A new study is showing significant benefits to Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy
There is some debate about the possible benefits and the possible risks of taking Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy. Not all medical authorities agree that you either should or shouldn’t supplement with Omega 3 fish oil when you are pregnant.
Of course the first answer to this question is always to consult your doctor. Every woman who is considering any form of supplementation during pregnancy should always have the issue checked out by their doctor, because there are so many individual personal medical circumstances to consider.
However there is a growing body of evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA are beneficial to both the mother and to the growing baby during pregnancy. Whilst studies have been mixed a new Australian study has now suggested that there are in fact significant benefits to Omega 3 supplementation in pregnancy.
In the past we have talked about some of the benefits of Omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy to the fetus, and growing baby as effects both mental and visual development. There is significant evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids have an important role in mental development and the development of vision in young children.
However this new 5 year Australian study has now suggested another area where there may be benefits to the mother and to the baby from Omega 3 supplementation through pregnancy.
The results of this trial has suggested that Omega 3 supplementation may well also lead to a reduction in the risk of premature birth.
In this study 2400 pregnant women were given Omega 3 supplements, or a placebo. Supplementation began at 19 weeks and continued through until the birth of the baby.
The results of the study showed a significant reduction in risk of premature birth, in fact so significant that they found a 50 percent reduction in the risk of early delivery.
And on top of that they also found a 35 percent drop in the birth weight of babies born to mothers who were supplementing. As well there was a drop in serious health problems in those children and a reduction in infants deaths of 66%, a very significant finding.
As mentioned, we have previously talked about the role of Omega 3 fatty acids in the development of mental ability in children. In this new Australian study it was also observed that the babies and infants of mothers who were supplemented with the Omega 3 fatty acids had a reduced risk of suffering slow cognitive development and slow development of language skills.
We have also discussed previously the role of Omega 3 supplementation in mental disorders such as depression, including postnatal depression.
And the researchers in this study, on top of the conclusions previously referred to, also noted that women who took the Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy were less at risk of postnatal depression.
This result accords with others finding that there is evidence that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids can help improve some mental disorders such as depression.
As we said at the start, whether you’re considering taking Omega 3 supplements during pregnancy, or any other form of supplement during pregnancy, talk to your doctor first.
However it does seem clear that there is a growing body of evidence supporting the conclusion that there are significant health benefits to supplementation during pregnancy, and developing studies seem to be supporting the conclusion.
But as always more work is being done and it’s difficult to say when there is sufficient evidence to safe for sure.
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