Fish oil for pregnant women is becoming so popular, it's a standard recommendation by many gynecologists to their pregnant patients. A healthy diet and other good supplements are important, too, of course: no food or nutrient is enough all by itself. Having said that... here's why this may be the No. 1 supplement for pregnant women.
First, DHA and EPA, the essential omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil, are among the best natural anti-inflammatory nutrients known. This is a major reason why they are helpful in so many areas: the brain, the joints, the digestive system, the heart and circulatory system.
Omega 3's have been shown to benefit mood, concentration and mental alertness. There is also a strong relationship between the lack of omega 3's and depression.
The areas of the world where omega 3 is lowest in the diet are also those with the highest incidence of depression. Japan, with a tradition of a lot of fish in the diet, has rates of depression among the lowest in the world. New Zealand has rates of clinical depression that are among the highest on earth -- and New Zealand has one of the lowest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in the diet.
From these facts, and several clinical studies, omega 3's are considered to be good nutrients to help prevent postnatal depression, the depression that sometimes plagues new mothers.
Omega 3's, and especially DHA are vital during pregnancy because the baby developing in the womb needs DHA for healthy development of the brain and eyes. DHA is actually concentrated in the brain and the cornea of the eyes. Studies have shown better development of brain function and eyesight in babies whose mothers were given omega 3 supplements during their pregnancies.
Other interesting studies have shown that omega 3 supplements for pregnant women seem to help head off allergies in their children -- perhaps because of the anti-inflammation qualities of DHA while the baby is developing.
After the baby is born, omega 3 supplements are still extremely important. The brains, eyes and bodies of young children are developing rapidly, so this is a nutrient that is also particularly important at this stage. And of course, it's also great for the emotional health of the busy mother.
For more on the importance of fish oil for pregnant women, see my website.