Omega-3 Fish oil Provides Numerous Important Health
Benefits to both Mother and Baby
The Link Between Omega-3 and Pregnancy & Lactation
We know that omega-3 acids are essential for the development of the nervous system in the fetus and infant, and that women who take little omega-3 during pregnancy have a higher risk of post-natal depression.
Healthier Birth Rates, Less Likelihood of Premature Birth
Two Danish studies have shown that women who take additional omega-3 acids in the last three months of pregnancy have children with healthier birth rates and are less likely to give birth prematurely.
Important for Babies Nourishment
A panel of experts headed by the American nutritionist Artemis Simopoulos, a specialist in omega-3 acids, has made the recommendation that pregnant women take 300mg of omega-3 acids per day during the last three months of pregnancy, and also while breast-feeding, to ensure the infant is properly nourished and to replace the mother’s reserves.
The Benefits to Pregnant Women are Well Documented
In a study, pregnant Danish women were given concentrated omega-3 fatty acids during their final trimester, prolonging their pregnancy by an average of four days compared with the control group*. In another study (the FOETIP study), compared with the controls**, mothers who had previously experienced premature deliveries reduced this pattern significantly when given concentrated omega-3 fatty acids.
It would seem prudent for an expectant mother to eat more fish, especially during the last trimester of her pregnancy, or to take an omega-3 dietary supplement every day. Women should continue this regimen for as long as they breast feed. If they choose not to provide their babies with nature’s most perfect food – breast milk – they should use an infant formula fortified with omega-3 fatty acids
Important for Fetal Mental Development
Children’s mental development may be influenced by their mothers’ diet during pregnancy, and by whether the child has been breast fed or received formula. Premature infants need breast milk from mothers that have sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet or, alternatively, an infant formula fortified with omega-3 fatty acids.
To optimize the development of the fetus and the infant, it is important to ensure a sufficient intake of omega-3 fatty acids, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first six months after birth. To accomplish this, most mothers-to-be need to include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet during their pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
Omega-3 Assures the Intellectual Development
Children born at term demonstrate a difference in mental development between those who get sufficient omega-3 fatty acids from breast milk or fortified infant formula, and those who received non-fortified infant formula based solely on vegetable oils which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, but low in omega-3 fatty acids.
It has convincingly been proven that children who are born at term and get sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids tend to have a better intellectual capacity than children who receive standard infant formula (P Willatts, JS Forsyth, MK DiModugno, S Varma, M Colvin (1998), University of Dundee, Scotland, The Lancet 28 Aug. 1998).
Conclusion: Omega-3 provides numerous documented health benefits to both mother and fetus and her baby during lactation. It would seem only prudent that pregnant women get ample amounts of Omega-3 in their diet by eating more salm on and other omega-3 rich seafood or by adding Omega-3 fish oil to their supplement program at the mid stages of pregnancy and throughout lactation.