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Warding off Colds:Fish Oil May Save Babies from Sick Time

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

Expectant moms try their very best to give their babies a head start before they are born. They watch what they eat, take vitamins and prenatal supplements, and, if it applies, cut out their favorite bad habits; i.e. smoking and drinking. A new study shows that there may be one more measure you can take to help out your cooking little one; omega 3 fatty acid DHA, or fish oil supplements.

The Omega 3 fatty acids are nutrients considered essential to neural and retinal development during pregnancy, and are most often obtained through eating fish. With concerns over mercury contamination in fish, however, recommendations are that, during pregnancy, women limit their consumption of fish. This is where supplement studies come in.

Now early mommies-to-be, I apologize if the thought of fish oil supplements trigger your morning sickness reflexes, but these not-so-wonderful smelling capsules may be the difference between spending your baby’s first year in the doctor’s office and having a happy, healthy first year.

Researchers included 800 women in a study and chose 400 randomly to be given DHA during their pregnancy, while the other half were given placebos. Once all of the children were born, their medical records were checked at 1, 3, and 6 months.

When checked at 1 month, of the babies who were exposed to DHA in the womb, 38% had experienced cold like symptoms, as opposed to 45% of babies who hadn’t. Those numbers aren’t staggering, but even a small reduction is better than none.

However, babies who had been exposed to DHA had a 24% drops in the odds of having a combination of cold symptoms at 1 month. They also had a 26% shorter duration of cough, 15% less time with phlegm, and a 30% shorter duration of wheezing.

By 3 months, babies in the DHA group were also sick 14% less time. At 6 months, the babies whose mothers had DHA had shorter duration of fever, runny nose and breathing problems.

Although researchers say it is too soon to recommend the routine of DHA supplements to pregnant women, because the results are not “dramatic enough.” However, the studies do also show that the supplements appear to be safe for pregnant women to take.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Warding off Colds:Fish Oil May Save Babies from Sick Time

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