Cod Liver Oil and Pregnancy
Because some supplements may contain toxins that could be dangerous to an unborn child, it may not be safe to take cod liver oil during pregnancy. Cod liver oil also contains a high amount of vitamins A and D -- too much for most pregnant women. This supplement may also cause dangerous side effects during pregnancy, such as an increased risk of bleeding and high blood pressure.
If you are pregnant, you have, no doubt, been warned of the dangers of consuming too much fish, particularly certain kinds of fish that are likely to contain heavy metals, such as mercury, or other toxins. Because cod liver oil (as you might guess) is obtained from the livers of cod, there is some concern that these supplements could also contain toxins. In addition, cod liver oil may cause side effects that could be especially dangerous during pregnancy.
It's clear that pregnant women should avoid or limit certain kinds of fish, as some may contain toxins. In particular, fish may contain mercury, dioxin, and numerous other toxins that can be especially dangerous to a developing fetus. It's less clear if pregnant women should also avoid cod liver oil, which may also contain such contaminants.
If you are pregnant and your healthcare provider decides that it is safe for you to take cod liver oil, choose only those supplements that are made by reputable manufacturers, and be sure to check that the cod liver oil has been purified and tested for toxins.
Keep in mind that cod liver oil contains high doses of vitamin D and vitamin A -- too much for most pregnant women. Also, studies have suggested that cod liver oil may increase the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy. Theoretically, it could also increase the risk of bleeding, as it can "thin" the blood.