Is It Safe To Consume Fish Oil During Pregnancy?


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Pregnancy can change your life completely, for the better. Everything that you consume directly or indirectly affects your baby, and as a mother-to-be, you want to be sure about all that you eat.
Pregnancy means you will come across a number of contradictory advices from friends, family and well-wishers. One such very common advice you hear is that consuming fish oil is not safe. While opinion is divided, understanding more about its nutritional benefits will help you make a more conscious choice.

Goodness Of Fish Oil:

One of the most important nutrients found in fish oil is called Omega 3. A human body is not able to synthesize and produce omega 3. Hence it has to be obtained through various dietary sources and supplements.

  • Omega 3 is very important for the general wellbeing of individuals, particularly for eyes and brain development.
  • Two essential nutrients found in omega3 fish oils are Docosahexaenoic acid DHA and Eicosapentaenoic acid EPA. These are essential in pre
    venting and managing heart diseases.

Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

Fish oil can be derived from either consuming fish or taking fish oil supplements. Fish that are rich in the good oils are tuna, salmon, mullet, bluefish, herring and trout. Fish oil supplements are often made with some added vitamin E to prevent spoilage.
A number of obstetricians and gynecologists recommend fish oil supplements to pregnant women as it helps in baby’s brain development. Recent studies conducted on the benefits of fish oil have revealed that babies born to mothers who took fish oil supplements in their third trimester, had a better eye hand coordination as toddlers.
Omega3 fatty acids from fish oil are also very beneficial for would be moms as most nutrients from the pregnancy diet are absorbed by your growing baby. In fact, it is recommended that the moment you decide you want to get pregnant, you must start consuming these vital nutrients for both you and your baby’s health.

[ Read: Tuna During Pregnancy ]

Risks Associated With Consumption Of Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

Is fish oil safe during pregnancy? There are a number of fears in the minds of mommies when it comes to consuming fish oils during pregnancy. Some believe that high levels of mercury content in fish oil can bring harm to their baby.
Well, to decide which fish oil supplement is good for you, you need to know there are two types of fish oil supplements available in the market:

1. Made From The Body Of The Fish:

These fish supplements are safe to consume during pregnancy and are made from the body of the fish. Available as omega 3 supplements.

2. Made From The Liver Of The Fish:

These fish oil supplements are made from the liver of the fish such as cod liver oil. They contain high amounts of retinol form of vitamin A. Large consumption of the retinol form of vitamin A can harm your baby and is not recommended during pregnancy.

[ Read: Meat During Pregnancy ]

Precautions To Be Taken:

The following precautions must be taken before you go ahead and start consuming fish or fish oil supplements to boost your baby’s health during pregnancy:

1. Doctor’s Advice:

It is important to discuss with your doctor about the dosage of fish oil supplements that are ideal for you. Although there are many supplements available in the market, your doctor should be your best guide in choosing the right one. Doctors are also aware of the contraindications with different supplements and will advise you based on your case.

2. Allergies:

If you decide to start consuming fish oil, ensure that you are not allergic to fish or any products derived from fish. If you are a vegetarian and wouldn’t know if you are allergic to fish, eat supplements before you conceive so that you can know if it works for you or not. Also in case you do get allergy post consumption, seek medical advice immediately.

[ Read: Sushi During Pregnancy ]

3. Dosage:

Always have only the recommended dosage of fish oil supplements. High doses may cause side effects like allergies, which can create a problem for you. Do not experiment and always stick to the dosage advised by your doctor.

4. Stick To Reliable Brands:

It is always best to buy fish oil supplements from reliable brands and check the mercury content. Large amount of mercury in some supplements can prove to be harmful for your baby. Hence, always buy reputed brand of supplements and do check the label for ingredients.
Hope we managed to put your doubts at rest. Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can safely consume fish oil or supplements for giving your pregnancy a healthier boost.
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