Omega Blood Count - The optimal measure of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
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Omega Mother

Women of child bearing potential have to carefully consider what medication or supplements they take, as this could have a negative effect on an unborn child. Not only is Omega-3 safe to take during this time, but it brings with it a host of positive effects which has led to many experts calling for this to be mandatory for this group of patients.

  • Omega-3 supplementation reduced pregnancy complications in a group of women with a history of previous problems. Olden S, Østerdal M, Salvig J, et al. Duration of pregnancy in relation to fish oil supplementation and habitual fish intake: a randomised clinical trial with fish oil. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007; 61:976-985.
  • Danish investigators observed that women living in the Faro islands were having babies which had a higher birth weight and were generally delivered later than mothers in Denmark. Olsen SF, Hansen HS, Sommers S, et al. Gestational age in relation to marine n-3 fatty acids in maternal erythrocytes: a study of women in the Faroe Islands and Denmark. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1991;164:1203-1209.
  • The Faro islands have a diet much higher in fish and Omega-3 than Denmark and when the blood of pregnant women from these two countries was examined, the Faroese levels were significantly higher. Supplementation with Omega-3 produced the same effect. Birth weight increased and the gestation period extended by four days. Olsen SF, Sørensen JD, Secher NJ, et al. Randomised controlled trial of effect of fish-oil supplementation on pregnancy duration. Lancet. 1992;339(8800):1003-7.

Not only are pregnant outcomes better but there are other major benefits to the mother. Mood improves, even those with major depressive illness. Post natal depression is far more common in those with low levels of Omega-3 (Leung BM, Kaplan BJ. Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition lin – a review of the literature. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(9):1566-75.) and some authors have suggested that Omega-3 be taken to prevent this. Intake of Omega-3 is lower than the recommended levels in the majority of the population, with analysis of breast milk in western mothers showing suboptimal amounts of Omega-3 directly influenced by the maternal diet.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain development and there are numerous advantages to the unborn child from maternal supplementation with Omega-3. This includes reduced allergies and improved intelligence, learning and behaviour; exactly the sorts of advantages mothers would like to give to their children.