Fish Oil During Pregnancy: A Complete Guide to Benefits and Dosages

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Pregnant women are by nature more careful about what and how much they eat. They want to consume everything that is beneficial for the child. If you happen to be pregnant then hands down, the elderly ladies in the family must have been chanting about how you must eat fish regularly.

Fish Oil During Pregnancy

What is so Special about the Fish?

The oil present naturally in the body of the fish is known as fish oil. This oil contains essential fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid and DHA, which is collectively known as omega-3. Omega -3 is beneficial in ways more than one for your baby.

Benefits of Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

The fatty acids or Omega-3 contribute to a healthy growth of the fetus and aid in the development of nerve cells. Omega 3 forms the support structure of your baby’s neurons. Consumption of fish oil during pregnancy ensures a positive visual and cognitive development in the child. It is known to make the baby’s developing brain sharper and also aids in better eyesight. Research has also shown that babies born to mothers who consumed fish oil while pregnant had increased birth weight which is considered beneficial for the child. Higher consumption of fish oil by expecting mothers also protects the baby from allergies after they are born. Low seafood intake by pregnant mothers have often resulted in their babies being born underweight or having problems in communication (because of underdeveloped nerve cells) and eyesight problems.

Now that your know that fish oil is beneficial for your child, the next question that arises is can you take fish oil while pregnant?

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You can and you Cannot – There are 2 kinds of Fish Oil:

One is made from the body of the fish and is known as Omega – 3. You can consume this fish oil for pregnancy.

The other kind of fish oil is made from the organ such a liver. Example: the cod liver oil. This is, however, not safe for consumption during pregnancy. Cod liver Oil has Omega-3 as well but in addition to that, it also has a form of Vitamin A known as Retinol. Consumption of high amounts of retinol while pregnant can be detrimental for your child hence it is best kept at bay.

Which fish to Consume?

If you happen to be pregnant and fish is a regular part of your diet, then you need not really take fish oil supplements because the regular fish that you eat will furnish your body with adequate quantities of Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids. Having fish regularly in your diet will not only provide you with Omega-3 but will also provide the body with adequate amounts of other minerals,  vitamins, and proteins that one will not generally find in supplements.

Oily fish have more Omega 3 and hence must be consumed at least twice a week during pregnancy. Other forms of seafood like crabs and prawn will also provide you with fatty acids that are beneficial for the well-being and development of your child. White fish like haddock also contain Omega-3 but does not match the quantity of an oily fish like tuna. Canned tuna, however, does not have a lot of oil as the canning procedure rids the fish of its natural oils.

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A Word of Caution!

While consumption of oily seafood is great for the baby, do not go overboard because freshwater catches have a possibility of being infected with pollutants present in the water such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCB) PCB build up in your body can tamper with the health of your unborn. Also, consumption of toxic fishes can also cause mercury poisoning through bio magnification. So beware of what you eat!

If you are not a fish eater and you prefer taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy, make sure to consult your doctor before on decide on which supplement to go for. Take good care of what you eat and you will end up taking very good care of you baby even before it is born.

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