Eating plenty of omega-3 rich foods in pregnancy could improve your mental wellbeing as a new mum. A new study has found that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish, have been linked to lower levels of postnatal depression (PND).
Fish oil supplements were given to 26 pregnant women five times a week, while a further 26 mums-to-be took placebo supplements. The women who received the fish oil reported lower levels of self esteem and anxiety issues after they had their babies.
Omega-3 levels build up during pregnancy, if eaten regularly, and can give new mums a mental boost. Good sources include mackerel, tuna steak, sardines, salmon and trout.
But do take care before splashing out on oily fish. Mums-to-be have been warned not to go overboard with their fish intake as some fish can contain high levels of toxins such as mercury. The Department of Health recommends two portions a week of oily fish and that pregnant women stick to a maximum of four medium sized cans of tuna.
The researchers stressed that mums-to-be would get more benefit by taking in omega-3 from their diet rather than by taking supplements, though these can have a similar benefit for mums-to-be who don’t eat fish.
If you are already taking supplements, check with your doctor before you add omega-3 to your daily intake.