Can I take cod liver oil supplements when I’m pregnant?

Content supplied by NHS Choices

No. When you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t take any supplements that contain vitamin A. This includes:

  • fish liver oil supplements, such as cod liver oil
  • high-dose multivitamin supplements
  • any supplements containing vitamin A

You should also avoid eating liver and liver products, such as liver pâté or liver sausage, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A.

Too much vitamin A can harm your unborn baby.

Eating fish when you’re pregnant

People usually take fish oil supplements because they contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can help protect against heart disease.

It’s better to eat fish than take fish oil supplements. Fish is an excellent source of nutrients that are good for your health and your unborn baby’s development.

There are some types of fish that you should limit or avoid. For more information, see Which foods should I avoid during pregnancy?

Omega-3 oil and your unborn baby’s cognitive development

Some people think omega 3 can help the unborn baby’s cognitive development (ability to think and learn). However, there’s currently not enough evidence to draw any firm conclusions.


NHS Choices

Published Date 2010-12-15

Last Review Date 2010-04-18

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