Fertility

These Are The Best Fish Oil Supplements for Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know

Updated on 13 July 2021 • 9 minute read
53 Views

 

Overview

Did you know that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are critical building blocks in your baby’s brain development? These are also important in your baby’s retina development.

These essential nutrients can also help reduce the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight, postpartum depression, and pre-eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure with possible liver and kidney damage during pregnancy). (1)

Some studies also discovered that children of moms who took omega-3 supplements might have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, autoimmune diseases, heart diseases, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and depression later in life. (2-5)

Because you might not be getting enough omega-3 fats from food sources, DHA supplementation from prenatal vitamins and fish oil capsules can help you reach the recommended amount per day.

But what are the best fish oil supplements for pregnancy? How do you know if these are a good source of omega-3? 

You’ll learn more about prenatal supplements with fish oil and how you can choose the best one below.

 

The Best Fish Oil Supplements for Pregnancy

Our bodies don’t produce omega-3, and you might only get these in small amounts from food. But you can get these essential nutrients from dietary supplements.

These are the three main omega-3 fatty acids:

  • DHA docosahexaenoic acid
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)

 

DHA is the most important omega-3 fatty acid

DHA is the most important but a supplement that also has EPA is a better pick because this fatty acid helps improve DHA transport from your blood to the placenta.

The following are our top picks for the best fish oil supplements for pregnancy:

 

Continue reading to find out what each of these supplements contains and whether they are good for your pregnancy:

 

NatureMade Prenatal Multivitamin + DHA

  • Price: 90 soft gels, $22.59
  • Source: High-quality ingredients

 

Safety

  • No artificial flavors
  • Gluten-free
  • Meets USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) standards

 

Contents

  • 60 mg EPA
  • 200 mg DHA
  • 1,330 mcg folate
  • 800 mcg folic acid
  • 770 mcg vitamin A
  • 85 mcg vitamin C
  • 1,000 IU vitamin D
  • 15 mg vitamin E
  • 90 mcg vitamin K
  • 1.4 mg thiamin
  • 1.4 mg riboflavin
  • 18 mg niacin
  • 1.9 mg vitamin B6
  • 5.2 mcg vitamin B12 
  • 150 mg calcium 
  • 27 mg iron 
  • 150 mcg iodine 
  • 45 mg magnesium
  • 11 mg zinc 

 

Cons

  • Some users complain of aftertaste.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

Most vitamins besides Flintstones make me nauseous, even when I’m not pregnant. These have zero GI issues, and they are way more complete. I have been taking them for years. I recommend them to patients as well.” – Reviewer on NatureMade.

 

Negative Review:

I bought a bottle, and when I opened it, the most disgusting rotting fish smell came out, and the pills were covered in orange oil that left a lingering fish smell in my fingers. I returned it, thinking it was defective, and reordered. The second bottle was just the same! Please change your formula, NatureMade!” – Reviewer on NatureMade.

 

Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil

  • Price: 90 soft gels, $22.95
  • Source: 100% wild Arctic cod taken from the Norwegian Sea

 

Safety

  • No fish body oils
  • No synthetic vitamins
  • No additives
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • Gluten-free
  • No milk or dairy derivatives
  • Uses rosemary extract as a natural preservative
  • Meets and surpasses European Pharmacopoeia standards
  • Non-GMO verified
  • Third-party tested for purity
  • Friend of the Sea (FOS) certified
  • Sustainably made in a zero-waste facility

 

Contents

  • 360 mg DHA
  • 240 mg EPA
  • 150 mg other omega-3s
  • 30 mcg vitamin A

 

Cons

  • Some users complain of the soft gel capsules fusing.
  • Some users report experiencing fishy burps (unpleasant taste in your mouth or burps).

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

“I was fearful that the pill would have an aftertaste. None! I think it is helping me. I know I need to add cod liver oil to my diet. This was the perfect answer.” – Reviewer on Nordic Naturals.

