By Stacy Whitman
Yet another reason for women to consider popping fish oil during pregnancy: Recent research suggests it may offer babies protection against colds.
How fish oil during pregnancy helps
In the study of 1,000 moms-to-be funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, about half of the participants were given supplements (200 milligrams twice a day) containing DHA (a fatty acid found in fish such as salmon and tuna) in their second and third trimesters. At 1 month of age, women who took fish oil during pregnancy had babies who experienced fewer colds and symptoms like coughing, and wheezing didn’t last as long compared to the control group. While it’s far from conclusive, some research has found that children of moms with higher blood levels of DHA score better on intelligence tests, too.
How to get fish oil during pregnancy
If you eat two to three servings of cooked fish a week, your unborn baby should enjoy some benefit—provided you steer clear of high-mercury varieties, such as shark, swordfish, marlin and king mackerel, and limit white albacore. Not a fish eater? Ask your doctor about taking supplemental fish oil during pregnancy.