May 5, 2011

Beating the Baby Blues With Fish Oil

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD By:

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Omega-3s during pregnancy may help prevent depression

(dailyRx News) The omega-3s found in fish oil are known to be good for the heart and the brain. These healthy nutrients may be particularly healthful for moms-to-be.

A small clinical trial suggests that pregnant women who consume fish oil supplements containing omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression after the baby arrives.

"Taking fish oil during pregnancy may prevent postpartum depression."

Women in the treatment group of study were given fish oil capsules containing 300 milligrams of DHA, a common omega-3 fatty acid.

Lead investigator, Michelle Price Judge, Ph.D., a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, said, "DHA consumption during pregnancy at levels that are reasonably attained from foods has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,"

After giving birth, new moms who had been taking the fish oil reported fewer postpartum depression symptoms, such as sleeping and eating problems, anxiety, emotional issues, confusion, guilt, loss of self and thoughts of suicide.

An estimated one in four new moms suffer from depression after giving birth. Healthcare providers agree that this condition can have devastating consequences, not only for the women experiencing it, but also for their children and family.

The Study

  • Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled dietary intervention trial included 52 pregnant women
  • Participants took either a placebo (corn oil) or a fish oil capsule containing 300 milligrams of DHA five days each week from 24-40 weeks of pregnancy
  • Postpartum Depression Screening Scale used to evaluate response of women in study
  • Women taking fish oil capsules with DHA reported fewer symptoms of postpartum depression

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Reviewed by: 
Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: 
May 4, 2011

Last Updated:
May 26, 2011