Let’s know about Docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega 3 fatty acid given to pregnant women. It is given during and after pregnancy because it is said to help women stay away from complications and also improve the development of the baby in the womb. DHA has many amazing benefits if taken in the right amounts and is taken from a variety of sources. DHA is obtained naturally from many foods and is sometimes taken through supplements. However, it is very important to consult your doctor before starting to take supplements.
Uses and Benefits of Docosahexaenoic acid during pregnancy
1. Helps in brain development
Research suggests that women who consume a good amount of DHA give birth to children who perform better in tests of hand-eye coordination. A test conducted on four-year-olds also proved that children whose mothers took DHA supplements during pregnancy had better IQs than other children.
2. Having a healthy birth weight
There is a positive correlation between the level of DHA found in the mother and the weight of the baby and the circumference of the baby’s head at birth.
3. Reduces blood pressure
The omega-3 fatty acid DHA present in fish oil helps women control high blood pressure because it prevents hardening of the arteries.
4 . Reduction in preterm labor
Women who have a history of preterm labor need to take DHA as it helps maintain a healthy pregnancy and have a normal delivery by changing this pattern.
DHA requirement during pregnancy
Many researches have been done on DHA which has proved that it is a necessity for pregnant women. Taking DHA has been shown to have many positive pregnancy outcomes. It is said that omega-3 acids actually pass through the placenta to feed the baby, as it is a major requirement for the baby’s development . So DHA is something that is essential for both the baby and the mother and it only helps in providing better nutrition to the mother and the baby. So, when should one take DHA supplements during pregnancy? Include DHA in your diet right from the beginning of your pregnancy. In fact, it proves to be good for women before and after pregnancy too, as it has been proven to have many benefits that are essential for women.
Sources of DHA
Certainly DHA is going to be helpful for you and your child. So here are some sources from which you can get good amount of DHA for your body:
- Fatty fish like salmon , canned light tuna , hilsa fish are natural sources of DHA.
- Algae is a rich source of DHA and EPA. In fact, algae which comes in the fish food chain also provides the component of DHA to the fish.
- It is believed that healthy drinks made for mothers contain high levels of DHA.
Risks of Consuming Too Much DHA During Pregnancy
With all these benefits, you can include adequate amount of DHA in your diet. However, it is also risky. There are also limits on how much DHA to consume when you are pregnant. During this period , it is advisable to eat 225 to 340 grams of fish which is low in mercury. Such problems occur when you consume too much of those fishes which contain high amount of mercury. In such a situation, taking DHA supplements is considered a safe option as it keeps you away from other unsafe components like metals and is also the best way to get pure DHA. Before taking supplements, consult a dietitian so that you know what quantity is okay to consume.
Do you need DHA supplements during pregnancy?
DHA supplementation for pregnant and lactating mothers has many surprising benefits for both the fetus and the infant.
In fact, even if you don’t get DHA through supplements or food, your body draws DHA from its own stores for fetal development. Therefore, it is definitely a must for pregnant women.
Some of the benefits we have learned about are improving motor skills, attention span etc. in children. If you are wondering when to start taking DHA during pregnancy? So it is said that Omega-3 fatty acids should be included in a woman’s diet before and during pregnancy and also after pregnancy.
For women, especially pregnant women, it is recommended to take DHA supplements. If you’re considering taking these supplements, talk to your doctor about it and ask them how to take it with your other medications.