Taking a fish oil supplement during pregnancy could make for healthier, stronger children. And, we are not talking about birthweight, nor about infancy although fish oil is beneficial for these. According to recent research, taking fish oil pills during pregnancy benefits your child for years to come.
Previous studies have shown that taking a fish oil supplement during pregnancy could lead to increase birth weight of infants. However, the recent study shows that fish oil intake during pregnancy may impact the child’s growth later in life.
The researchers followed 736 pregnant women in Denmark. They were randomly placed in the either the fish oil supplement group or olive oil supplement (the control) group daily from week 24 (third trimester) of their pregnancy until one week after giving birth.
The children were assessed 11 times, between birth and 6 years.
The researchers found that children of mothers who took fish oil supplements during pregnancy sustained a higher body mass index (BMI) from the age of 1 to 6 years. But isn’t this unhealthy?
Actually, the higher BMI in children whose mothers had taken fish oil supplements during pregnancy was not due to fat. It was due to lean mass and higher bone density.
In other words, children of mothers on fish oil supplements had higher healthy weight. They were healthier and stronger, with the types of bodies that make athletes or at least give them an edge in sports and other physical activities.
This – and the fact that studies show that DHA in fish oil may help improve learning skills in children – makes for more than enough reason to take that fish oil pill during pregnancy.
Pregnancy: How Soon Should You Start Taking Fish Oil Supplements?
Though this study suggests starting on a fish oil supplement around the 24th week of pregnancy, it is recommended that you start much earlier. How much earlier and why?
Well, you should start on a fish oil supplement as soon as you find out you’re pregnant or when you decide you want to get pregnant. In fact, some studies suggest starting before you become pregnant may be best. This is because omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are critical to the development of the unborn baby, especially development of the brain.
Also, some studies have shown that your diet before pregnancy critical to the child’s lifelong health. It is therefore best to eat a healthy diet before pregnancy, including taking the right nutritional supplements. And, of course, you should only take a high quality fish oil supplement especially when you are pregnant.