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Sarah Yang

Omega-3s Might Not Help With Some Pregnancy Complications (Sorry!)

PUBLISHED ON 06/06/2012

You’ve probably read everywhere (and heard from your OB) that omega-3 fatty acids are important during pregnancy. And some previous research showed that fish oil improves blood sugar control and vascular health fish oils causing some to believe they could help with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, too. Not so much, according to a new study.

In the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2,400 pregnancies were analyzed over a period of about two and a half years. The pregnant women received three capsules of omega-3 supplements or a blend of three vegetable oils as supplements each day. It was found that eight percent of the women developed gestational diabetes and five percent had preeclampsia. For the women who took the omega-3 capsules, there was a three percent lower risk of gestational diabetes and 13 percent lower risk of preeclampsia than the women who took the vegetable oil pills. Although there was a lower incidence of these complications for the women who took fish oil, researchers say that the outcomes are not statistically significant and could have happened by chance.

But there’s no reason to stop taking fish oil supplements — in fact, they’re still recommended. Researchers found that omega-3s reduced birth complications and preterm births. Also, if taken earlier in pregnancy, fish oil might benefit mom. The women in the study started taking the fish oil after they were 20 weeks pregnant.

What do you think of this study? Do you take fish oil supplements?