How Much Fish Oil To Take During Pregnancy

Ideal Dosage For Pregnant Women

Fish oil during pregnancy

If you are already consuming fish on a regular basis, then there is no need for supplements. Just make sure that you are having between two to three servings of fish every week. If you do not have access to fish during your pregnancy, then the daily recommended dosage will be around 300mg per day. You can get this taking fish oil supplements.

How To Pick A Good Fish Oil For Pregnancy

I know I should be taking fish oil during pregnancy, but why? And whats the best one to take for pregnancy? OBGYN Dr. Gleaton explains it all.

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Fish oil contains many nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy that not only support heart health, but the development of the fetal nervous system. So what kind of supplements should you be taking for a healthy pregnancy, and what should you be looking for in a good fish oil?

If Not From Fish Where Else Can I Get Enough Omega

Pregnant women who do not eat fish, who are not keen to take them while pregnant, or are eating mainly non-oily fish , may obtain their omega-3 fatty acids by fish oil pill. The fish oil supplements should be packaged with purified fish oil, so that the PCBs and dioxin contaminants are removed. There are many formulations of fish oil supplements, their characteristics may affect their efficacy, although to date, the claims are not sufficiently researched. The consensus however is to take between 200mg and 300mg of omega-3 fatty acids a day.

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Is Cod Liver Oil Safe During Pregnancy

Fish liver oil, often made specifically from cod, is a different product than oils simply labeled fish oil.

As I mentioned earlier, oils made from fish livers are high in vitamin A/retinol. During pregnancy, high levels of vitamin A can harm babys development and lead to unwanted birth defects .

Because of the high amount of vitamin A/retinol in cod liver oil, women who are pregnant should not take or consume cod liver oil in any form, including fermented cod liver oil, capsules, and liquid drops .

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If you wait until you get pregnant or miss your period to start folic acid supplements, you are too late. The spine forms like an open book and it closes around 42 days from the first day of your last menstrual period, which is approximately 28 days after you ovulate or 14 days after you have missed a period.

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Is It Better Than Other Omega

Fish oil supplements supply EPA and DHA and many also have vitamins A and D.

Meanwhile, general omega-3 supplements may or may not contain EPA and DHA, depending on whether they are derived from fish, sea algae or plant oils.

If your omega-3 supplement is made from sea algae, it has EPA and DHA. Usually, these supplements are high in DHA and low in EPA .

On the other hand, fish oil supplements likely have higher amounts of EPA than DHA, while plant-oil-based supplements give high amounts of ALA.

Although all omega-3s provide benefits, the most beneficial are EPA and DHA .

If you do not eat fatty fish regularly, a fish oil supplement may boost your EPA and DHA levels. However, if you dont consume any fish products, an algae-based supplement is a good alternative.

Otherwise, an omega-3 supplement made from plant oils will help increase your overall intake of omega-3s but likely wont raise your EPA or DHA levels.


Not all omega-3s are equal. While fish oil supplements provide EPA and DHA, most plant sources of omega-3 give ALA which can be difficult to convert into EPA and DHA.

When To Stop Taking Fish Oil During Pregnancy

Fish oil is a great source of omega-3s and has many health benefits to support your pregnancy. Its possible youve heard that fish oil can lead to increased bleeding during surgeries such as cesarean sections, but a recent study concluded that there is no link to fish oil and increased bleeding during or after surgery. However, it is important to note that this data may not be applicable to pregnant women and those undergoing cesareans specifically, thus more studies are needed.

And while there’s no universal guidance on when to stop fish oil during pregnancy, its abundantly clear that the earlier you start, the better. Especially since the diet of pregnant women is largely deficient in DHA intake, making it difficult to comply with current recommendations without dietary supplementation.

Omega-3s, DHA, and fish oil are often used interchangeably, and thats because they all do very similar things for your body. DHA is an essential nutrient found in fish oil supplements that supports the development of your babys brain and eyes. Fish oil also contains vitamins A and D, plus EPA, another important omega-3 fatty acid. The recommended amount of fish oil during pregnancy is at least 300 mg, and its important you find a reputable supplier that provides purified fish oil, free of any toxins such as mercury or lead. Have more questions about omega-3s, DHA, or fish oil? Check out this article to learn more about their differences.

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Pregnant Women Are Advised Not To Eat Too Much Fish

Years of industrialization have polluted the oceans, by pumping industrial chemicals and toxic wastes directly into the ocean, or by first polluting the atmosphere before poisoning the seas via the rain. Significant levels of mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin have been found concentrated in oily ocean fishes. The bigger fishes that survived years of ocean living are more contaminated. These pollutants are toxic to the nerve tissues, especially while the nerves are maturing, and the growing fetus is therefore extremely vulnerable. The pregnant women are to stay away from eating large oily fish, such as shark, swordfish, marlin and king mackerel. In fact, UK and US authorities have advocated restricting their pregnant women to two fish meals a week . Fishes that are bred in the tropics are usually are less contaminated.

