The benefits of omega‐3 DHA in conjunction with vitamin D during pregnancy
Omega‐3 fatty acids and vitamin D are both valuable nutrients for a healthy pregnancy and support the growth and development of the baby before and after birth.
While vitamin D is required to develop and maintain healthy bones in both mother and baby, omega‐3 fatty acids are needed during pregnancy for the normal development and function of the baby’s brain, central nervous system and retina. The period of greatest brain development occurs from the third trimester of pregnancy until 18 months after birth, which is when maternal omega‐3 intake is of great importance.
DHA (docosahexanoic acid) is the omega‐3 fatty acid that is uniquely important for pregnant and lactating women as it is a key component of the brain and retina and may be beneficial for the visual and mental development of the baby. As well as benefiting the baby, omega‐3 is beneficial for the mother also; adding omega‐3’s to the diet of a pregnant woman will have a positive effect on the pregnancy itself and on the mother’s general health and wellbeing.
How can I ensure I get enough omega‐3 during pregnancy?
Omega‐ 3 fatty acids are considered ‘essential’ because they are not synthesised by the body and must be consumed through the diet or via supplementation. The best sources of omega‐3 include cold water fish such as salmon, canned tuna, herring, sardines and anchovies, all of which have low mercury levels.1Omega‐3 DHA from fish oil is also available in specialised pregnancy supplements in combination with vitamin D, to support both the development of a healthy baby and the health of the mother.