Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Epidemiology and Biostatistics



First Advisor

Jihong Liu


Background Infants born at low birth weight or preterm delivery are at an increased risk for long-term health outcomes. Previous studies on the association of maternal fish consumption during pregnancy and birth outcomes, such as those previously mentioned have resulted in inconsistent conclusions. Nutrients maintained through a balanced maternal diet are a significant factor for fetal growth and development. The objective of this research is to determine whether fish consumption during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and preterm delivery.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted on 791 women surveyed postpartum in the state of South Carolina. Data came from a linked database of the 2009-2010 South Carolina (SC) birth certificate records and the 2009-2010 S.C. Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). The outcomes of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and small/large for gestational age were determined through the birth certificate record information and the exposure of fish consumption during pregnancy was measured through PRAMS. Simple and multiple logistic regression models were used to examine the associations of low birth weight and preterm delivery and fish consumption. Multinomial logistic regression was conducted to estimate the association between small or large for gestational age and fish consumption. Linear regression models were used to examine the associations between the continuous birth weight and duration of gestation and fish consumption.

Results In our sample 6.8% of infants were born at low birth weight and the overall mean birth weight of was 3245.4 grams. The percentage of preterm births in our sample was 8.3% and infants had an overall mean gestational age of 272.8 days. Unadjusted odds ratios resulted in women who consumed fish 4 or more times a month during pregnancy had 1.68 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.05, 2.69) times the odds of having an infant at low birth weight than women who didn't eat any fish during pregnancy. Adjusted analyses for infant birth weight resulted in no association. No other statistical findings were significant.

Conclusions In this cohort of South Carolina women, women who consumed fish during pregnancy did not result in increased birth weight nor increased gestational duration compared to women who did not consume fish during pregnancy.


© 2012, Alysa Joy Sampson