DHA During
Pregnancy Is Key

Do you want to increase your baby’s chances of being a normal birth weight? Research has found that DHA, commonly found in fish and other food sources, can improve pregnancy outcomes.

Grilled fish

Scientists have found that pregnant women who take 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA every day have a reduced chance of having a low birth weight baby -- as well as less of a chance of a preterm birth.

The benefits

Researchers from the University of Kansas have reported results halfway through a 10-year study on the effects of DHA supplementation and pregnancy, and the news is good. They have discovered that DHA taken prenatally has excellent effects on the birth weight of the babies as well as the length of pregnancy. Much research has been done on DHA and infant feeding, but since DHA is most rapidly accumulated in the fetal brain during pregnancy it was the next logical step.

"A reduction in early preterm and very low birth weight delivery could have clear clinical and public health significance," said Susan Carlson, A.J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the KU Medical Center.

Sources of DHA

The best source of DHA is seafood. The best kind of fish to eat for DHA is oily fish, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, trout and sardines. There are small amounts of DHA in other meats and eggs, as well as plant-based sources such as dark green and leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. It is also available in supplement form, and the beneficial amount, according to the researchers, is 600 mg daily.

Your newborn probably doesn’t eat a lot of fish, but don’t worry -- not only do babies get DHA directly from their mothers while in the womb, but they also do through breast milk after they are born.

Try to eat fish a few times a week or pick up some supplements if you don’t -- it will not only benefit you, but your baby as well.

More on eating during pregnancy

10 ways to eat smart during pregnancy
Vegetarian diet tips for pregnancy
You do need to eat more when you're pregnant

Tags: fish

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