Cod Liver Oil: Should it be Used in Pregnancy?

Patient

Q: I m at my 32 weeks of pregnancy, my doctor suggested me to take cod liver oil daily. i have started to take cod liver oil at my 30 weeks of preganacy and after the tablet finished i stop buying, but now my doctor advised me to continue till delivery. How safe is cod liver oil for pregnancy and does it has any side effects?

Doctor

A:   Cod liver oil is a rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin D. These supplements also have omega-3 which is very beneficial to the heart. Try looking at the bottle or the box of that cod liver oil supplement you are taking. In pregnancy, the amount of vitamin A taken daily should not exceed 5,000 IU and for vitamin D, it should not exceed 2,000 IU. Higher doses of vitamin A can also cause birth defects on the fetus, some may be life threatening. Also, for the drugs used in pregnancy, there is a category for that. Drug Category A is proven beneficial with no harmful effects on the fetus while Drug Category X is the most harmful and almost never used in pregnancy. As far as I know, cod liver oil supplements has no category which means it has not been extensively studied yet. Try asking your OB Gyne what is her reason behind the cod liver oil supplementation; if you are really bothered with the supplements, you can try to reach a compromise with her and eat more of the foods which has all the nutrients in cod liver oil, that is not a bad idea.

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