Infant and Children, Pregnancy | July 13, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Fish is a good source of protein, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Eating fish, or taking a fish oil supplement, is associated with many beneficial health effects such as lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, decreasing joint pain and swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, improving depression, and aiding in weight management.
The Australian dietary guidelines recommend that older children and adults should eat around 2 serves of fish per week, where one serve equals 100g cooked fish fillet (about 115g raw) or one small can of fish.
Some species of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can be toxic to the brain of developing foetus, infants, and young children. Pregnant women and those who are breast-feeding are advised to limit their exposure to fish high in mercury.
1. Eat 2-3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed below
2. Eat 1 serve (100g cooked) per fortnight of these fish, and no other fish that fortnight: Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish, Marlin) OR
3. Eat no more than one serve (100g cooked) per week of these fish, and no other fish that week: Orange roughy (deep sea perch) or catfish.
Fish is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). During pregnancy, both DHA and EPA are transferred from the mother to the foetus through the placenta. It is therefore essential that that the mother has sufficient dietary intake of these beneficial oils.
Higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oil supplements during pregnancy are associated with health benefits for the offspring and the mother, including:
In the general population, taking fish oil supplements is considered to be safe. Some minor side effects have been reported such as a fishy aftertaste and heartburn. Additionally, high doses may cause nausea and diarrhoea.
Studies of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not reported any serious adverse effects.
It is worth noting that although fish oil supplements are free of mercury, evidence-supporting safety are still lacking. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists do not recommend taking fish oil supplements in the first trimester. As for the second and third trimester, the recommendation is as follows:
“Women whose dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids is low, for example those who eat very little seafood, should consider a dietary supplementation which may be obtained from fish oil and some commercially available pregnancy supplements”.
A wide range of fish oil supplements is available on the market, both in capsules form or liquid, and in varying dosages.
Click Here For More Information on Pregnancy
American Pregnancy Association 2016. Omega-3 Fish Oil and Pregnancy: Benefits & Proper Dosage. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/omega-3-fish-oil/
Bisgaard, H. et al., 2016. Fish Oil–Derived Fatty Acids in Pregnancy and Wheeze and Asthma in Offspring. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(26), pp.2530–2539. Available at: http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1503734
Foods Authority 2016. Foods to eat or avoid when pregnant. Available at: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/life-events-and-food/pregnancy/foods-to-eat-or-avoid-when-pregnant
FSANZ 2011. Mercury in fish. Available at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/mercury/Pages/default.aspx
Garcia-Larsen, V. et al., 2018. Diet during pregnancy and infancy and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS medicine, 15(2), p.e1002507. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29489823
Linus Pauling Institute, 2014. Essential Fatty Acids. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids
Markhus, M.W. et al., 2013. Low Omega-3 Index in Pregnancy Is a Possible Biological Risk Factor for Postpartum Depression M. Mazza, ed. PLoS ONE, 8(7), p.e67617. Available at: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067617
NHMRC Eat for Health Publications, 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Available at: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf
NHMRC Eat for Health Publications. Healthy Eating During Your Pregnancy. Available at: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/n55h_healthy_eating_during_pregnancy_print.pdf
Swanson, D., Block, R. & Mousa, S.A., 2012. Omega-3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA: Health Benefits Throughout Life. Advances in Nutrition, 3(1), pp.1–7. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/3/1/1/4557081
Vaz, J. dos S. et al., 2013. Dietary patterns, n-3 fatty acids intake from seafood and high levels of anxiety symptoms during pregnancy: findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. PloS one, 8(7), p.e67671. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23874437
Weiser, M.J., Butt, C.M. & Mohajeri, M.H., 2016. Docosahexaenoic Acid and Cognition throughout the Lifespan. Nutrients, 8(2), p.99. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26901223