 

Negative Review:

All pills had melted together into one giant clump — I couldn’t even shake or pry a single pill out. So, I’m sending them back and going back to krill oil.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

One A Day Prenatal Advanced

  • Price: 60 soft gels and 60 tablets, $27.99
  • Source: Made from anchovies, sardines, tuna, and soy

 

Safety

  • 100+ rigorous quality checks
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No artificial flavors
  • Gluten-free
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No dairy (milk) allergens

 

Contents

  • 110 mg choline 
  • 200 mg DHA
  • 35 mg EPA
  • 800 mcg folic acid 
  • 650 mcg vitamin A
  • 85 mg vitamin C
  • 600 IU vitamin D
  • 19 mg vitamin E
  • 1.4 mg thiamin
  • Niacin
  • 2 mg vitamin B6
  • 2.8 mg vitamin B12
  • 27 mg iron
  • 150 mg calcium
  • 1.3 mg zinc
  • 40 mg magnesium

 

Cons

  • It may contain fish oil from tuna, a fish with high levels of mercury.
  • It contains soy, a common source of food allergy. (Note: Many holistic prenatal dietitians such as Lily Nichols advise against the regular consumption of soy products during pregnancy.) 

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

As a nurse, I know the importance of choline to support brain function and development. I also like that these pills, although big, have a smooth coating. It makes them go down much easier. I am glad that I am not only supplementing folic acid but also supplementing the choline for brain development.” – Reviewer on One A Day.

 

Negative Review:

I take other prenatals, so I thought these would be better quality. I took them before eating breakfast, and after about 5 hours, my stomach hurt so bad. Which my old ones didn’t, so I won’t be using these anymore. Too strong for me.” – Reviewer on One A Day.

 

Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA

  • Price: 90 soft gels, $28.95
  • Source: Deep-sea fish (from anchovies and sardines)

 

Safety

  • Gluten-free
  • No milk derivatives
  • No artificial colors
  • No flavors
  • Conforms to the ethical practices of the natural products industry
  • Certified sustainable
  • Non-GMO certified
  • Third-party purity tested
  • Over 90% triglyceride-form omega-3s for better absorption

 

Contents

  • 480 mg DHA
  • 2015 mg EPA
  • 145 mg other omega-3s
  • 400 IU vitamin D3

 

Cons

  • It may be manufactured on the same processing line with products containing soy derivatives. 

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:
Great value for money and easy to swallow. Mine was not flavored. It has no taste, but it’s okay. It’s not bitter either.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Review:

These make my heart race each time I take them within 15 minutes and last an hour. I’m not sure why. I’ve tried with and without food and during different times of the day also only taking one, and it still happens. Not normal, so discontinuing.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Carlson EcoSmart Omega-3 Fish Oil

  • Price: 90 soft gels, $29.90
  • Source: Eco-friendly, highly sustainable wild Norwegian calamari species

 

Safety

  • Friend of the Sea certified
  • IFOS (International Fish Oil Standards) certified
  • Freshness and potency guaranteed
  • Purity guaranteed

 

Contents

  • 720 mg DHA
  • 280 mg EPA
  • 13.4 mg vitamin E

 

Cons

  • It contains calamari, a potential allergen.
  • It contains sunflower oil which can become toxic when exposed to higher temperatures.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

I take one of these per day instead of the suggested two since I’m also getting DHA/omega 3s from the prenatal as well. No complaints! The lemon flavor is mild and a nice touch.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Review:

Label is too much like the label for “DHA 500. I thought I had ordered DHA 500, but in fact, 2 of these only have 720 mg of DHA. Very disappointed. I will be more careful next time.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Ritual Essential Prenatal 

  • Price: 30 soft gels, $35
  • Source: Wild-harvested lichen and whole microalgae

 

