Health Benefits of Fish Oil During Pregnancy

young pregnant woman taking fish oil soft gel holding glass of water

What are the benefits of taking fish oil during pregnancy and how will it affect your baby?

Studies show that the fatty acids from fish oil may help give birth to stronger, healthier and smarter babies with better vision and a lower risk for allergies and asthma.

Fish oils are a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The following articles summarize the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils on pregnancy and infant health.

Fatty Acids in Fish Oil Enhance Pregnancy

The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least 2 times a week to help lower blood pressure and decrease your risk for abnormal heart beats.

And research shows the fatty acids in fish oils offer pregnant mother and babies even more health benefits:

  • Researchers at the University Medical Center in Rotterdam reported that increasing your intake of EPA and DHA during pregnancy leads to improved fetal growth.

  • A study published in 2005 Issue of Journal of Hygiene Research claims pregnant moms eating diets high in DHA gave birth to babies with increased body development, improved visual acuity and more highly-developed brains.

  • Want a smarter baby? British researchers found babies fed an omega 3-enriched infant formula at 4 months of age showed better problem solving skills at 10 months of age, compared to  babies who weren’t given the fortified infant formula.

  • A study conducted at the University of Southern California found pregnant mothers who ate fatty fish at least once a month had babies born with a lower risk for asthma.

Is it Safe to Eat Fish While Pregnant?

two raw fish lying beside each other

Eating fatty fish once to twice a week provides an excellent source of dietary omega 3 fatty acids for you and your growing baby.

But is it safe to eat fish while pregnant?  Will you get too much mercury in  your diet from eating all that fish?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states:

” The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.”

For more detailed information regarding mercury exposure from eating fish during pregnancy, please read the EPA’s Advice About Eating and Shellfish.

How to Take Fish Oil during Pregnancy and Avoid Mercury Exposure

yellow fish oil soft gels spilling out of amber glass bottle

Using a fish oil supplement is one of the best ways to get omega 3 fatty acids during pregnancy and avoid mercury exposure.

As discussed in our Consumer’s Guide to Buying the Best Fish Oil,  the best fish oils will give you high concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids with the lowest detectable levels of mercury, PCB’s and other contaminants.

You can find many of these products at your local health food store or on-line retailers:

  • Dr. Tobias Triple-Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil has over 11,230 reviews at one of the largest online retailers. It claims to be purified through molecular distillation and tested to ensure all heavy metals, PCB’s and mercury levels are below detectable limits for human consumption.
  • BioSchwartz Pharmaceutical-Grade Omega 3 Fish Oil appears to be another popular product. This molecular-distilled, non-GMO fish oil is manufactured in an FDA-approved facility following strict GMP-guidelines and verified to ensure it meets the highest purity levels with the lowest measurable contaminants.

Using highly-purified fish oils during pregnancy can provide a safe and nutritious source of omega 3 fatty acids for you and your baby’s health.

Please seek the advice of your physician of OB/GYN before using any nutritional or dietary supplements.

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