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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Stephanie G. Harshman, sharshman@mgh.harvard.edu

The authors’ responsibilities were as follows— LF, BR, NJA, JFP, CAC, EMT, and KH: made substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; MS, SGH, CAC, LF, and KH: have drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content; and all authors: read and approved the final manuscript.

We thank Ashley Sullivan, MS, MPH, and Janice Espinola, MPH, for their many contributions to the MARC-43 cohort. We also think the participating families; without them, none of this would be possible.

Disclosuress: NJA and JFP own shares at Diversigen Inc., a microbiome research company. All other authors report no conflicts of interest.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by NIH grants K24DK105989 and P30DK040561 (to EMT); UG3/UH3 OD023253 and U01 AI-087881 (to CC); R01 AI134940 and R01 AI137091 (to KH);

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (K12HS022986 to LF) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1K23HD090222-01A1 to LF).


  • Bifidobacterium
  • fish consumption
  • infant microbiota
  • pregnancy
  • ω3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

Maternal Fish Consumption in Pregnancy Is Associated with a Bifidobacterium-Dominant Microbiome Profile in Infants

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Journal Title:

Current Developments in Nutrition


Volume 4, Number 1


, Pages nzz133-nzz133

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


National guidelines suggest that pregnant women consume 2-3 servings of fish weekly and often focus exclusively on limiting mercury exposure. We examined if meeting this recommendation in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with differences in infant fecal microbiota composition and diversity. We used multinomial regression to analyze data from 114 infant-mother dyads. Applying 16S rRNA gene sequencing, we identified 3 infant fecal microbiota profiles: Bifidobacterium dominant, Enterobacter dominant, and Escherichia dominant. We found that 20% of mothers met the recommended fish consumption, and those infants whose mothers met the recommendation were more likely to have a Bifidobacterium-dominant profile than an Escherichia-dominant profile (RR ratio: 4.61; 95% CI: 1.40, 15.15; P = 0.01). In multivariable models, the significant association persisted (P < 0.05). Our findings support the need to expand recommendations focusing on the beneficial effects of fish consumption on the infant fecal microbiota profile.

Copyright information:

© 2019 The Author(s).

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
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