Safety

  • Vegan capsules
  • Gluten-free
  • Major allergen-free
  • No artificial flavor
  • No synthetic fillers
  • Non-GMO Project verified
  • Delayed-release capsule design
  • Batch testing for purity
  • Third-party lab testing for contaminants, heavy metals, microbes, and allergens

 

Contents

  • 350 mg DHA
  • 2,000 IU vitamin D3
  • 1,000 mcg folate
  • 55 mg choline
  • 18 mg iron
  • 150 mcg iodine
  • 32 mg magnesium
  • 7 mg vitamin E
  • 8 mcg vitamin B12
  • 300 mcg biotin

 

Cons

  • It’s a subscription prenatal vitamin. So, you can’t easily find this from retail outlets or your local drugstore.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

This vitamin is easy to take and easy to digest. My midwife was very impressed with the transparency in ingredients and sources. Overall, I’ve been very happy with these vitamins!” – Reviewer on Ritual.

 

Negative Review:

LOVE the vitamins, not the aftertaste… I loved my OG Ritual vitamins with the peppermint EO tablet, and I’m thinking about having a baby, so I switched to the Ritual Prenatal, and it has the lemon tablet. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of the lemon. I would love the prenatal with the peppermint tablet!” – Reviewer on Ritual.

 

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2X w/ Vitamin D3

  • Price: 60 soft gels, $51.95
  • Source: 100% wild-caught sardines and anchovies

 

Safety

  • Non-GMO verified
  • Purity guaranteed by third-party testing
  • Certificates of Analysis available for each product
  • FOS (Friend of the Sea) certified
  • Made in a zero-waste facility powered by biofuel

 

Contents

  • 2,000 mg EPA + DHA
  • 1,000 IU vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • 2,150 mg total omega-3s

 

Cons

  • This product is more expensive than other fish oil.
  • Some users complain about the soft gels fusing at the bottom of the bottle.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

Great product. The only fish oil product I use/buy at this point. No issues with it. No odor, belching issues at all. No issues with shipping/ordering. I would highly recommend it.” – Reviewer on Nordic Naturals.

 

Negative Review:

The contents (gel caps) were fused together, the oil color was darker than normal, everything smelled fishy, the capsules tasted fishy, and the inside of the bottle was coated with streaks of dark stuff. Exploding rancid capsule? This is NOT the normal quality.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Carlson Labs The Very Finest Fish Oil

  • Price: 16.9 oz, $53
  • Source: Wild-caught Norwegian fish (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, or jack mackerel)

 

Safety

  • Gluten-free
  • Purity guaranteed
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Sourced from low-impact fisheries
  • Uses sustainable manufacturing methods
  • Follows ethical practices

 

Contents

  • 1,000 mg DHA
  • 1,350 mg EPA
  • 250 mg other omega-3s

 

Cons

  • Amazon warns that this product might contain lead, known to cause cancer. (6)
  • This supplement contains sunflower oil, which may release toxic compounds when heated to high temperatures over time.
  • The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued a warning against the sale or purchase of Carlson The Very Finest Fish Oil Liquid in orange flavor because it’s an unregistered supplement. But the other flavors (such as lemon) are not affected by the advisory. (7)

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

It had a perfectly clean taste, which was no taste, except a very slight hint of lemon or orange essence with no fishy burps.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Negative Review:

I was so disappointed when I learned that sunflower oil was added to this oil. Steven Gundry, MD (“Plant Paradox”) lists sunflower oil as something to be avoided because it contributes to leaky gut and is higher in omega-6 (the bad omega).” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Zahler Mighty Mini Prenatal + DHA

  • Price: 90 soft gels, $59.95
  • Source: Algae

 

Safety

  • Vegetarian-friendly prenatal vitamin
  • Derived from algal oil
  • Safe to take during pregnancy and lactation
  • Certified halal
  • Manufactured in an NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certified facility
  • Certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards

 

Contents

  • 100 mg DHA
  • 188.7 mg algal oil
  • 800 mcg methyl folate
  • 650 mcg vitamin A
  • 30 mg vitamin C
  • 1,200 IU vitamin D3
  • 20 mg vitamin E
  • 30 mcg vitamin K
  • 1.4 mg thiamin
  • 1.6 mg riboflavin
  • 18 mg vitamin B3
  • 800 mcg folate
  • 480 mcg folic acid
  • 18 mg iron
  • 145 mcg iodine
  • 35 mcg selenium

 

Cons

  • It can leave a bad fishy taste in your mouth and cause fishy burps.

