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Omega-3 could tackle pregnancy depression

Research has found that omega-3 supplements could help pregnant women reduce depressive symptoms
It is hoped that omega-3 supplements could help pregnant women reduce depressive symptoms.

A small scale clinical trial at the China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan looked at the use of omega-3 supplements after it was discovered that there is often a profound decrease of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the mother during pregnancy.

In the study researchers assigned 36 pregnant women with depression to take 3.4 grams of omega-3 PUFAs or an inactive placebo daily for eight weeks.

Reuters Health reports that a total of 24 women completed the study (13 in the treatment group and 11 in the placebo group) and those given omega-3 PUFAs had significantly lower scores on a depression scale after six and eight weeks compared with those who received the placebo.

The researchers found side-effects to include insomnia, nausea and diarrhoea, but no pregnancy complications were reported, and there were no adverse effects on the child, a reason why common anti-depressants are usually not prescribed during pregnancy.

Explaining the significance of the findings Dr told Reuters Health: "Perinatal depression is common, and treatment remains challenging,"

"The possible risks and benefits of antidepressant medication are considered to have significant impacts on both mother and baby."

"Many women and their health care providers prefer the use of non-medication treatments."

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