The Food Standards Agency advises that women enjoying a balanced diet do not need to take fish oil supplements during pregnancy. In particular, fish
liver oil supplements, such as cod liver oil, contain high levels of vitamin A, which can be harmful to a developing baby.
Some people think that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements will improve a baby's cognitive development (ability to learn). Some studies indicate that a higher intake of fatty acids from fish can help to prevent premature birth and low birth weight.
However, the evidence is insufficient and more research is needed before routine supplementation of fish oil can be recommended. Eating a range of fresh fish as part of a balanced diet will offer more nutrients than supplements alone.
Eating two servings of fish a week, including up to two portions of oily fish such as mackerel or salmon, will naturally increase your levels of omega-3s.
Pregnant women should avoid eating shark, swordfish and marlin, as these fish can contain high levels of mercury.
Limit your weekly intake of tuna to two fresh tuna steaks (which count as oily fish) or four medium-sized cans of tuna.
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