Healthy fats such as Omega 3 are the powerhouse for every cell in your body and that of your baby too. This is especially so for brain development because over 60% of the brain is made of fat. A good supply of healthy fats is therefore crucial for optimum development, and also important to build stores for breastfeeding and your recovery.
When looking to increase Omega 3, it is common for people to seek this in a supplement form during pregnancy. This is especially so when they are trying to reduce how much fish they are consuming. Supplementation is safe as long as you bare in mind the quality, form and dosage this is taken in. Here are some tips when looking for a good quality supplement:
1. The part of the fish the oil has come from
There is a general confusion concerning the difference between fish oil and cod liver oil. Fish oil obtained from the liver of the fish, such as cod liver oil, is not advised during pregnancy due to the vitamin A content. Make sure you are using an omega 3 fish oil extracted from the body of fish (not the liver). Our Pure Strength Omega 3 fish oil is safe during pregnancy because it contains no vitamin A and the oil is extracted only from the body of the fish.
2. How 'clean' the fish oil is
There is a risk that some fish oils contain heavy metals such as mercury or other chemical contaminants. Women are advised not to eat certain large fish during pregnancy or eat fish excessively for this reason. By choosing a very clean fish oil you can be assured that you and your baby are not ingesting contaminants. Our Pure Strength Omega 3 has gone through a special purification process to ensure the removal of contaminants or toxins.
3. How much fish you consume vs how much Omega 3 you supplement
NHS guidelines recommend eating two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and herring. However, when pregnant, you should avoid having more than two portions of oily fish a week because it can contain pollutants (toxins). When you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you should not eat shark, swordfish or marlin. Therefore, you can only increase beneficial omega 3 in supplement form, rather than just eating more fish. In pregnancy and breastfeeding, you can safely eat two portions of oily fish per week as well as taking a fish oil supplement.
Keeping omega 3 levels optimal is important at any stage, but in the last trimester of pregnancy, the baby will draw upon the mother’s own omega 3 stores more than at any other time to support its brain, eye and nervous system development. This is why levels should be built-up before this time, in preparation for this ‘pull’ on reserves.
For more on your nutritional health during pregnancy, discover Henrietta's 'Your pregnancy nutrition guide' or see '8 Ways to combat morning sickness'. You can also call 01273 477898 to speak to one of our Qualified Nutritional Therapists.