On the other hand, the adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acid is essential for fetal brain growth. On weighing all sides, most authorities proselytise that the health benefits of pregnant women eating fish with low level of mercury contamination outweigh the risks of the pollutants.

Pregnant women are encouraged to eat fish with low mercury contamination, to remove the skin and fat prior to cooking. They are advised against eating raw fish or shellfish, instead, baking, broiling, steaming the fish will reduce the industrial pollutant level.

How We Chose Our Recommendations

How much quantity of fish oil is allowed in pregnancy? – Dr. Suhasini Inamdar

We curated this list of DHA supplements based on input from OB-GYNs and registered dieticians. The products included are also affordable, and except for one, are available over the counter.

Keep in mind, if youre taking a prenatal vitamin with DHA, an additional DHA-only supplement may not be necessary. Consult your healthcare provider for more information on whats right for you.

Here some prenatal vitamins and supplements to consider when pregnant.

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Study On Fish Oil Supplements During Pregnancy

In the study, 98 healthy pregnant women were divided into two groups and given either 4 grams of fish oil supplements or 4 grams of olive oil supplements daily from the 20th week of their pregnancy until delivery.

Once their children were 2 1/2-years-old, the researchers tested the toddlers’ language, hand-eye coordination, and other skills.

The results showed children of mothers who took fish oil supplements scored significantly higher on tests of hand-eye coordination than those who took olive oil supplements, even after taking other factors, such as the mothers age and duration of breastfeeding, into account.

The researchers also found that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in cord blood samples taken at birth were strongly associated with good hand-eye coordination.

There were no significant differences in overall language skills and growth between the two groups.

The researchers say concerns about mercury content in certain types of fish have made pharmaceutical-grade fish oil supplements increasingly popular among pregnant women.

This study’s results suggest taking the supplements during the second half of pregnancy does not have negative effects and may, in fact, have beneficial effects on babies neurological development that merit further study.

When Should I Start Taking Omega

As with folic acid, its a good idea to start taking an omega-3 fish oil pregnancy supplement before you even get that exciting extra line on your pregnancy test.

Taking omega-3 before pregnancy, some six months before you conceive, allows the body to build up its stores of essential fatty acids. And youre going to need them right from the start. Taking fish oil during pregnancys first trimester is vital, because the brain and nervous system is one of the first things to develop in your tiny embryo.

You should keep taking omega-3 throughout your pregnancy and beyond. Because your body will prioritise your own DHA for the baby’s brain and eyes to develop, just being pregnant can deplete your own stores of omega-3 fatty acids. Thats why its a good idea to keep taking it after giving birth, even if youre not breastfeeding.

“The diet of pregnant mums can have a lifelong impact on their childs health and development”Dr Alex Richardson, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford

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Can I Take Omega

You can. Choose one that contains a lot of DHA and make sure its omega-3 fish oil as opposed to cod liver oil. Omega-3 fish oil is extracted from the flesh of fish and is rich in fatty acids such as EPA and DHA. However, cod liver oil is taken only from the liver and contains less omega-3s but is rich in Vitamin A – too much of which can be toxic to your unborn child.

Why Are They Especially Important During Pregnancy

Fish Oil During Pregnancy Can Reduce The Baby

The omega-3 DHA is generally known as the most important omega-3 for pregnancy because it is a critical building block of the brain, retina, and nervous system. A growing number of studies in both human infants and animals shows a correlation between omega-3 intake, especially DHA, and cognitive and visual function, and overall brain development.

In humans, brain development undergoes its most rapid and complex growth during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years after birth. Furthermore, studies show that infants whose mothers supplemented with DHA during pregnancy had a healthier immune function.

But its not just about baby its about moms health, too. The omega-3s EPA and DHA support healthy labor and delivery outcomes and have also been shown to support a healthy mood. Studies have shown that EPA and DHA help support mood and well-being in the postpartum period.

Most U.S. women are deficient in EPA and especially DHA coming into pregnancy, and will get more depleted during pregnancy, as the placenta supplies the fetus with DHA from moms tissue. Depletion persists 9-12 months postpartum and, as you can imagine, gets worse with multiple pregnancies. This explains why supplementing with omega-3 fish oil or algae oil is so important.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing

According to, you are unlikely to be able to “overdose” on the fish oil supplements most pregnant women are prescribed. There is currently no recommended intake level for omega-3s, but the American Heart Association recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 12 ounces of fatty fish per week. If you take a supplement, do not take more than your obstetrician or other health care provider recommends, and never begin taking the supplement without your doctor’s permission. When taking fish oil-based supplement, you could experience side effects due to an allergy. If you experience chest pain or heart arrhythmia, fever and chills, or flulike symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Some unpleasant but not immediate symptoms you could experience with fish oil supplements include belching, bad breath, back pain, and a rash.

