Fish oil is known to offer numerous health benefits and plays an important role in the diets of many individuals. Many women are not sure whether it is safe to take a fish oil supplement during their pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women are highly recommended to include fish oil in their diets. Here are some of the things to know about fish oil supplements and pregnancy.
Why is Omega-3 Essential During Pregnancy?
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are important during pregnancy for a few different reasons. Since women tend to become deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy, their diets should consist of small amounts of fish and fish oil supplements. According to the American Pregnancy Association, Omega-3 fatty acids:
– Help with the baby’s neurological, cognitive and visual development
– Make breast milk
– Prevent pre-term labor and low birth weights
– Reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia
– Reduce the risk of postpartum depression
Are Fish Oil Supplements Safer Than Fish During Pregnancy?
While pregnant women can eat fish, it is ideal for them to only eat small amounts of it. This is because consuming too much fish can cause exposure to mercury and other contaminants. Fish oil supplements are generally recommended as a safer alternative. However, there are some companies who do not adhere to strict standards for contaminants in fish oil supplements. Visit the Environmental Defense Fund to find out which supplements are the safest options.
How Much Fish Oil Should Pregnant Women Take?
It is important to note that pregnant women are recommended to take a smaller amount of fish oil than other adults. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women who are pregnant or lactating should only take 300 mg of DHA a day. This is in comparison to other adults, who are recommended to take 500 mg of EPA & DHA a day.
Many pregnant women may not think about taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy because it does not seem safe or because they assume that prenatal vitamins are enough. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have proven to offer many health benefits for pregnant women, however. All women who are pregnant or nursing should be sure to choose fish oil supplements that are free of mercury or other contaminants. Taking no more than the daily recommended amount of fish oil is also recommended for women who plan to take advantage of its health benefits.
American Pregnancy Association, “Omega-3 Fish Oil and Pregnancy.”