Congratulations, you’re pregnant! For the next 40 weeks, you can expect to hear countless contradictory pearls of wisdom—solicited and unsolicited—along with the occasional uninvited belly rub (unless you are in Pennsylvania). One of the long-standing commandments of pregnancy wisdom has been: Don’t eat fish while pregnant. Well, this is one piece of advice you can ignore (We wish we could say the same for uninvited belly rubs!). In fact, instead of avoiding fish, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now recommends that you eat 2 or 3 servings weekly of fish that are low in mercury and high in omega-3s. So, you’ve stopped obsessing about those last few cocktails before you discovered you were pregnant, you just got used to taking your prenatal vitamin, and now you’re supposed to eat three servings of sardines per week? Why?
For many moms, eating fish during pregnancy is nothing new. In fact, studies have found associations between allergy resistance, cognitive benefits, language skills, and even postpartum mood health, and how much fish a woman consumes during, or before, her pregnancy. Since fish tend to be rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, researchers have explored the effects of fish oil on pregnancy and found associations with reaching full-term pregnancy, healthy infant birth weight and head circumference, and healthier labor and delivery.*
Omega-3s are essential for many reasons, as they help make up the membrane, or outer protective housing of each of the 60 trillion cells in our bodies, and they are vital for normal development of the brain and retinal tissue, particularly during pregnancy.* We also expend omega-3s whenever our body is confronted with stress, another reason we tend to be quite deficient!
Interestingly, the foods (and fish) you ate before you became pregnant matter as much as what you eat now. As women, we have the capacity to store fat, in part because our bodies are preparing a sort of bank account of one of the primary nutrients in fish: omega-3 essential fatty acids. Ever since puberty, you have been slowly making deposits in your omega-3 bank account, just in case you decided to become pregnant. At times of pregnancy and lactation, these fat stores are liberated and transferred via placenta and breast milk to the developing fetus.
So, with constant withdrawals from our bodies’ omega-3 bank accounts to help combat the frequent stresses that we face, and with very infrequent omega-3 deposits via diet, it’s pretty common to begin your pregnancy with your omega-3 bank account already in the red. While the FDA now recommends consuming 2–3 servings a week of fish low in mercury, you can ensure that you make adequate daily deposits into your omega-3 bank account by also taking a high-quality fish oil supplement. Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA is the official omega-3 of the American Pregnancy Association. Fish oil is generally recognized as safe for everyone, so talk to your doctor about how much is enough to ensure that you and your baby flourish.
Written by Eliza Leggatt, Nordic Naturals Educator
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
CONSUMER REPORTS WARNING against Tuna and other high mercury fish, while pregnant, nursing, and for small children: http://www.9news.com/story/money/personal-finance/consumer/2014/08/21/tuna-mercury-dangers-consumer-reports/14352947/
DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written by a paid sponsor for the Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) Campaign 2014 – Nordic Naturals, and Eliza Leggatt. The opinions expressed by Nordic Naturals, Eliza Leggatt, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of PAM or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Nordic Naturals, or Eliza Leggatt. Always consult with your medical provider regarding any personal health questions or decisions (including nutrition, diet, and exercise).