As with any supplement, there is the possibility of interaction with other drugs if you are taking omega-3 supplements. It is very important that your healthcare provider know if you are taking the following types of medication before you begin an omega-3 supplement regimen: blood thinners, estrogens, diuretics or beta-blockers.

Precautions And Safety Concerns

While you might be tempted to go out and buy a pack of Omega-3 supplements, you must take the following precautions:

  • It is imperative that you talk to your doctor regarding the dosage of fish oil that you will require during pregnancy. In fact, your doctor will be able to prescribe the brand of the supplement along with the dosage. This way, your doctor will also stay updated on your nutrition.
  • It is important that you check if you have any allergies to fish oil before you consume any supplement. You can get a simple allergy test done if you are not sure. This is especially true for vegetarians who have never consumed fish before and do not know. In case of an allergic reaction to the supplement, you must seek immediate medical advice.
  • You must always remember to stick to the prescribed dosage. Just because the supplement is good for you, doesnt mean that it wont be harmful if taken in excessive amounts.
  • Buy only reliable brands. It is best that you try to get the brand recommended to you by your doctor. You must also read up on the ingredients and check the mercury levels in the oil. High mercury levels can be harmful to the development of the baby.
  • Fish oil has many benefits that are derived from long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids. When you are pregnant, this nutrient is also beneficial to the development and health of your baby.

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    What Types Of Fish Oils Are Safe During Pregnancy

    Fish oil derived from cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, tuna, and anchovies is safe. Always buy your fish oil supplements from a reliable manufacturer to rule out the presence of mercury and other toxins in it. A reputed manufacturer of fish oil will be able to offer documentation as evidence of the purity of the fish oil .

    In any case, it is good to be cautious when taking fish oil during pregnancy.

    What Is Fish Oil

    #7 Fish Oils and Pregnancy

    Fishes that flourish in cold temperate oceans have generally higher content of oil in their muscles and organs. Fish oil comprises mainly omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA and EPA are the two most important omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important building blocks of fatty tissues in human, such as the gray matter of the brain, the light receiving layer of the eyes and the extensive nerve network.

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    Is Fish Oil Safe During Pregnancy How Much Should I Take

    You may already be taking fish oil prior to conceiving since there are many known benefits.

    However, taking a supplement while pregnant can be worrisome for some mothers, because many supplements arent always pregnancy-safe.

    You may have wondered if there are any additional benefits for the baby, and what the correct dose might be.

    Fish oil is a safe supplement for women to take for the duration of their pregnancy. Medical providers recommend fish oil as the omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to support the babys brain and eye development. Fish liver oils, however, should be avoided.

    Not all supplements are created equal, however, and women should be careful to choose brands that meet quality standards, provide adequate DHA, and are not sourced from fish livers to ensure the greatest amount of safety and benefit.

    There are also some safety considerations, as fish oil does come from fish, after all.

    Ill provide the facts on cod liver oil, mercury content, safe doses, and provide some examples of better brands to search for.

    Covered in this Article:

  • Can Cod Liver Oil Help You To Conceive?
  • Best Food Sources Of Omega

    There is a wide variety of food where you could obtain omega-3 fatty acids and meet your daily requirements. To get sufficient supply for you and your baby, taking omega-3 fatty acids is great before, during, and after pregnancy.

    Eating fish or seafood is the best way to obtain omega-3 fatty acids. Pregnant or breastfeeding moms can safely eat 8-12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week.

    You have to watch out for mercury content, though, especially in fish. Mercury collects in streams and oceans naturally and because of pollution. They are converted to methylmercury which may be harmful to your baby.

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, Safe Catch is the only brand that tests every single tuna for strict mercury limits. They do not recommend untested tuna because mercury levels vary in each tuna, regardless of size and catch location.

    Rebecca Fett, author of Brain Health from Birth, says:

    For decades, governments have been warning pregnant women that mercury in fish can harm their babys brain, but it now appears that these warnings may have caused more harm than good.

    That is because many women simply stopped eating fish when pregnant, depriving their infants of all-important DHA.

    Studies have now revealed that a lack of omega-3 fats is actually a much bigger threat to brain development than the low amounts of mercury found in most fish.

    Here are the most pregnancy-safe fish options with high omega-3 content:

    • Wild-caught salmon
    • Herring
    • Pollock

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