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The Many Benefits Of Fish Oil For Pregnancy

Dec 15, 2007
Benefits of Fish Oil for Pregnancy

By now everyone that can read has heard of the positive health benefits of fish oil. On the other hand, we have also heard that consuming too much fish can be harmful as well. So, which is it? What are we supposed to believe? And, now with this controversy pregnant women all over the world are asking is it good for me or not? The purpose of this article is to explain a bit about the health benefits, potential harms as well as fish oil for pregnancy.

Fish Oil For Health:

Fish oil contains nutrients that have been implicated in a host of positive health prevention methods. Fish oil contains what is called omega 3 fatty acids and DHA that are included in a family of polyunsaturated fats. These nutrients taken in the right amounts have been said to allow for normal growth of children, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease as well as a number of other health benefits. Below is a complete list of positive health facts about omega 3 fatty acids and DHA.

Enhanced mental abilities
Growth in children and animals
Reduced risk of heart disease
Sense of well being leading to stress reduction
Mood enhancement
Improved exercise/physical activity ability
Better blood flow
Overall healthier life

*These are not the only benefits founded, but are the more major positive health findings.

Fish Oil In Pregnancy:

During pregnancy many women find themselves evaluating everything that they put into their mouth and with great cause. There are a ton of things that can harm the growing fetus, and most women cringe at the thought of harming or restricting their unborn child. The benefits of fish oil have not only been found to allow for health in the mother, but also the unborn child.

Numerous studies have been conducted and concluded that fish oil during pregnancy, when taken correctly had very positive effects on the child. A very recent study published in the Medical Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood reported that fish oil was found to boost the coordination, increased birth weight, reduced Type 1 Diabetes and promoted a growth spurt in the brain during the first three months of pregnancy.

Other studies have found very similar positives about fish oils. The FDA currently recommends pregnant women consume 12 ounces of fish per week from a variety of species or other sources. This is because the FDA has admitted that high levels of fish is not healthy, but at the recommended dosage the mother was much less likely to postpartum depression, which is a major concern for new mothers.

Then Why The Warnings?:

Just like anything else, too much of anything can be harmful. While most people do not believe it, did you know that too much water can kill you? That's right, it is called water hyponatremia, and is a condition where the homeostasis is adversely affected causing the body to go into shock.

The point is that anything can have negative effects if not used in the right context. Where the concern with fish oil comes to the surface is the fact that fish can be contaminated with mercury. Mercury can be carried into the water from pollution causing the fish to have toxic levels in their system.

When the individual eats too much fish or consumes too much fish oil they can develop a problem with mercury. Too much mercury could harm the developing the brain leading to neurological disorders or learning disabilities.

Again common sense and limiting the amount of fish or fish oil is the key to health. Reading the current studies, reports and following the FDA guidelines of twelve ounces per week will assure the health of mother and baby. The FDA also recommended that pregnant women stay away from king mackerel, shark, tile fish and swordfish.

Choosing a Fish Oil Supplement:

There are a number of products on the market that provide the correct amount of nutrients in their fish oil supplements. It is always best however to ensure that the dosage does not exceed the FDA warning or not meet it either.

Remember the key to having a healthy mom and baby is to take the right amount of fish oil during the pregnancy. Studies have also shown that increased Omega 3 fatty acids above the recommended dosages did not have a more positive effect on either mom or child. That dispels the common myth that more is better!

Know the type of fish that the supplement extracted the fish oil from. It is important to ensure that the fish were not on the warned against list and came from uncontaminated waters.

Most of the supplements have information disclosing the type of fish, amounts and where the fish were obtained from. Choosing a supplement that is pharmaceutically graded should also be a determining factor.

Always talk to the doctor before taking any supplement, there may be a reason in your particular case that it may or may not be advisable.
About the Author
Monica Nelson writes about the benefits of omega-3 fish oil and has created this detailed checklist of early pregnancy symptoms.
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