen, D Gori, E Govarts, HM Inskip, N Iszatt, M JansenC Kelleher, J Mehegan, C Molto-Puigmarti, M Mommers, A Oliveira, SF Olsen, F Pele, C Pizzi, D Porta, L Richiardi, SL Rifas-Shiman, SM Robinson, G Schoeters, M Strom, J Sunyer, C Thijs, M Vrijheid, TGM Vrijkotte, AH Wijga, M Kogevinas, MP Zeegers, L Chatzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It has been suggested that prenatal exposure to n-3 long-chain fatty acids
protects against asthma and other allergy-related diseases later in childhood. The extent
to which fish intake in pregnancy protects against child asthma and rhinitis symptoms re-
mains unclear. We aimed to assess whether fish and seafood consumption in pregnancy
is associated with childhood wheeze, asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Methods: We pooled individual data from 60 774 mother-child pairs participating in 18
European and US birth cohort studies. Information on wheeze, asthma and allergic rhin-
itis prevalence was collected using validated questionnaires. The time periods of interest
were: infancy (0-2 years), preschool age (3-4 years), and school age (5-8 years). We used
multivariable generalized models to assess associations of fish and seafood (other than
fish) consumption during pregnancy with child respiratory outcomes in cohort-specific
analyses, with subsequent random-effects meta-analyses.
Results: The median fish consumption during pregnancy ranged from 0.44 times/week in
The Netherlands to 4.46 times/week in Spain. Maternal fish intake during pregnancy was
not associated with offspring wheeze symptoms in any age group nor with the risk of
child asthma [adjusted meta-analysis relative risk (RR) per 1-time/week ¼ 1.01, 95% confi-
dence interval 0.97-1.05)] and allergic rhinitis at school age (RR ¼ 1.01, 0.99-1.03). These
results were consistently found in further analyses by type of fish and seafood consump-
tion and in sensitivity analyses.
Conclusion: We found no evidence supporting a protective association of fish and sea-
food consumption during pregnancy with offspring symptoms of wheeze, asthma and al-
lergic rhinitis from infancy to mid childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1477
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • wheezing
  • asthma
  • allergic rhinitis
  • children
  • fish
  • seafood
  • pregnancy


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