Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Supplementing with fish oil during pregnancy could boost attention spans in children, say researchers.

More good news, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy, researchers have established that taking fish oil during pregnancy is both safe and beneficial for a child’s brain development.

Recent research from the University of Western Australia found that supplementation may lead to improved eye and hand coordination in children. The higher eye and hand coordination scores in the supplemented group were positively correlated with increases in omega-3 content in the umbilical cord blood.

Led by Dr Susan Prescott, from the University of Western Australia, the researchers concluded: “Preliminary data indicate that supplementation with a relatively high-dose fish oil during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy is not only safe but also seems to have potential beneficial effects.”

The last three months of pregnancy are thought to be a key time for intake of fish oil because
there is a growth spurt in the human brain during this time, which carries on into the first few months of a baby's life, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown.

Other research suggests cod liver oil taken during pregnancy may increase birthweight and reduce the risk of the baby developing type 1 diabetes.

As well as immediate benefits to the child, studies show fish oils can help mums-to-be in a number of ways, including reducing high blood pressure and easing post-natal depression. As omega-3 oils are also essential for good memory, supplementing with fish oils and eating oily fish on a regular basis may help prevent mumnesia, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown.

To find out more about Nutritional support during or before your pregnancy, contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT), specialist in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2. I have also written a free e-book on how you can improve your pregnancy diet which can be obtained by clicking on my link.