The Unexpected Benefit of Consuming Fish Oil During Pregnancy

Could something as simple as adding fish oil supplements to your regimen reduce a major health risk for your baby?

Pregnant woman taking fish oil supplements to prevent asthma mikumistock/Shutterstock
We've previously reported that fish consumption during pregnancy can bring down your baby's asthma risk—and a more recent study has identified a similar effect where fish oil is concerned. 

Danish researchers observed nearly 700 pregnant women—the women were given 2.4-gram tablets containing either fish oil or olive oil. Researchers monitored the health of their children for five years after this...and while 24 percent of the children whose mothers were given olive oil had developed wheezing or asthma by age five, only 17 percent of the children whose mothers took fish oil appeared to have the same issues. 

This finding isn't exactly groundbreaking: The idea that fish oil could benefit pregnant women has been around for quite some time, and the researchers involved with this particular study weren't surprised to find a link. 

"I would say that the finding that the effect was there was maybe not the surprise, because there have been indications," study author Hans Bisgaard, M.D., told NPR. "But the magnitude was very surprising to us."

These findings, which were published in New England Journal of Medicine, suggest a blood test could identify whether or not a pregnant woman's baby is at risk for asthma, which would in turn make it easier for doctors to identify which patients should take fish oil supplements during their third trimesters. 

Are you worried about your baby's asthma risk? Consider discussing these findings with your doctor before stocking up on supplements.