With the development of research and science, our knowledge for nutritional needs during pregnancy is expanding. Each day and the most recent development is the importance of Omega -3 fatty acids reaped from fish oil in the pregnancy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most nutritious fatty acids. Which unfortunately is not synthesized directly in the body and needs to be taken as a supplement, and when it comes to supplements, fish oil is the primary and the best source for Omega 3 fatty acids. In this article, we will discuss in detail the importance of fish oil during pregnancy.

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

What is Fish Oil?

Fish Oil is the oil extracted from the fish tissues of the oily fishes. Such as Herring, Anchovies, Tuna, and Mackerel.

Importance of Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

Fish Oil is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is otherwise not synthesised in our body. The Omega-3 fatty acids that come from fish oil. Are far more nutritious than the Omega-3 fatty acids that come from the plant sources. And research has shown that the children born to the mothers consuming Omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. Are healthier and stronger when compared to those born to the mothers who have not consumed the Omega-3 fatty acids.

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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.

Is It Safe to Use Fish Oil During Pregnancy?

When it comes to pregnancy, we are very cautious about our dietary intakes. And, what to consume and what not to consume. Research has shown that fish oil is extremely safe for consumption during pregnancy for the mother and the baby. Adding DHA and EPA, the two main ingredients of fish oil in the pregnancy diet has shown a positive impact on the cognitive as well as the visual development of the child.

Foods to Eat During Pregnancy for Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

The following are the various foods that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids:

  • Coldwater fish such as Salmon, Herring, farmed oysters, and sardines are all a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids and are safe for consumption during pregnancy.
  • Canola Oil or Soybean oil when cooked at an extremely high flame sometimes changes the compounds to a fishy odour, which is rich in Omega 3.
  • Walnuts are the only nuts that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Tofu, which is again a product from the soybean, can be a rich source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and watercress contain varying amounts of Omega 3.
  • DHA fortified foods.
  • Omega 3 supplements which are recommended for consumption during pregnancy, especially if your diet, does not contain fish.

Benefits and Side Effects Of Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

If you are wondering whether you can take Omega-3 fish oil while pregnant or is fish oil safe for pregnancy, then the following benefits of consuming fish oil supplements during pregnancy will solve all your doubts.

Fish Oil Benefits for Pregnancy:

  • The fatty acids or Omega-3 contributes to the healthy growth of the fetus and aids 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 helps the baby to develop a sharper brain and also aids in better eyesight.
  • You are consuming fish oil during pregnancy aids in an increased birth weight, which is considered very beneficial for the child.
  • It protects the baby from any birth allergies.

Side Effects of Consuming Fish Oil During Pregnancy:

  • Consumption of cod liver oil which though rich in Omega 3, also contains a type of Vitamin A called Retinol, excess consumption of which can be detrimental for the child.

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.

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The Dosage Of Fish Oil In Pregnancy:

Many people consume fish oil supplements, but consuming it in the right quantity is the key. Especially when it comes to pregnancy. The two main components of fish oil – EPA and DHA are essential for normal fetal growth, and DHA. In particular, accumulates in the brain during the last trimester. The WHO recommends that 300 mg of combined EPA and DHA should be consumed per day during pregnancy, of which 200mg should come from DHA. As most of the fish oil has a greater amount of EPA, one must judiciously choose the supplement which contains more of DHA. The fish oil pills for pregnancy that have a greater quantum of DHA is best during pregnancy.

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. Whitefish like haddock also contains 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.

Reason for Taking Fish Oil Supplements (Omega 3) During Pregnancy:

  • For people who do not consume fish, getting Omega 3 from plant-based sources is very difficult and not that effective too.
  • Consuming fish with mercury during pregnancy could be dangerous, and it can be best avoided by consuming fish oil capsules for pregnancy.
  • Fish oil supplements are the best supplements to get Omega 3 fatty acids as it contains the maximum level of DHA and EPA.

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Role Of Fish Oil for Baby Development:

The following are the various benefits acquired by the baby on consuming fish oil during pregnancy:

  • Taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy aids in healthier growth of the child during the first six years of his life.
  • Fish oil supplements have a positive impact on the bone and muscle mass of the child. They are larger and less prone to be obese.
  • The EPA component of fish oil supports the immune system, heart, and inflammatory response while the DHA component supports the eyes, brain and the central nervous system.

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A Word of Caution!

While consumption of oily seafood is good for the baby. Do not go overboard because freshwater catches have a possibility of being infected with pollutants present in the water. Such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) PCB buildup in your body can tamper with the health of your unborn. Also, consumption of toxic fishes can also cause mercury poisoning through biomagnification. 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 deciding on which supplement to go for. Take good care of what you eat, and you will end up taking very good care of your baby even before it is born.

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A vast amount of research in the medical field recommends consumption of fish oil during pregnancy. Due to its inherent benefits in the mother as well as the child. However, consuming it in the right dosage is very important. If you are planning to take fish oil pills for pregnancy. Then it is best to consult your doctor for the right dosage and the best fish oil brand for pregnancy.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q1: When Should We Begin Taking Omega 3 Fish Oil During Pregnancy?

Ans: If you are planning to conceive, then that is the best to start taking Omega 3 fish oil. About six months before pregnancy and taking Omega 3 supplements before pregnancy aids the body to build up its stores of the essential fatty acids.

Q2: Is Omega 3 Fish Oil Helpful to Cure Stretch Marks During Pregnancy?

Ans: There is no real evidence that Omega 3 fish oil helps in curing the stretch marks during pregnancy. However, Omega 3 fish oil will definitely aid in reducing the inflammation. Associated with the damage caused due to stretch marks.

Q3: Can I Take Omega 3 Fish Oil During The 9th Month of Pregnancy?

Ans: There is a lot of research going on in the field of foods. That are good for consumption during pregnancy. One of the latest researches has shown that consuming Omega 3 fish oil during pregnancy. Can have potential benefits to the child’s growth, which might last up to 6 years of their age.


About Yashasvi

Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.