The Association Between Maternal Prenatal Fish Intake and Child Autism-Related Traits in the EARLI and HOME Studies

J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Feb;51(2):487-500. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04546-9.


We examined the association between prenatal fish intake and child autism-related traits according to Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and cognitive development scores in two US prospective pregnancy cohorts. In adjusted linear regression analyses, higher maternal fish intake in the second half of pregnancy was associated with increased child autism traits (higher raw SRS scores; ß = 5.60, 95%CI 1.76, 12.97). Differences by fish type were suggested; shellfish and large fish species were associated with increases, and salmon with decreases, in child SRS scores. Clear patterns with cognitive scores in the two cohorts were not observed. Future work should further evaluate potential critical windows of prenatal fish intake, and the role of different fish types in association with child autism-related outcomes.

Keywords: Autism; Maternal fish intake; Prenatal diet; Quantitative traits; Social responsiveness scale.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / trends*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / diagnosis*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology