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When it comes to pregnancy nutrition, there is so much information out there, that it can become confusing and cause an overload. This article aims to give you a down to earth overview of the role of fish and omega fats during pregnancy.

It includes:

1. Fish during pregnancy – the do’s and don’ts

2. Why eat fish during pregnancy

3. The importance of omega-3 fatty acids

4. Omega-3s should be consumed by everyone

5. The importance of omega-6 fatty acids

6. Sources of omega 3’s and 6’s

1. Fish during pregnancy – the do's and don'ts

On one hand fish is a great source of a number of vital nutrients that you require during pregnancy, for you and your baby. On the other hand some fish contain high levels of mercury, and others could cause food poisoning. So let’s get that out of the way first.

Do

When pregnant, ideally you should eat two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily.

Ensure fish is properly cooked, hot right through

You can eat tuna once your intake is limited to 4 tins per week, or 2 tuna steaks each week

Don’t

Eat raw shellfish – this could cause food poisoning

Eat fish that contain high levels of mercury – marlin, swordfish and shark

2. Why eat fish during pregnancy

plaice pregnancy nutrition fish fats

Medical studies have shown that there are huge benefits in eating fish twice a week for pregnant women, as part of an overall healthy, varied diet. It is a good source of protein and is essential for the healthy growth of your baby.

Fish is rich in other essentials such as omega 3 fats, selenium, zinc, B12 and iodine. Oily fish are also rich in vitamins D and A.

3. The importance of omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids make up a significant part of the brain. 60% of brain fats is omega-3 with DHA, which is a type found in fish. This fat is crucial in normal brain development for your baby when you’re pregnant, as well as during his early childhood years.

Did you know that before birth 75% of brain cells are already in place? The remainder will be in place at the end of your baby’s first year of life.

As well as brain development, this fat is also necessary for normal eye development, both when you are pregnant and during infancy.

Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help fight pre-natal depression. They have also been shown to possibly help prevent pre-term birth.

trout fish and omega fats pregnancy

4. Omega-3s should be consumed by everyone

Omega-3 fats should be consumed by everyone, not just pregnant women. Here’s why:

1. Omega-3s can help fight inflammation

2. Lower blood fats

3. Reduce blood pressure

4. Increase good cholesterol (HDL)

5. May lower both bad cholesterol (LDL)

6. Omega-3s may help reduce blood pressure

5. The importance of omega-6 fatty acids

Like omega-3s, omega-6s are also essential fatty acids, which we need to get from food, as they are not made by our bodies. Along with omega-3s, omega-6 fatty acids play a vital role in brain development and brain function.

Omega-6s also play a role in:

1. Bone health

2. A healthy reproductive system

3. A healthy metabolism

4. Stimulating hair and skin growth

salmon pregnancy nutrition

6. Sources of omegas-3 and 6

Particularly important for your baby’s developing brain are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

You can find these in:

Oily fish such as sardines, herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout

White fish like plaice, cod and whiting

They are also present in some vegetables oils such as canola, rapeseed, walnut, flaxseed and linseed

When pregnant, ideally you should eat two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily.

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All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.