Is fish oil supplementation good for pregnancy?

Alexander Kofinas M.D.

Fish oil supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). There is scientific evidence that these acids decrease triglyceride levels, decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, decrease the risk of arrhythmias and lower blood pressure to a small degree. These benefits reduce the risk for heart attack and sudden cardiac death. Regarding the developing embryo, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the brain development and may also be beneficial to the overall pregnancy health. However, there is a problem with their use. Most of the available supplements are produced from fish, which are contaminated with mercury and dioxins (carcinogens). Although most manufacturers claim that their product is cleaned, only a handful of the hundreds of products available are suitable for safe consumption. There are also issues regarding dosage and interactions with other medications that the patient may be taking. It is advisable not to consume any omega-3 supplements during pregnancy. Instead, try to obtain the recommended omega-3 by means of food intake rich in omega-3.