Pregnancy and Fish Oil
Although omega-3 fatty acids (including fish oil) are important for a baby's development, women must be cautious about taking fish oil supplements when pregnant, as these supplements may contain mercury or other toxins. If you are taking these supplements and pregnancy occurs, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a different omega-3 fatty acid supplement that is safer to use than fish oil.
If you are pregnant, you have no doubt been warned of the dangers of consuming too much fish, particularly certain kinds of fish that are likely to contain heavy metals (such as mercury) or other toxins. At the same time, you also know that it's important for your baby's development to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, found mostly in fish. This creates a dilemma. As a result, many pregnant women wonder if it's okay to take fish oil supplements during pregnancy.
It's clear that pregnant women should avoid or limit certain kinds of fish, because some fish may contain toxins. Of particular concern, fish may contain mercury, dioxin, and numerous other toxins that are especially dangerous to a developing fetus. It's less clear if women who are expecting should also avoid fish oil supplements, which may also contain such contaminants.
Recent studies suggest that most fish oil supplements probably contain only miniscule amounts of mercury, if any. However, it is not clear if fish oil supplements are also free of other toxins. If you are pregnant, chose only fish oil supplements from reputable manufacturers, and be sure to check to see if the fish oil has been purified and tested for toxins.
One way to avoid this problem altogether is to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that is not derived from fish. Expecta® Lipil® is one of these products that is available without a prescription and is designed especially for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
However, make sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking such products, as many of the prenatal vitamins now available contain omega-3 fatty acids. If your prenatal vitamin already has omega-3 fatty acids, you probably should not take any additional omega-3 fatty acids.