Is it safe to have cod liver oil while pregnant? Read the following article to find out the various pros and cons associated with the consumption of cod liver oil during pregnancy.
Pregnancy changes a lot of things, starting with the way your body performs certain functions along with radically altered health requirements. Certain things that used to make you feel good previously, and certain indulgences that you had formerly enjoyed, begin to seem unsavory or even repulsive all of a sudden! Do you know why? Let’s just cut the medical jargon, especially that part about hormones, and take a look at the bigger picture – there’s another life that’s taking shape inside of you with certain biological needs that are quite different from yours. In order for your nutrition intake to be compatible for your health as well as the health of your fetus, your body adjusts itself such that you automatically feel compelled to consume certain foods while feeling an aversion for certain other consumables.
Coming to the issue of consuming cod liver oil during one’s pregnancy, while fish oil is considered extremely beneficial for health owing to its high omega-3 fatty acids content, as well as due to the generous levels of vitamins A and E in it, care should be taken and an experienced medical professional or gynecologist should be consulted before going ahead with it. There’s a lot of debate in the medical community over whether or not fish oil, especially cod liver oil, is safe for consumption during pregnancy. Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say in this regard.
Cod Liver Oil During Pregnancy
It is the extremely high amounts of vitamin A present in cod liver oil that forms the crux of all concern surrounding the consumption of fish oil during pregnancy. We all know that consuming very high amounts of fat soluble vitamins can cause more harm than good. In case of cod liver oil, the level of retinol, which is the naturally occurring form of vitamin A from animal sources, exceeds the ceiling prescribed under the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin A. Since vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, and has a tendency to get stored in lipids, this causes some serious concerns when it comes to a pregnant woman who is passing through a very delicate phase of health and wellness, and any disturbance to this balance can result in disaster for the unborn fetus.
High amounts of vitamin A is directly associated with causing birth defects in the child, as well as leading to increased risk of gestational hypertension in the pregnant woman. Too much vitamin A during pregnancy can interfere with the fetal bone growth, and may lead to weak bones and skeletal deformities in the newborn. Also, fish oil often contains mercury and traces of other chemical toxins, which may prove detrimental to the health of the mother and the child if the oil has not undergone proper purification processes to remove such traces.
However, the other nutritional contents in cod liver oil in the form of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D are actually beneficial for the health of the fetus, and their consumption during pregnancy goes a long way in decreasing the risk of childhood diabetes in the newborn. Fish oil intake during pregnancy is also associated with high IQ levels in infants.
So, what’s the verdict? Is it safe to have fish or cod liver oil while pregnant? Well, as long as you do so under medical supervision and stick to the recommended cod liver oil dosage, it will do you and your yet-to-be-born bundle of joy more benefit than harm. However, it is better to take fish oil that has been extracted from the body of the fish rather than the liver, as this reduces the risk of suffering the adverse effects to a considerable degree.
Also, make sure that the fish oil supplement comes from a reputed and good quality manufacturer, as this ensures proper purification for removal of mercury and other toxic chemical traces from the key ingredient of the supplement. Remember, consult your doctor and get necessary tests done to know what vitamins and nutrients you need, and in what quantity, before going ahead and popping in those fish oil supplements. The right thing, in the right quantity, at the right time, is what does the trick and pregnancy is definitely not the right time to take your chances with medicines and nutritional supplements.