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

No. When you're pregnant you shouldn't take any supplements containing vitamin A, also known as retinol. This includes:

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

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 Why should I avoid some foods during pregnancy?

Read more about vitamins and supplements in pregnancy.

Further information: 

Page last reviewed: 03/05/2016

Next review due: 02/05/2018