Up the duff? Get some fish on yo’ fork
Well, more accurately, get some fish OIL into your belly. Turns out that fish oil isn’t just good for mama. It’s also great for your tiny tummy dweller.
We’ve been told for years that oily fish, like salmon and tuna, are great for our skin and heart health. Now, Danish research has found that taking fish oil during pregnancy can actually help boost your baby’s growth. And not just while they’re in the womb! The positive effects of popping a (fish oil) pill continue well into childhood.
Fish oil during pregnancy
So alongside your pre-natal, should you gobble down a fish oil supplement? It seems that way. The researchers followed 736 ladies with babies right through till when their children turned six. Half of the women were given a fish oil tablet to take every day from their 24th week of pregnancy until one week after birth while the other half acted as the ‘control’ group.
The findings? Well, the kids who’d been exposed to fish oil while in the womb were proportionally bigger than their non-fishy counterparts, according to regular body composition scans. But that’s not all. While these kids had a higher BMI, there was no increased risk of obesity. What does that mean? It means that their BMIs were not due to a higher level of fat, but a healthy increase in lean mass, bone mass and fat mass. In plain english? Strong, healthy kids!
“Fish oil supplementation from the 24th week of pregnancy led to a higher BMI in the offspring from zero to six years of age but not an increased risk of obesity at age six.” Effect of fish oil supplementation study
Get your omega on
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ve probably been told to up your omega-3 intake. According to Melanie McGrice, Accredited Practising Dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), omega 3 is essential for a healthy pregnancy. “Omega 3 is a critical nutrient during pregnancy,” Ms McGrice tells SBS. “This study confirms what we know about the benefits of omega 3 during pregnancy.”
While the DAA is all about eating real food, and getting your fix from actual omega-3 rich fish, they realise that for some of us, that just doesn’t work. “It’s better for women to consume low mercury, omega 3-rich fish during pregnancy,” says Ms McGrice. “But if they can’t tolerate fish, fish oil supplements should definitely be considered.”
It’s not actually the first time that omega-3 has hit the headlines. A 2008 study found that these healthy fats were essential not only for the development of your unborn baby’s brain but also played a role in baby’s weight at birth. The same study found that pregnant women often do not get enough omega-3 in their diet.
What can you do to ensure you’re eating enough of the good stuff? It’s probably well worth considering upping the amount of oily fish you’re eating or adding a fish oil supplement to your diet. The best thing to do? Speak to your care provider about it and get their advice. It’s always best to defer to the experts when it comes to health during pregnancy.
Got some super weird (non fish based) cravings? We feel you. Check out what the deal is with those cray cray pregnancy cravings.