The Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oils for Moms and Babies

I didn't take omega-3 fish oils during my first pregnancy nine years ago. In fact, I don't even remember knowing about these powerhouses of health or the benefits of fish oils for moms and babies until a couple years later, during my second pregnancy.

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But you better believe I am diligently taking omega-3 fish oils during my 4th pregnancy! Now, I see them as just as important as my prenatal vitamin! 

But just why is fish oil so important to moms and babies? 

What are omega-3 fish oils?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, found in fish, with EPA and DHA being the most critical (source). According to American Pregnancy Association, women should take omega-3 supplements before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure optimal health for mom and baby (source). 

After I began taking omega-3 fish oils during my second pregnancy, my entire family added this supplement to our regular health and wellness regimen. 

Why are Omega-3 Fish Oils So Important?

1. Women in the U.S. only get 40% of the omega-3s they need daily.
Supplementation is important because most of us are not getting the omega-3s we need on our own (source). While pregnant, the omega-3s we do have are going to supply our babies with vital nutrients. Omega-3 supplementation is a must if both mom and baby are to maintain optimal health. 

In fact, the American Dietetic Association recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women consume at least 500 mg of omega-3s daily (source). 

2. Omega-3 fish oils support brain, eye, immune, and nervous system health in babies.
While it is important for expectant mothers to take adequate amounts of omega-3s throughout a pregnancy, it is vital during the third trimester, when the baby's brain is rapidly developing before delivery (source). 

While the baby's brain, eye, immune, and nervous system health is being built by the mother's omega-3 stores, the mother can suffer from depletion that can lead to other health issues postpartum if she is not getting adequate amounts through supplementation (source). 

3. Omega-3 fish oils can foster positive mood in postpartum women.
I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my second child, and one of the first things my chiropractor asked me during this time was: "Are you still taking your omega-3 fish oil supplements?" 

Guess what? I had stopped taking them after the pregnancy. I later discovered that I needed to take omega-3 fish oil supplements just as much while breastfeeding! 

Once I began taking them again, my mood improved significantly. Now, I don't foresee ever going without omega-3 fish oils--whether I am breastfeeding, pregnant, or just being a mom!

Getting your kids to take Omega-3 fish oils

If you aren't familiar with omega-3 fish oils, you might perceive that it would be difficult to get your kids to take these supplements. Wrong! 

Our girls have been taking omega-3 fish oil supplements since they were babies, and when I give them a liquid version, they now fight over which child gets to lick the spoon! My husband and I laugh at the fact that, at the end of the day, the girls will remind us if we have not given them their fish oil. 

"Mom! Can I have some fish oil!" they will squeal in delight. I am not kidding! We know our friends new to healthy living must think this is a bit crazy, but we love that our girls are gleaning the benefits of this vital nutritional supplement so early in life. 

One of our favorite brands of omega-3 fish oils is Nordic Naturals. Nordic Naturals is recommended by the American Pregnancy Association. I get it from Vitacost, but you can also find them at many local health food stores. You can check out more about Nordic Naturals at nordicnaturals.com.

Do you take an omega-3 fish oil supplement? Did you know how beneficial omega-3 fish oils are to moms and babies?

 

Want to try Nordic Naturals for yourself? Order some today, and use the promo code CAFEMOM to save 15%!

Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker is wife to Will, mommy to a lovely trio of redheaded girls, and a recovering overwhelmed homemaker who encourages, educates and empowers women to live a grace-filled, natural life.

 

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