A recent study analysing past trials involving over 1.5 million subjects and 400 studies found that taking fish oil (omega 3) during pregnancy and breastfeeding may reduce your child’s risk of allergies. The risk of egg allergy in the child was reduced by 30%. Taking probiotics reduced the risk of eczema by 22%. Allergenic food avoidance seemed to make no difference.
In addition to reducing allergy risk, omega 3 is known to reduce the risk of pre-term birth, and to improve mental development in pre-term infants through either breast milk and/or supplementation. Pregnant women taking an omega 3 supplement may wish to consider ceasing it a few weeks prior to their due date as, whilst it can reduce the risk of pre-term birth, it may possibly delay the on-set of labour – thought to be because of the same anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Garcia-Larsen V, Ierodiakonou D, Jarrold K, Cunha S, Chivinge J, Robinson Z, et al. (2018) Diet during pregnancy and infancy and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med 15(2).
Harper M, Thom E, Klebanoff MA, Thorp J, Sorokin Y., Varner, MW,et al. (2010) Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation to prevent recurrent preterm birth. Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Makrides M, Gibson R.S. (2000) Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid requirements during pregnancy and lactation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.