We already know that the diet of the future mother is important for the good development and health of the unborn child. Now, a recent Danish study has highlighted the beneficial role of omega-3-rich fish oil supplementation in good child growth.
The prenatal period is particularly associated with a risk of deficiency of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), essential for the good neuronal development of the fetus. Omega 3 would also prevent the risk of pre-eclampsia and prematurity and would affect the future mother’s mood by preventing baby blues. A recent study from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen, published in the BMJ, confirms the benefits of supplementing with fish oils during pregnancy: the consumption of these oils would lead to healthier babies at birth, but also during their six first years.
In order to study the effect of omega 3 supplementation during pregnancy on the health of unborn children, 736 pregnant women were divided into two groups. One received daily fish oils from the 24th week of pregnancy until one week after delivery, while the other group received a placebo: olive oil. As a result, “supplementation with fish oils showed a higher body mass index (BMI) in children 0 to 6 years of age, with no increased risk of obesity at 6 years of age. Indeed, the children’s examinations, followed from 0 to 6 years, showed that the BMI of children whose mothers were supplemented with fish oils was not due to excess fat, but to muscle mass and a higher bone density than children in the group who received olive oil. In general, fish oils have a positive effect on the growth of children, at least until they are six years old.
The Danish study also showed that fish oils reduce by 31% the risk of children developing asthma or other associated respiratory symptoms.
Although pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of oily fish due to the risk of heavy metal poisoning, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends supplementing it with “marine oils” during the prenatal period. To avoid “the unpleasant taste” of fish oils, and if your doctor suspects a deficiency, pregnant women can turn to food supplements in the form of capsules, which are tasteless and easy to take.