Fish oil during pregnancy found to lower asthma risk in kids

A Danish study finds that women who took fish oil during pregnancy significantly lowered their children's risk of asthma. The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The large, carefully designed study involved over 700 pregnant women in their third trimester. Half took 2.4 grams of fish oil a day, and half took placebo capsules of olive oil. Researchers then checked the health of the children for at least 5 years.

Nearly 17% of kids in the fish oil group developed persistent wheezing or asthma. That's compared with nearly 24% in the control group. That translates to about a 30% reduction in asthma or wheezing cases.

This one study doesn't prove fish oil during pregnancy will be helpful. Other studies have shown conflicting results, and too much fish oil may be a bad thing.

RELATED: Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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