Benefits of Fish Oil During Pregnancy

Fish oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a fish oil supplement can provide several benefits for pregnant mothers and their unborn babies. There are some risks associated with consuming such fish products, according to eMedTV.com, which points out that pregnant women should limit or avoid the consumption of fish known to have high levels of mercury and any other toxin. High levels of mercury can be dangerous to the developing fetus. Women can avoid this risk by taking a fish oil supplement only as directed by a health care provider and selecting one that has verifiable proof of the contents, including mercury levels and other toxins.

Miscarriage

Women who have experienced multiple miscarriages due to a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) may benefit from fish oil. The use of fish oil supplements is thought to be helpful in thinning the blood and reducing the recurrence of APS, thereby reducing the risk of miscarriage, according to eMedTV.com. Fish oil supplementation as treatment for APS should only be done under the advice of a doctor as there are more established ways of treating the condition.

Fetal Benefits

Adding EPA and DHA–two of the three omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil–to a pregnant woman’s diet can provide several fetal benefits, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Such benefits include supporting nervous system, vision and cognitive development. There is also evidence of a reduced risk of allergies in infants born to women who used omega-3 fatty acids to supplement their diets, says the American Pregnancy Association. Children of mothers who do not take fish oil or eat fish during pregnancy are more likely to have poor verbal skills, behavioral problems and other developmental issues at an early age. These developmental concerns are not solely due to insufficient omega-3 intake, but the research does show a relationship large enough to encourage women to consume fish or fish oil during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pregnancy Health Benefits

An increased intake of fish oil can lead to a lowered risk of preterm labor, preterm delivery, preeclampsia and may promote a healthy birth and gestational weight of the infant, says the American Pregnancy Association. Women who take omega-3 fish oil may have a reduced risk of postpartum mood disorder or depression.

About this Author

Sarah Irene has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in a number of settings and has been a psychology instructor since 2006. Her work has been published by ParentDish. She holds a Master of Science in clinical psychology from Capella University.