Pregnancy and fish oil throw up a red flag when mentioned in the same breath, and rightly so because too much oily fish during pregnancy can have potential problems. The reason for this is oily fish such as salmon and tuna can be high in levels of mercury and lead which can not only do harm to the unborn child, but also to the mother too if eaten in high quantities for a long period of time.
But, and this is important, research is showing that the omega 3 fats from oily fish can be hugely beneficial to mother and unborn baby and the safest way to do this is by taking a supplement; this will then allow the mother to take the recommended daily amount needed to reap these benefits. There is still a danger of lead and mercury if the supplement is made from contaminated fish, so before starting on the supplement the mother should find out for certain that the tablet has been molecularly distilled. Basically this is a process that purifies the fish oil and leaves a tablet that is perfectly safe to take. But what are the benefits to be had?
Well first of all there is the development of the brain: the brain is made up of around sixty percent fats and of that amount again approximately half of those fats are DHA fats and DHA is found in oily fish. What this means is by taking a supplement that is high in this fat you are feeding the baby’s brain, and the nourishment it gets helps it to develop, so when your child is born it should have less problems with learning and development.
Another area that fish oil is believed to help the unborn child is its vision; the reasoning behind this is again DHA. DHA makes up around sixty percent of the fatty acids in the retina, so it makes sense that while this is being developed in the baby and you are feeding it the DHA it needs then the child will develop better. But it does not end there, there are further benefits for the child being linked with taking these tablets.
One such benefit is that when a mother has taken the supplement during pregnancy, the child when it is born will be less likely to have allergies or asthma. The researchers are not 100% sure why this is the case, but it as believed that if the immune system is overstimulated it can produce inflammation which is one of the causes of allergies and asthma. Omega 3 DHA as well as being good for the brain etc… is an excellent anti inflammatory and it is believed that this is what helps with the immune system as it is under development. But as I stated before the researchers are not 100% on this as the reason.
Finally it is not just the child it is good for, it has lots of benefits for the mother too. One area it is believed to help is by reducing the chances of miscarriage or early delivery, also it helps prevent inflammation taking place within the mothers body, which is highly probable because of all of the stimulation to the immune system with everything that is going on: finally though it is also extremely helpful for post natal depression. The reason for this is again the DHA feeding the mothers brain and this helps against things like mood swings and depression.