Since omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in fish, which may contain toxins that are dangerous to a developing fetus, it is recommended that women obtain omega-3 through supplementation during pregnancy. Omega-3 is also available in numerous prenatal vitamins. Taking omega-3 supplements during pregnancy can help ensure proper growth and development in the child and may prevent miscarriages in women with antiphospholipid syndrome.
Pregnancy and Omega-3: An Overview
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to proper growth and development, especially during pregnancy and early childhood. However, the main source of omega-3 is fish. 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 mercury or other heavy metals or toxins. This creates a dilemma. As a result, many pregnant women wonder if it's okay to take omega-3 supplements during pregnancy.
Is Omega-3 Safe During Pregnancy?
It's clear that pregnant women should avoid or limit certain kinds of fish, since some may contain toxins. Of particular concern, fish may contain mercury, dioxin, and numerous other toxins that can be especially dangerous to a developing fetus. It's less clear if pregnant women should also avoid omega-3 fatty acid supplements made from fish, such as fish oil supplements, which may also contain such contaminants.
Recent studies suggest that most fish oil supplements probably contain only minuscule amounts of mercury, if any. However, it is not clear if omega-3 fatty acid supplements are also free of other toxins. If you are pregnant, chose only supplements from reputable manufacturers, and be sure to check that the supplement has been purified and tested for toxins.
One way to avoid this problem altogether is to take an omega-3 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 already contain omega-3 fatty acids. If your prenatal vitamin already has them, you probably should not take any additional omega-3 supplements.
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