Importance of Omega 3 for Your Baby During Pregnancy
Women are constantly bombarded with health and nutrition advice, and pregnant women hear even more of it; from family, friends, doctors and co-workers. It seems that everyone has an opinion on what you should be doing, eating or taking to help your baby grow and thrive. Then, you go home and do your own research, finding articles and research that might seem confusing and even contradictory. However, there is no contradictory information on whether Omega-3 fatty acids are important for women during pregnancy – it helps balance hormones that are critical to help regulate blood pressure, aids in mood stabilization and supports healthy organ functioning. Plus, Omega-3s are known to help babies develop brain functioning and eyesight.
“Researchers found that infants born to mothers with higher blood levels of the Omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at delivery had advanced levels of attention spans well into their second year of life. During the first six months of life, these infants were two months ahead of those babies whose mothers had lower DHA levels,” reported Salynn Boyles of WebMD Health News.
There are some specifics to consider regarding Omega 3 fatty acids, and mostly these have to do with sources of the fish oil supplements. In an average American diet, many adults are deficient in Omega 3, which are available in some foods. The best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are from oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies and mackerel. However, the potential presence of mercury in fish is of great concern, particularly to pregnant women. While there are low mercury exposed fish, a safe alternative would be to use a purified fish oil supplement. You should choose a fish oil supplement that is molecularly distilled so that the mercury is removed.
If fish allergies are a concern, there are Omega-3 supplements derived from nuts that also provide these added nutrients. Likewise, if tree nut allergies are a concern, avoid using the nut varieties and consider using the fish oil supplements. Another added advantage to using Omega-3 supplements during pregnancy is that babies exposed to fish oil in the womb are known to be less likely to develop allergies to fish in childhood.
Moderation is important, too. Be certain to maintain proper doses of Omega-3s within your supplement intake, and do seek recommendations of your physician/OBGYN. Pregnant women do need at least as much omega-3s as an average healthy women and potentially more of the DHA variety. However, a goal of achieving at least the daily recommended dosage is advised to support healthy infant development and to aid in a healthy pregnancy.