A study published Dec. 29, 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that women who take fish oil during pregnancy may be doing their babies a favor by reducing their risk for developing asthma.
The study, which gave 736 women who were 24 weeks pregnant either fish oil or a placebo and studied a total of 695 children for five years, found that the fish oil supplementation in the third trimester of pregnancy “reduced the absolute risk of persistent wheeze or asthma and infections of the lower respiratory tract in offspring by approximately 7 percentage points, or one-third.”
Performed at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, in a country where fish oil consumption is already at a high level, the findings will lead to additional studies and more research, notably determining the optimal dose of fish oils and the best point at pregnancy when to begin the supplement.
Pregnant women are encouraged talk to their doctors about the need for increased intake of the fatty acids found in fish oils. For some, the levels consumed by their prenatal vitamin will be sufficient, while others may need additional DHA and EPA from a supplement.