 

What Customers Say 

Positive Review:

I have heard that these vitamins are usually huge, but this one is small and easy to swallow with all the necessary nutrients in it. The mint smell also makes it easier to consume especially when you are feeling nauseous. The best part is that it’s halal.” – Reviewer on Zahler.

 

Negative Review:

Within an hour of taking the vitamin (despite my taking it with food), I have been getting a very upset stomach. I am also having a lingering fish taste in my mouth. I stopped taking the vitamin for two days to test my theory, and I was completely fine.” – Reviewer on Amazon.

 

Foods Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Dietary Sources of DHA and EPA:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, cod, herring, and lake trout)
  • Shellfish, oysters, and mussels
  • Pasture-raised eggs

 

Dietary Sources of ALA:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Algae
  • Olive oil
  • Seaweed (nori, chlorella, and spirulina)
  • Beans (kidney beans and edamame)
  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, watercress, brussels sprouts, parsley, and kale)

 

Safety Concerns From Eating Fish & Taking Fish Oil Supplements

Did you know that eating fish provides you with a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids? But that can also expose you to high levels of mercury. 

Mercury can damage your baby’s developing brain and might also have toxic effects on your pregnancy outcome, including possible miscarriages. (8)

High-mercury fish to avoid, especially by pregnant women:

  • Bluefin tuna 
  • Bluefin tuna 
  • King mackerel  
  • Marlin
  • Shark 
  • Swordfish 
  • Tilefish 

 

In fish oil supplements, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are possible contaminants that can cause cognitive development problems in fetuses and children.

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Fish Oil Supplementation

Pregnant women need to increase omega-3, especially DHA levels, to help their children develop a healthy nervous system and immune system.

Because rapid neurodevelopment occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of these essential nutrients.

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) recommends DHA supplementation of 200 mg per day for pregnant and breastfeeding women to increase DHA levels in your body. (9)

 

Summary & Recommendations

To experience the health benefits of omega-3s for you and your baby, we recommend the following best fish oil supplements for pregnancy:

Best Overall

  • Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2X w/ Vitamin D3 –  (60 soft gels, $51.95)

 

Best Budget-Friendly

  • Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin + DHA – (90 soft gels, $22.59)

 

Best Sustainably Sourced

  • Carlson EcoSmart Omega-3 – (90 soft gels, $29.90)

 

Best Subscription-Based

  • Ritual Essential Prenatal – (30 soft gels, $35)

 

Best Vegetarian-Friendly

  • Zahler Mighty Mini Prenatal + DHA – (90 soft gels, $59.95)

 

Best Liquid

  • Carlson The Very Finest Fish Oil – (16.9 oz, $53)

 

Best Prenatal

  • Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA – (90 soft gels, $28.95)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046737/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15570047/  

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14668274

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22786509

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3146889/ 

(6) https://www.amazon.com/Carlson-Omega-3s-Norwegian-Sustainably-Sourced/dp/B001LF39RO?th=1

(7) https://www.fda.gov.ph/fda-advisory-no-2020-991-public-health-warning-against-the-purchase-and-consumption-of-the-following-unregistered-food-supplements/

(8) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23735463/

(9) http://www.fao.org/3/i1953e/i1953e.pdf

 

 

 

as seen on
We Got You, Mama.

Self-Care Rituals & Self-Love Practices To Support You & Your Family.

[gravityform id="6" title="false" description="false" ajax="true"]